When a movie opens with a crazed monkey POV that features the primate stealing a gun and blowing the heads off security guards I immediately know I am going to like the film. Throw in Pierce Brosnan wearing an earring, virtual reality, and a mentally challenged fellow who gains and then ruthlessly wields telepathic powers for evil and you have the makings of a cult classic.
Dr. Angelo (Brosnan) is a scientist with about as much ethics as most scientists in horror movies. Almost none to be exact. While experimenting on intelligence enhancements on monkeys something goes wrong and the monkey tries to kill everyone. Naturally, Dr. Angelo takes his work home and begins to try it out on the guy who cuts their grass. Jobe (Jeff Fahey) is slow, loves mowing lawns and being super buff. The experiments allow Slow Joe to rapidly change from a dimwit to an ultra-intelligent being. The side effects include: “Cyber-Christ” complex, Joe can turn himself into pure energy, control objects with his brain, and getting laid. Of course, Joe snaps and begins to kill everyone that ever did him wrong.
Way ahead of its time, Lawnmower Man uses extensive virtual reality and computer generated graphics that were mind-blowing in 1992. This stuff was light years ahead of other movies within the genre. Seriously. Interestingly, the company that developed the graphics for the film eventually became super successful video game company, Rockstar San Diego. And while the graphics may look dated by today’s standards, what was done in this film is considered revolutionary in the advancement of CGI in film. Director Brett Leonard managed to create a world unlike anything seen before – a true pioneer of the virtual reality craze.
Brosnan and Fahey both give solid performances, though Fahey shines as the movie continues where 007 comes off a little cheesy. On that note, why do actors always have to hold two fingers up to their temples when they are trying to keep someone from getting into their mind? Brosnan made my household laugh out loud pretending to block imaginary mind-reading waves from penetrating his brain with this maneuver. Basically, Brosnan is as good as he was in Dante’s Peak. Take that however you want.
Strictly from a horror fans perspective there is one kill that deserves its legendary status. It involves Jobe’s tricked out (complete with custom mufflers) telepathically controlled flying lawnmower, an Evil Dead-like chase through a house, and a man who understands what it is like to be mulch.
Final Verdict: Watch it!
Snore Factor: ZZ