Slime Rating: ***1/2Pre-viewing Thoughts
This was one of my favorite movies in the early 90s for some reason, although today I can’t be sure why. I guess at the time I liked anything that seemed to be cutting edge and I was enthralled with the possibilities of Virtual Reality …it was the next best thing to my Amiga 500 at the time. Boy what a let down lol. Basically, this isn’t a horrible movie in the same way that Manos: The Hands of Fate is…rather it’s very dated and has some strange-ass shallow characters and some cliché events. I mean, for example, why does the military in Hollywood always want some kind of weapon that they just can’t control?
At any rate, as I write this segment of my review at the moment, I haven’t watched this flick in ages …perhaps I watched it back in ’93 …but I haven’t watched it since, so these are my retro-thoughts I wanted to get out before I give it the ol’ rewatch. In retrospect, I can see why this movie appealed to me as a teen in the early 90s but times have certainly changed. And from what I hear, this flick is Oscar-worthy compared to the sequel, which I will leave for some other poor masochistic bad movie fan to review.
Basic recap in a nutshell: local lab injects cyborg primate with intelligence and aggression drugs, he rampages, retarded boy harbors him, primate gets shot, priest beats retard, bully bullies retard, retard mows lawns, peter and doctor befriend retard, doctor gives retard intelligence boosters, retard gets laid, military guy sneaks in aggression drugs, ex-retard gets psionic powers, ex-retard gets revenge, ex-retard takes more intelligence and aggression boosters, ex-retard jumps into a computer, ex-retard tries to take over the world via computers, and doctor and peter stop him, phones ring, the end.
This story is very loosely based on one of Stephen King’s short stories, although rumor has it, he didn’t want to be associated with this as it’s nothing like his story. Some say the Lawnmower Man took a premise from his book and the VR-stuff from another story. I’m too lazy too look it up or care at the moment.
I’m not really a fan of King’s work as a whole but every once in awhile he has an interesting premise. Mostly I have a problem with his polarizing characterizations – either character A is all good and nothing but good or they’re all evil, born evil, nothing but evil, and die evil. That gets a little old. I’m not sure if this story is picking characters up from King’s work in such a manner but it sure seems like it. Jobe is the only one who has a morality shift it seems, although the doctor does float in the gray area a lot more than the others. Peter, Retarded Jobe, and the handyman employer seem to be all-good. The priest, the bully, the military corp guys –they all seem to be born evil. Like I said, it gets old and predictable.
And of course, this movie is guilty of the Mel Gibson strawman factor. What is that you may ask? Accusing Jews of crazy things in a drunk tirade? No, no, not that lol. I’m actually referring to despicable characters tormenting our retarded hero, setting themselves up so we the audience will have some gratification when they are butchered, alleviating our thirst for revenge, as we have also seen in so many Gibson flicks (Braveheart and Patriot, I’m lookin’ right at ya). This revenge-fantasy seems to contradict my comments about other themes in the show in the next paragraphs (or does it?).
I remember there were a lot of religious references in this flick, mainly Christian themes. I don’t see that as a problem necessarily it’s just that with so many movies picking the same religious interpretations to base themes on does get old too (most of King’s work…and my previously reviewed “The Black Hole” for example). Here we have “Jobe” –an obvious Biblical name…if memory serves me correctly …Jobe was a pawn in a little game of faith testing conducted by God and Satan where his whole family is murdered just to test his faith in God. Is Jobe a pawn who has his faith tested? Seems me makes a different choice when he proclaims himself as god later on (at least in the VR world).
We also have people playing God, mainly the doctor and the lab/corp/military guys …which always leads to bad things in these types of movies. We have the search for knowledge, which kinda seems to be portrayed in a negative light (the whole seeking the fruit of knowledge thing). I mean, what the doctor is trying to do is something he thinks is a good thing …and seems like a good thing…but boy does he open a can of worms by not resisting his temptation to play God and help poor Jobe become a little bit more intelligent. Then there’s the symbolism of Jobe placing the doctor on a cross in the VR world towards the end – why the direct Christian correlation? -just a curiosity really. I just wonder why they didn’t go with Nordic, Shinto, or Zoroastrianism lol j/k.
