Saturday, July 9, 2011

Monster Crap Inductee: Lawnmower Man 2 (1996)

Monster Crap Inductee: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (aka Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe’s War)
Whatever Subtitle You Use, This Film Still Sucks


Folks…..normally I am ready to do my inductions without hesitation either because I know I am going to have fun with them or I just can’t wait to get this induction over with. This is one of those films that I really REALLY don’t want to do AT ALL. The reason I say that is even with the stuff I can’t wait to get done with, I have a few jokes in mind to keep myself from being miserable, but I have nothing for this….NOTHING. So if you have read this and are surprised by the lack of jokes, I did warn you.

But first, we need some back-story. In 1975, Stephen King wrote Night Shift, which is a set of short stories. One of those short stories was called Lawnmower Man and it was about Harold Parkette hires Pastoral Greenery & Outdoor Services, Inc. to cut his lawn. However the “serviceman” is not really a man, but a satyr, who works for the Greek god Pan.

No Sadly………It Is Not Torgo………As He Serves….The Master

It’s Not Phil Either…………..And Fuck Disney’s Hercules

This satyr, making good on his job to mow the lawn, conjures up an unholy, autonomous lawnmower to mow Parkette’s lawn while the satyr, completely nude, devours the freshly cut grass. Parkette sees this and is terrified. In a panic, he tries to call the police, but the satyr and his lawnmower brutally slaughter Parkette. The police arrive at the house and they believe an insane nudist killed Parkette in a form of ritual sacrifice. They write off the occurrence as just another bizarre murder and leave, failing to notice the powerful scent of freshly cut grass.

Director Brett Leonard and producer Gimel Everett wrote a script in the 90s called Cyber God and it had nothing to do King’s short story. However, New Line Cinema held the film rights to Stephen King’s short story and decided to combine Cyber God with minor elements of the short story. As you kind of realized with my induction of several New Line films, New Line Cinema have a history of being complete assholes and there is a reason they are out of business now. In this case, they called this Cyber God-Lawnmower Man hybrid, Stephen King’s Lawnmower Man. Being that this film had nothing to do with his short story; Stephen King understandably sued to have his name removed.

After two rulings in Stephen King’s favor, New Line Cinema still did not comply and when they initially released the VHS as Stephen King’s Lawnmower Man, Mr. King sued a third time and won. New Line finally had to remove Stephen King’s name from the film or else, the author would be given 10,000 dollars a day by New Line Cinema and he would get all proceeds to the film.

The actual film had a virtual reality company headed by Dr. Lawrence Angelo (played well by a pre-James Bond Pierce Brosnan) trying to use virtual reality to increase intelligence. It worked for chimpanzees so Pierce decides to do human testing. He decides to use his retarded gardener, who is friends with the son of his neighbor….who he has a crush on. Now if you think he is doing this to get in her pants, you are incorrect because actually he is doing this because he really wants to help the guy. The retarded Jobe (played perfectly by Jeff Fahey) actually starts becoming smarter, but also changes in behavior as well. He engages in sexual relations with a rich widow and as a rebel, he takes her to join him as they have sex VR style. Something goes wrong and the rich widow is so traumatized that she is driven insane, laughing endlessly at nothing. Jobe starts believing he is the next stage of evolution and tries to take over the world. He kills several people including the husband of the neighbor who he has a crush on, using the lawnmower.

If I was wrong with some of the plot, I apologize because in all honesty, I loved Lawnmower Man. It really is an underrated film and the perfect acting by Jeff Fahey makes us care for even the villain.

It Also Helps That The Dated CGI Effects Actually Adds To The Film Instead Of What It Mostly Does, Take Away From The Film

Because this film actually did well in the box office, a sequel was required. However, New Line Cinema got only one person of the original cast (Austin O’Brien does return as Peter Parkette) to return for the sequel. Yes, they didn’t even get the actor who played the Lawnmower Man himself (who was able to survive) to return. Did they decide to change Lawnmower Men? Of course not!!! They instead decided to replace the great Jeff Fahey with Matt Frewer. Now if you don’t know who Matt Frewer is….well, this photo might help.

