Johnny Mnemonic is a 1995 Canadian-American cyberpunk action thriller film directed by Robert Longo in his directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves and Dolph Lundgren. The film is based on the story of the same name by William Gibson.
The film was shot on location in Canada, with Toronto and Montreal filling in for the film’s Newark and Beijing settings. A number of local sites, including Toronto’s Union Station and Montreal’s skyline and Jacques Cartier Bridge, feature prominently.
In 2021, society is driven by a virtual Internet, which has created a degenerate effect called “nerve attenuation syndrome” or NAS. Mega-corporations control much of the world, intensifying the class hostility already created by NAS.
Johnny is a “mnemonic courier” who discreetly transports sensitive data for corporations in a storage device implanted in his brain at the cost of his childhood memories. His current job is for a group of scientists in Beijing. Johnny initially balks when he learns the data exceeds his memory capacity even with compression, but agrees given the large fee will be enough to cover the cost of the operation to remove the device. Johnny warns that he must have the data extracted within a few days or suffer psychological damage.