And another comment…the rib on comic book readers…as I pointed out in my captions above, I guess comics are only read by kids or retards, which is totally untrue. I guess this was before the big boom of the X-titles in the mid 90s when the majority of the comic-buying public were adults, but I digress. I personally don’t read comics on a regular basis, although I admit I bought the Batman: Hush book as my only comic purchase in the last 10 years …and it was very adult oriented with themes that Retarded Jobe probably wouldn’t get into. Ok, enough of me complaining about this…I just wanted to mention a stereotype that gets little defense in the early 90s sci-fi/horror/handyman gone mad genre heh.
Well, I suppose that’s enough for a pre-view thought analysis …or a pre-recent-view anyway. Things I Learned from this Movie:
Cyborg chimps will mess you up.
Only kids and retards read comics.
You can wear a VR suit for days without it stinking one bit.
Virtual Reality is the future.
High tech labs look like empty dungeons with blue lighting.
You can survive for awhile even after your molecules are split and spinningMemorable Quotes:
Priest: "Tiding is a blessed act"
Retarded Jobe: "Cyboman came to see me!"
Cyber Jobe: "I am God here"
Timms: "It's all dirty money"
The Shop Leader: "they were dispatced. in ways. I've never seen. before."
Cop1: "where's the rest of him?"
Cop Chief: "Birdbath...birdbath"DVD vs. VHS versions
Ok, I’ve had the VHS in storage for years and have recently obtained the DVD as a more recent Christmas present, so naturally, I popped the DVD in. To my surprise, this almost wasn’t the same move – I kept thinking about scenes that never occurred on the DVD! This caused me to dig out the VHS and watch the full blown version and I discovered that they had butchered several key scenes from the movie! -The got rid of some science-speak and a lot of exposition but they even trimmed scenes of character development that I would have thought were important to the plot. Overall, I’m glad I watched the VHS afterward as it upped the enjoyment quotient about 2-fold.Previews
Right away the screen says there’s a 1-900 number that’s an answer quiz about the Lawnmower Man – winners get a walk-on appearance for the Lawnmower Man 2 sequel. Oh Joy! Too bad that’s a little out of date. First Blatant VR Schill
Movie starts with some pretext for our viewing pleasure, prophesizing (or schilling) the advance and technological take over of Virtual Reality. This “VR is the new world” futurespeak is present throughout this movie, a central theme paired with the Frankenstein theme of “don’t play god” but I digress. Text tells us VR is the future and that everyone will have one soon. The VR manufacturing companies sure wished it. A little something called the Internet was a more accurate description, especially the realms of online chat and multiplayer gaming. I mean, who the hell wants to wear humungous, dorky-looking body gear or who has enough room in the house to store VR furniture? Cyborg Chimp Escape
Anyway, we open at a scientific lab – a stronghold. We see a sign with a poor choice of typeface as it’s almost illegible. We hear a discussion between two guys behind a door in this blue dungeon. They talk of Rosco, the best chimp. We cut to a chimp in a virtual reality harness that sits inside two rotating rings. He’s playing a 3D version of a primitive Doom-type game - Doom ‘89? Ok first of all, this place only has blue lights! You know how hard it would be to do work with only blue lights? In the future, at science labs, there will also be crystal locks and crystal keys.
This movie opens with a pretty cool intro overall as the chimp escapes and we see his point of view through his cyborg-enhanced eyes. I mean, any movie that opens with a cyborg chimp has to be fun right? Cyborg chimp travels through the blue dungeon, killing guards and making his way outside.
About then, Doctor Angelo, or whom I refer to as James Bond Light (or the Doc) wakes up from a nightmare of that same scenario. He tries to talk to Caroline but she just snarls at him and tells him she hates when he smokes in bed. He flips through a few war channels and goes over to the window to see the neighbors – abusive dad is beating on Peter and his mom.
The Chimp escapes and goes to the local church for sanctuary as he’s been wounded. The Chimp discovers Jobe and determines he’s not a threat. Retarded Jobe thinks it’s Cyboman. Doc and Timms argue for the life of the chimp. Dr. Angelo wants to take Rosco alive but Timms resists the idea. Jobe harbors the chimp in his shack while the authorities search the area.
A$$hole #2 alert – it’s the priest and his first scene is killing some of god’s creatures, some termites at the altar. He blames Jobe and goes to look for him. He looks in Jobe’s window and sees the chimp and naturally calls the police. Jobe talks to Cyboman about god.