Yes, Matt Frewer Played Max Headroom.

A bigger issue though is that the genius of this film decided to make this film PG-13, even though the first film was RATED R!!!!! As most of you know, turning R rated material into PG-13 is probably one of the DUMBEST THINGS TO EVER DO!!!!!

So yeah………..this film was destined for failure, but no one would know how much failure there was.

I should add that before I want to show you how pathetic the posters are. Go back up and look at the two covers for the films and let’s look at the cover of the original poster.

Notice the similarities with the guy mowing the lawn. Yeah, that was in the original film. That scene of him mowing the lawn is not in this sequel at all. Oh it gets even worse. There is a scene shown in the small piece of paper that lists the chapter. It has this exact photo.

Yeah, that is from the first movie as well when Jobe and the rich widow decide to go into the virtual reality world to make love. So you know what kind of shit we are getting into when the people who released this film would rather use scenes from the original than your own sequel.

I also have to interestingly note that the makers of this film contacted well known comic book writer Grant Morrison to pen a script. He claims that he was asked to turn the Lawnmower Man into a comic book superhero ala Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. In the end, they pretty much didn’t take any of his scripts and came up with this script. While that might have rubbed Lawnmower Man fans the wrong way, it might have actually been better than what we got instead.


I’ve been trying to delay for long enough………..let’s get into this movie.

We begin this film with…..

Film…….The Sega Saturn Was In Production So Why The Sega CD Full Motion Video Screen

Wait……….I Apologize To The Sega CD Because Even Their FMV Screen Was Bigger Than This Piece Of Crap

I apologize in advance but because the first DVD chapter of this film is like that, I am forced to put the first chapter on Full Screen. Why….because this is the only time where the picture is of good size.

Anyway……….the film starts off with events from the original film happening with the laboratory getting blown up, but the evil Jobe finds a way out.

Enjoy This Moment Because This The Only Time The Iconic Lawnmower Man Look Is Shown

We then go to a court hearing where Dr. Benjamin Trace is fighting to keep his patent on the Chiron chip.

Unfortunately, he loses said battle because one of the investors wasn’t paid in full.

We then go to a team searching in the rubble of the lab and they find a man who has survived, but his legs are no more. Guess who the survivor is???

Yes, It Is Jobe And Hi, Title Screen

We have Jobe sent to the hospital where he is saved thanks to the doctors. We find out that Jobe suffered third degree burns so his entire face was reconstructed (which will explain the different actor). Using a computer screen that is hooked to Jobe’s mind, they try to speak to him. But all Jobe will say is “Peter Peter pumpkin eater”. They try normal talk, but that is all he will say. Finally they decide to finish the nursery rhyme and Jobe finally introduces himself.

We then get the female doctor (whose name is Dr. Cori Platt) helps Jobe in his physical and occupational therapy. Hey, I’ve been there Jobe………it’s not fun, but it is a necessity. Through machines, they are able to visualize Jobe’s memories of the past where he had a friendship with Peter Parkette.

Jonathan Walker shows up and he has acquired the services of Jobe and Dr. Cori Platt, as well as another scientist named Jennifer. We also find out that Jonathan is the one who sued and was given the patent to the Chiron chip. Jobe is hired to build the Chiron chip and in exchange virtual reality will rehabilitate his mind. Oh dear, that is how Jobe went insane in the first movie. Anyway, Jobe is span through some type of machine.

Jobe is fully healed in VR and remember that awesome look of CGI in the past, well………

He Now Looks Like This In The VR World

Thankfully we are now on Chapter 2 so I can put the stuff back on widescreen. We are told this is Los Angeles in the future. We are then thrust into the world of hobos where we meet a now 16-year old Peter who is with his girlfriend as well as a few other kids.

They are all hackers who have a secret base at an old rundown subway car.

Sadly, They Did Not Meet The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

They hack their way into cyberspace so they can fly around a simulator like Peter Pan.

Yes, This Is What They Thought Hackers Would Do With Cyberspace.

