The Lawnmower Man

Year: 1992

Production: Allied Vision / Lan Pringle / Fuji Eight Co.

Director: Brett Leonard

Starring: Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright, Geoffrey Lewis

Screenwriter: Brett Leonard, Gimel Everett

108 minutes; Color

The full title is Steven King's The Lawnmower Man, but the film has been repudiated by Steven King, angry at the cynicism whereby his old (1975) short story was purchased to exploit the marketing power of his name and then effectively discarded through being altered out of recognition. In this dumb rewrite of both Frankenstein (1931) and Charly (1968), an obsessive scientist (Brosnan) uses a virtual-reality hook-up, along with intelligence-raising drugs, to change the local handyman (Fahey), an affable simpleton, into a homicidal superman with telekinetic powers who ultimately downloads himself into the USA information networks in order to "cleanse this diseased planet". The film's concepts and dialog are uniformly contemptible - noting in awe that his creation has learned Latin in two hours, the brilliant scientist says: "It took me a year to learn the Latin alphabet!" The virtual-reality effects on which the film relies (the suggestion being that computer-generated scenery makes you clever) are not remotely like reality, and are routine in execution. The sequel is Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996).

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