Timms and his men show up with the doctor. Doc mentions Jobe’s IQ is about 45. Doc persuades Jobe and Rosco out of the building but Timms double-crosses him and they shoot the chimp down. Jobe, understandably freaks out since they killed cyboman. The priest gets all upset about their crazy experiments but is put at ease at the mention of a gracious donation, “tiding is a blessed act.” Later, after they’re alone, the priest beats Jobe’s bare back with a leather strap and makes him do Hail Maries (sp?) all night.
Doc talks in his vocal-recording journal, a nice exposition device for the audience. He hates his boss and would rather be doing something good, or more beneficial to the human race rather than making futuristic war machines and weapons. Jobe the Retard –a normal day
Back at Jobe’s the next morning. The priest’s drunken Irish brother, Terry shows up – he’s Jobe’s employer. He sees that Jobe got in trouble the night before and he also notices that Jobe built “big red” – a huge lawnmower. Meanwhile, back to Timms and the doc – Doc expresses need to do good deeds. Timms shows him some more blue lights and then gives him a leave of absence.
Jobe and Terry stop to get gas. Incomes Jake … he’s smoking at the gas station. Jobe freaks out about that. Jake gets p**sed and bullies him. Locals talk about rumors. Jobe says me saw Cyboman and Jake makes fun of him. Yup, Jake’s A$$hole #3 on the list.
Timms has a meeting with his financers, The Shop. The Shop likes evil project 5 and they are ok with the leave of absence but they want Dr. Angelo back eventually.
Doc’s at his house, in the basement, zoning out in VR world, floating, falling, and flying in a bubble world, while wearing a dorky-ass VR helmet. His woman unplugs him and he spazzes about it like an Everquest player without their fix. He promised her a trip to the city and now he’s backing out. She says it’s ok and they make out (!?) …like that ever happens in real life…but anyway. But then they start talking …she hates VR technology especially when he’s basically a VR addict and spends the majority of his time there. He starts gushing over it all futurespeak.
Peter hangs out with Jobe while he’s mowing. Peter checks out his new mower and he gives him a comic book. Doc observes this and starts to feel he should help Jobe in some way. Peter’s dad comes home and acts all abusive and slaps him.
Doc talks in his journal some more, drinks, his woman gets all b***hy, and he acts all whiney. Caroline leaves and Peter’s mom sees it all.
Jobe’s at the diner looking at comics. Jake comes by and starts screaming “cyboman” at his face. Back to doc and his journal – he wants to improve Jobe’s intellect. Doc eventually confronts Jobe about it during Jobe’s routine mowing. This scene would be a little creepy without the context, “you wanna come over to my place and play some games.” Intelligence +1
Doc sets him up with a simple matching software program for Jobe to practice his cognitive skills. All the sudden they switch to some more advanced graphic software –he and Peter are playing a game while being strapped into vibrating, rotating furniture and headgear. Evidently he spent some time progressing up the complexity of video games. I can just imagine what it would really
be like once you disconnected from that VR and the machine-furniture stops moving – I bet they’d be getting sick! Anyway, they play this “advanced” game –a 3-D flying game through a bunch of obstacles …and Peter walks all over Jobe.
Doc suggests that he can improve Jobe’s mind if he wants – he agrees but Jobe does point out that he was born this way. Doc points out that people wouldn’t be able to take advantage of him as much if he were smarter.
Doc contacts the priest about having Jobe do some remodeling work to explain why he’ll be there a lot. The priest resists at first but he agrees once the doc has proposed giving a generous donation to the church. The priest then says it would only be Christian of him to help.
The doc starts Jobe off with an injection! Then he sets him up with some software that’s apparently been programmed to assault your senses –not very user-friendly.
The next day…or later that day…well, time passes anyway…and Jobe’s mowing again. The hot slutty neighbor notices him and gives him a little foreshadowing look. Doc talks some plot to the recording journal about progress and lab work and how he almost went overboard on his home computer.