There world gets screwed around a bit and they fall into the forest.

Sadly None Of These Characters Die

They don’t know what the hell happens, but thanks to their trusty dog….they are able to bring the cybercycles with them. Apparently they are looking for who is busting into their world. Peter crashes into a misplaced statue and that statue transforms into Jobe. There is a short celebration hug of their re-union before Jobe tells Peter that he is dying and he needs the help of Dr. Trace. He needs Dr. Trace to help him with the Egypt link and tells Peter that if Trace is hesitant, to tell him Jobe is creating his Chiron chip.

Some punks come in and zap Peter out of cyberspace. We have a short scene where Peter needs CPR, but Peter is okay.

At the new laboratory….

Which Is Built Like An Actual Fort

We see Jonathan and his staff (sans Jobe) meet with Senator Greenspan. They give the senator a tour of their facility and the company name is Virtual Light. The senator is hesitant in giving Jonathan the grants needed to complete their virtual world because they would be giving Walker so much power.

Peter rides up to Dr. Trace’s secluded pad where we see the former owner of the Chiron chip patent has left the world of technology.

Yeah…………Dr. Trace Has Become A Hippy

Peter tries to ask for Dr. Trace’s help to save his friend, but Trace has said he left that world and doesn’t plan on returning. When mentions the Chiron chip, Trace wants to talk to him inside. Peter leaves Trace a disk and says that if he wants to help save Jobe, he can meet him at the third station in the abandoned Tunnel 11.

Trace decides to help and meets them at that abandoned subway car. When they meet Jobe, Jobe’s personality changes completely. Gone is the serious Jobe that we all know & love and now he is replaced with Matt Frewer’s bad comedy. Yes, now Jobe has become annoying as hell. Jobe introduces them to the center of the virtual city he is building. Trace then mentions what all of us need mentioning: that Jobe looks to be in zero type of danger. When Trace asks what he really wants, Jobe says he wants Egypt.

Trace says that he will not help Jobe because the Egypt part of the Chiron chip is his secret way of preventing anyone from being able to have full domain. Jobe turns evil and produces a sword.

They get Peter out of cyberspace and Peter wonders what the hell has turned Jobe so crazy. Here is the problem; in the last movie……..I believe Peter already knows that Jobe went insane. So unless Peter didn’t know Jobe had this annoying schizophrenic personality, then they kind of retconned the first movie.

Jobe hacks into the electronics of a train and sends it careening into the abandoned track and the hackers’ base. Trace is however able to get Jobe from crashing the train into their tunnel, but the train crashes a blocked track and an explosion is created.

Because of this, the hackers’ base is still destroyed, but they all are able to escape. Back at Virtual Light, Jonathan and Jennifer talk secretly about the power they will have once everything is complete.  Back on a bus, Trace tells the kid if Jobe wants Egypt that means he plans on using the Chiron chip to its full hideous potential, which is enter any machine in the world and take over its VR. Trace says they need to steal the Chiron chip to stop him. Using library computers, they are able to figure out where the chip and Jobe are. They figure out that Platt is working with Jobe and apparently, Trace gives the face of someone who knows her.

Jonathan talks about how Greenspan is going back to Washington to oppose the licensing of Virtual Reality, and if they lose that license, they are dead. Now I don’t know why they told Jobe this otherwise so I am thinking that they wanted Jobe to do something about it. Jobe does do something about it as he hacks into Greenspan’s plane so it crashes, killing the senator. Another scientist sees this going on and tries to warn someone via Virtual Reality, but that is a bad move as Jobe hacks into his world and kills him.

Trace decides to meet Platt in the parking lot and she is disgusted to see him.  Trace tries to play nice, but Platt obviously wants nothing to do with him, signifying past fallout between the two. When she gets to the lab, she sees that Jennifer has been getting the project sped up without her authorization. Platt tries to talk to Jonathan, but no luck happens since Jonathan is a douche and is overriding her authorization. This makes Platt very suspicious and when she tries to look up Jobe’s file, she sees that his entire file has been erased by Jonathan. She goes into Jonathan’s office and steals a folder. She gets caught trying to leave by security, but she says she went in to drop some papers off. The guard thinks nothing of it, and lets her be on her way.

