The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace
Directed by Farhad Mann. Starring Patrick Bergin, Matt Frewer, Ely Pouget, Austin O'Brien, Kevin Conway. (1996, PG-13, 93 min.)
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Jan. 19, 1996
I just don't get it. In 1975, Stephen King published a short story entitled The Lawnmower Man, a grisly little item about a naked freak who eats grass and runs his victims down with a, well, you know. Later, in 1992, Brett Leonard directed a film version, which had absolutely nothing to do with King's story, but was instead a sort of high-tech melding of elements from Frankenstein and Of Mice and Men. Okay, whatever. Now it's 1996 and we have The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, which, rather than a direct sequel, is a futuristic action/sci-fi/romantic comedy. How did this happen? Watching this would-be sequel, one gets the same feeling as watching, say, Highlander II: The Quickening – namely, confusion and disorientation, not to mention an overwhelming lack of respect for the moviegoing audience. The plot for this “follow-up” concerns an earthy scientist who teams up with a ragtag group of street kids in order to stop Jobe, the mental simpleton who became a cyberspace god in the first Lawnmower Man, from destroying the world and thereby forcing people to “jack” into the computer world that he's created and… oh, never mind, it doesn't really make any sense anyway. The cast, with the exception of the normally likable Matt Frewer (who decides here to simply repeat his Max Headroom shtick rather than continue playing the character created by Jeff Fahey in the previous movie), tries hard to deliver credible performances, but they are truly fighting a losing battle. Writer-director Farhad Mann (yet another alumnus of the admittedly superb Max Headroom television show) offers a slick visual style and piles on the visual effects, but it's his script, filled as it is with illogical plot twists and endlessly silly “tech talk” dialogue, that ultimately makes the picture so laughable. Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace is a bad movie, wrongheaded in its concept and empty in its execution.