Later, Jobe gets caught reading by the priest but his brother Terry defends him. Jobe still doesn’t have that much willpower. I guess if you’re increasing your intelligence, you automatically increase your willpower? Terry decides it’s time to teach Jobe how to drive.Intelligence +2
Lab work continues. Peter and Jobe play the same video game again and Jobe beats him this time – finally some competition for Peter. Jobe starts to model in his mirror at home, roleplaying a cowboy half naked (that’s a bit disturbing). Priest comes in and catches him, speaks of the devil. Jobe stands up for himself and tells him he outta knock. Priest tries to beat him but Jobe easily catches his arm and says you shouldn’t hit people.
Doc decides it’s time to show his results to Timms so he can proceed with the lab equipment there. Timms is impressed. Doc wants to keep the Shop out of it and Timms vaguely agrees.
Next we’re back to hot slutty neighbor at the gas station. She asks Jake to check her fluids and he smirks. Then she notices Jobe in the mirror all decked out in cowboy gear. She asks him who he is and he says he mows her lawn. She can hardly believe it. This is Jobe 2 or Suave Jobe, new and improved with more confidence. Terry notices she wants him right away. She drives off and Jake gets all jealous and punches Jobe. Jobe gives him the A$$hole look.
Then we cut to doc and Jobe riding in the truck. Jobe asks about the chimp, showing that he’s aware of all the changes and the previous chimp experiments. Doc explains that project 5 was a soilder serum. They arrive at the lab, the blue dungeon with gray stone-looking corridors, with computer equipment, VR input devices, and some future-looking backgrounds and all the blue light you could ever want. Intelligence +3
The doc manipulates Jobe’s intellect with the equipment giving him another +1 or +2 to Intelligence. Of course Jobe screams as the software launches an avalanche assault on his sensory organs. Timms apparently lives at work (just like my boss) and comes in to the monitoring booth from time to time.
Jobe starts mowing without a shirt. He hears hot slutty neighbor’s thoughts just before she speaks them. She invites him up for lemonade and Terry encourages him to go on up. Jobe goes up and gets some!
Later, doc indicates he wants to take a break so they don’t move too fast but Jobe resists; he’s all about progressing, saying he feels better than he’s ever felt. It’s like, yeah Jobe, you just got it on, of course you feel that way lol.
Doc introduces Jobe to the internet basically, although they don’t call it that. He gives Jobe access to a large database of history, math, science, etc. and he ends up reading it all at an alarming rate! Jobe is naturally disturbed by the history of the human race and the doc is perplexed how he could have went through 100 hours of programming so quickly! Jobe says he adjusted the programs and absorbed the material better at a faster rate. Doc wants to run some cognitive tests, so they do. Jobe scores 100% on accuracy and gets his PhD in two days. Jobe really starts to crave intellect now but doc points out the power of wisdom, reading a good book, etc. They both schill the VR technology as the greatest thing ever.New Powers
Later, Jobe and Peter go for a truck ride to the diner. On the way, Jobe is the short-attention-span-theater as he switches music CDs every 5 seconds. They get to the diner and Jobe gives all his comics to Peter since he’s “outgrown” them. Peter runs out to the truck to get them and Jobe starts getting a bad headache; he can hear everyone’s thoughts in the diner. Jobe flees, ditching poor Peter at the diner to find his own ride.
Jobe high-tails it up to the lab and explains the problem to the doc. Doc notes the growing change even after the experiments have stopped. He seems much more concerned with the test results and progress than Jobe’s health.
Meanwhile Timms reports the findings to the Shop. They’re only interested in administrating the project 5 serum to Jobe. Apparently they’ve learned nothing from the chimp escapade! Not only that, they seem non-chalant about the billions that could be made from the intellect boosting treatments! Timms decides he’ll have to sneak it in the formula since the doc would never go along with it. He also changes the software after doing the ol’ switcheroo with the drugs.
The next day in the lab, the doc and Jobe run into a problem; the endocrine levels are too much and get near a fatal level. Doc shuts everything down in time and Jobe babbles on about how he’s seen god. Jobe takes more of the drugs and starts to develop telekinesis!
Jobe sweats in a chair. The doc arrives at the lab and Jobe was apparently listing to the same song for more than a minute…and if I’m not mistaken, it’s some kind of goth music. Jobe gets all megalomaniac and preaches some prophecies about opening mystical doors and about the greatness of the VR computer system and how it will change everything in the world. Jobe sweats some more. He uses his new mental powers of pyrokinesis to burn his own hand.