Two of the hackers get in her car’s way and fake being run over as a distraction. This allows Trace to sneak into the backseat so he can talk to her. Jonathan calls and tells her about the guard seeing her in his office. While she smoothes this situation over, Trace steals her key to the lab. Since I am halfway through this film and this is such a painfully boring film, I am going to take a nap.

*Seth takes a nap and continues afterwards*

That was a good nap. Back to this boring film.

The hackers and Trace break into Virtual Light by using camera loops and Platt’s keycard. When Trace and Peter get to where the Chiron chip is, they note that it is being guarded by a special laser that is extremely sensitive to zero degrees centigrade. They then grab an ice cube and try to use that as the replacement for the Chiron chip.

Dr. Platt comes back because she seems to think she left her keycard in the lab. The camera loop for some reason, allows her to be seen when it is meant to keep all the people the camera spots invisible. Back inside, our idiots forget that ice freaking melts and when the ice melts, they are detected stealing the chip.

Even Jobe Is Laughing At Your Stupidity

Jobe immediately tries to use the lasers to zap them, but apparently he set his phasers to miss. Yes, I know that was an obvious Mystery Science Theater joke, I’m really grasping at straws here trying to come up with good jokes so forgive me.

Platt comes to save them from getting killed, but Jennifer tries to stop her. A security guard comes in, but that distracts Jennifer enough so Platt can let out Trace & Peter. Trace head butts the security guard who falls on Jennifer, which apparently knocks her out.

Jennifer, A Fucking Useless Ass-Kisser

Using some techniques that just make me yell to the security guards to shoot the fuckers….

Like Peter Using A Mr. Fuji Technique On One.

Or Trace Punching A Guard In The Balls

They are able to escape into the garbage shoot.

Didn’t Star Wars Teach Us Not To Do That?

Surprisingly, nothing happens as they are able to get out of the facility with the chip. While recovering from the botched security, Jobe tells the guards to bring them some dirt that they found. Jobe uses this to trace this all to Trace’s house, where Trace, Platt, and the hackers are holed up in.

Meanwhile there, our good guys find out that they escaped with a phony and not the real Chiron chip. You see, because Jonathan didn’t trust his own men……he hid the real Chiron chip in one of his statues. They mention that now that Jobe has solved the Egypt link (you will find out how later), they can now go online. Jonathan and his cronies have a meeting with the president so they can begin going online. In this virtual gala, Jonathan announces that in 12 hours, they will have Global Interface.

After the gala, Jennifer tells Jonathan about Platt’s betrayal.

Back at Trace’s house, they say that in 12 hours…………Jobe will have control of every machine imaginable. Platt tries to say that Jonathan will stop it, but Trace argues that he won’t because he is doing this with him. Platt calls Jonathan and Jonathan tells her he is disappointed in her betrayal. Trace tries to talk some sense into him, but Jonathan is too greedy to even think about taking Jobe offline. Jonathan says he trusts Jobe with his life and Trace tells our greedy businessman that he better because he just gave his life to him.

Jobe finds out where the good guys are at and sends a helicopter to crash into them via kamikaze. Luckily the good guys see what is going on and are able to escape before the hijacked helicopter crashes into them.

The Helicopter Pilot, Who Died, Does Some Pretty Bad Acting Here

It is now 2 hours till Global Interface (my time goes by fast) and Jobe decides to turn heel by wrecking havoc. He empties out all credit card accounts as seen by this lady cutting up a credit card that she thinks is overbalanced.

I Don’t Think They Allow You To Do That These Days

He then hacks into ATM machines so they can shoot out money.

Jobe then takes over water mains and makes them burst.

All of this causes people to riot. We then figure out Jobe’s complete plan is to cause so much mayhem that they will have to turn to Jobe as their new messiah with his virtual world. Jobe then goes on all television screens and tells everyone to come to his perfect world for salvation from the chaos.