Jobe, hanging over at hot slutty neighbors watches some 1-900 commercials on TV. He takes her to the VR lab, straps her in for some cybersex, and they start to get eBusy, at least until he starts to babble incoherently and she gets “stuck” (for you EQ players – she must have gotten snared or rooted). Then Jobe gets all aggressive and turns into the goofiest looking jello monster I’ve ever seen. He lashes his tongue at her digital avatar, effectively giving her a lobotomy for the rest of the film. Jobe freaks, disconnects and unhooks her, and then apologizes. Later, Jobe mows telekinetically while he sweats on the balcony. Hot slutty neighbor just lays on her bed acting like she’s all decked out on morphine.
Doc and Timms argue some more. Timms is ready to officially announce their results to the Shop but the doc’s not ready yet. Jobe shows up to the lab, sweats in the window, and unlocks the doors with his psionics. Jobe preaches some more to the doc about awaking ancient powers and reclaiming it with VR. He shows the doc his new powers, and of course the doc wants to test. Timms witnesses the new powers from the monitoring booth.
Jobe and doc have a mental fight – Jobe is probing his mind while Dr. Angelo makes some funny-ass faces trying to resist it. Jobe learns about Timms. Later, doc talks to his journal and mentions some bad changes in Jobe.Meeting with the Shop
Later, Timms and the doc have an abrupt meeting with the Shop. Doc presents his findings but they’re only interested in the results of project 5. This infuriates the doc as he knows it will make Jobe rage out. The Shop wants the results of any raging. Doc storms out and Timms reveals the other abilities Jobe has learned.
Jobe inserts some nerf metal CD and goes back to the lab, sweats in the window, and psionically kills a guard. He breaks in and self-injects a few more of the treatments (mixed with project 5).
Meanwhile, Timms confronts the doc and talks of dirty money “it’s all dirty money” – Doc drinks. Timms says they’ll take Jobe into custody for more testing and Doc figures out he will be abducted too. He punches Timms and heads out. Nothing like punchin’ your boss huh doc?
Back at the lab, Jobe hooks into the VR for some more assaultive software. Doc makes it away but gets caught by a suit. While passing a waiter, he grabs and swings the wine bottle at the guys head and knocks him cold. He takes his gun, gives it to the waiter and has him “hold ‘em”
Jobe’s got the devil in his head…or at least voices telling him so. Jobe disconnects looking primed for war. Meanwhile the Shop cancels the doc’s clearance. The Shop leader is a sad attempt at imitating Christopher Walken. Jobe’s Revenge
Note about Revenge List: these people are strawmen set up to be killed later. They each have a few scenes to display how wretched they are in order to evoke the audience’s satisfaction and bloodlust when they finally get theirs in the end.
A$$hole 1: Peter’s dad
A$$hole 2: Abusive Priest
A$$hole 3: Jake the Gas Station Bully
A$$hole 4: Timms – cowardly corporate worm
A$$hole 5: The Shop – unethical and evil
Jobe, still wearing the VR suit, goes back to church to visit the abusive priest. Jobe talks through a tube at him and taunts the priest, makes some strange gestures, then his suit lights up blue. You know it’s going to hit the fan when Jobe’s suit lights up blue. Jobe uses some advanced pyrokinesis and sets the priest on fire! A$$hole 1 is off the list! Who’s next?
Jobe goes to visit Jake at the gas station. He telekinetically ties him up with his own gas pumps and then summons some 16-bit graphical lawn mower with his own face to mow Jake’s brain, giving him a lobotomy. Another A$$hole off the list. Next!
Up next is Peter’s abusive dad, the wife-beater. We get a glimpse of him beating Peter and his wife some more, then he grabs a beer and watches some pro-wrestling –not too subtle are they? Someone outside starts a mower. It gets louder and louder …suddenly Peter and battered mom are zombified. The mower comes busting through the door all by itself, Lawnmower man in the stinky VR suit all glowing blue controlling it from the doorway. The lawnmower man chases him around the room and outside where it butchers him. Another ass hole off the list.