Meanwhile, the good guys break into Virtual Light using the garbage room again (still no trash compactor scene).

Jonathan and Jennifer are given the bad news of Jobe’s betrayal and when they go to confront him, Jobe boasts about his ruse. Jonathan says that without him, Jobe is nothing more than a deaf and dumb cripple. Umm….Jonathan, Joe isn’t deaf or he wouldn’t be able to hear your insults. Jonathan vows retribution as he and Jennifer leave. They try to secretly talk about either sedating Jobe or taking him out of the VR world. Jobe cunningly hears the plan and fools security into shooting them as terrorists.

Jobe then continues his ramblings to the cyberspace crowd before he is interrupted by Trace and Peter, who were able to sneak into the virtual city unnoticed (thanks to an awesome bike chase scene). A fight scene commences which takes a few minutes until the good guys are finally able to destroy the virtual Chiron chip. Jobe laughs and talks about how he built around the Egypt link, but he soon finds out that the Egypt link is a way to prevent Jobe from getting total control. The Egypt link attacks Jobe and turns him back into the retard that he was in the first film.

A victory is celebrated as Peter, who still considers Jobe is friend, goes to help him. However, when our good guys arrive, Peter is grabbed by a still alive Jonathan. Jonathan wants to chip because he plans on starting over his cyberspace takeover. Jobe grabs Jonathan’s leg and Trace punches Jonathan into some electric wires, which kills him this time.

The movie ends with the good guys and Jobe (who is now in a wheelchair) looking at a beautiful sunny day.

Oh How Fucking Cliché

Before we get to my final thoughts, let’s talk about the aftermath. There is a reason why many people have never heard of this film, despite it being released in theaters. That’s because when it was released as Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, this film was a huge bomb at the box office. Even for limited theatrical run, this film did terrible. This film was for the most part universally panned as terrible and it was so bad to the point when Lawnmower Man 2 made it to video, they changed its subtitle to Jobe’s War and basically released with basically zero hype.

Only a few went on to do much of note. Matt Frewer did play Moloch in the Watchmen movie (even though he had very little screen time) and also played the dad who got infected in the Dawn of the Dead remake. Thankfully, Martin does do voice work and in my personal opinion, that is probably best for him as his personality is cartoony.

However, there is one person who you may know very well. That would be Saturday Night Live’s Molly Shannon. She played a homeless lady in this film. All I will say is that I don’t think Molly will be talking much about this film any time soon. Nor do I think she will be highlighting this on her resume.

Now for my thoughts…..I will first talk about the positive because there is maybe one. The CGI (for its time) were actually decent. The cyber city looks really well done so I appreciate the effort.

However, this also falls under a negative because the CGI in the original may not been as good, but it created more of an ominous atmosphere.

With that, we go towards the negative. The PG-13 rating really fucks this movie over with making fans of the original pissed off while casual fans don’t understand what is going on. The acting is uninspired. The replacement of Jeff Fahey with Matt Frewer is even worse and you are not even once intimidated this film’s Jobe. I recommend you avoid this film at all fucking costs unless you need help with your insomnia because it is that boring.

The only solace I have is this film is quite forgettable, and after a week…….I will forget all about this film and it will go back into the obscure abyss from which it came.

Now I guess it is time to reveal my next induction. I mentioned on Twitter that I will not be doing a poll to choose my next induction because this film was chosen to be inducted 4 years ago. However, I said at the time because of the box office success it had, I wouldn’t induct it. Years have passed and with watching crappy trends like Michael Bay’s Transformer films and The Twilight Saga becoming all the rage, I decided to fuck what the masses will think and induct this film. And I am sure that I will get a lot of flack because this film on IMDB has a 6.4, which is well above what I usually induct. However, when I was going to originally induct this film as my 27th induction, it was well below 5.0 so that’s why it is still getting inducted.

And also, I am tackling a film in a legendary franchise and a legendary director. I am putting my flame shields up because this is my next induction.

Oh Yeah………..I’m Going There

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