Cops are investigating the next day. The doc shows up wondering what happened. Jobe shows up in what has to be the smelliest VR suit and mentally changes the cops mind from “two bizarre murders” to “two bizarre accidents” and the doc notices. This segment has one of my favorite exchange of lines in the show: cop: “where’s the rest of him?” captain: “birdbath…birdbath.” Doc comforts Peter and his mom.Jobe’s Master Plan
Jobe shows up at doc’s house and logs into his VR, acts high, and sweats all over the equipment. Girlfriend is zombified when doc arrives home. He discovers Jobe downstairs. Jobe temporarily transfers himself inside the VR dimension to show doc what he plans to do in the lab later. Jobe reveals his crazy plan, does some more VR schilling, and basically doesn’t anticipate the internet as it is in actuality. Jobe continues with his Christ-complex to save the world from itself. He plans to become pure energy and make the phones ring altogetha now as his birth cry. What Jobe should have realized is that he’s trading his powers in reality when he does this – some trade.
Jobe decides to probe him again and again the doc makes some funnier-ass faces trying to resist it, knocking his glasses off in a dramatic fashion. I laughed anyway. Jobe realizes they are coming for him and feels betrayed by the doctor. He ties him up in his own VR chair. b***hy zombie girlfriend loads a shotgun when she answers the door – it’s the Shop collectors – she blasts one of them and they gun her down – Jobe makes the doc watch a primitive digital version of this. Jobe’s 8-bit graphic of a giant head appears above the minions and naturally they shoot at it. Shop leader is monitoring from afar as Jobe rearranges everyone’s molecules. They spin apart splitting their molecules and Jobe’s blue light goes out for the time being.
He tells the doc about his plan to infect the entire VR, DB, and telnet and there’s nothing he can do about it. He makes a Frankenstein reference and heads for the lab. He has a mesmorized Terry drive him to the lab. Meanwhile the Shop wants all the research data they can get their hands on. Peter finds the doc all tied up and sets him free and they have his mom drive them to the lab.
Jobe tears apart the lab guard squads while the doc is creating a CD with a virus. The main gate at the lab opens by itself as a hacker explains they will be cut off from the rest of the web very soon. Timms acts like he’s going to faint as they are not yet accustomed to the near constant disconnects to the internet.
The doc starts bickering with Peter’s mom about not following him inside and I was almost afraid he was going to start beating her!
Jobe vs. guards – he creates a sonic storm that messes up all the guards – suddenly some digital wasps appear and attack them. Someone spots Terry and Jobe in the truck and Terry takes some sniper fire. Jobe gets p**sed, his suit turns blue, and he forces the guy to shoot himself.
Jobe hunts down Timms and finds him in his dark, dungeony office, smashes his computer, and splits his molecules. He then hooks himself up in the VR to attempt his plan. Doc sneaks into the lab and he sets up bombs everywhere …bombs he conveniently picked up from the vans outside.Cyber Jobe
Job transfers his life energy into the VR machine, becoming Cyber Jobe in a giant multi-colored bee hive, Doc tries to shut down the system but he can’t. Cyber Jobe notices the attempt, talks slow and futuristic. Jobe tries to find a way out but keeps getting, “Access Denied” over and over again. It looks like one could hear Jobe inside the CPU if one stood close enough –that’s strange.
Doc logs into the VR and Jobe’s p**sed, naturally. They argue and Jobe declares that they [humans] need to be lead. Jobe gives digital doc the eToss of doom. He comes back so Jobe paralyzes him on a cross. Jobe, “I am God here!” and then he senses the bombs. Unfortunately and poorly explained, Jobe has lost his psionic powers in the “real” world so he can’t defuse them. Jobe’s p**sed so he zapps the doc again. Jobe needs to get out before the bombs explode, destroying the computer he’s now trapped in, cut off from the rest of the net, thanks to the doc.
Peter shows up and they can both hear him. Jobe turns somewhat human and is worried about his old friend Peter. Doc jumps on this and elaborates that yes that’s Peter and tries to convince him to let him go so he can save him. He sets him free and the Doc saves Peter. They run out of the lab as it’s exploding. Jobe’s in a big hurry, “Access Denied, Access Denied” and finally, “Access Granted” Boom Boom Boom the place explodes! Jobe has escaped eternity in an Amiga 500.
Doc talks conclusion in his recording journal. He fears his work will end up in the wrong hands. He wants to embrace wisdom and schill for Virtual Reality some more.
Peter and his mom show up. Doc plans to go with them and they notice the phone rings, all the phones ring, throughout the entire world. Credits.