Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace - 1/2*

Horrendous sequel to what was a dubious movie in the first place. The first film dealt with Jobe, a retarded man who had a job mowing lawns (hence the title). After being dosed with experimental drugs, and subjected to virtual reality, Jobe became a genius with destructive mental powers. His plans for world conquest through computer networks was set awry, however, when he was blown up in a mighty explosion at the conclusion of the first film. However, we now learn that Jobe’s body survived, though crippled and mutilated by heavy burns. With the help of reconstructive surgery, he now emerges the spitting image of Max Headroom (Matt Frewer). However, his prodigal mental abilities have dwindled, though he is still a genius in the realm of cyberspace, and quickly employed by evil entrepreneur Jonathan Walker (Kevin Conway). Walker uses Jobe to continue the work of VR pioneer Dr. Benjamin Trace (Patrick Bergin), who, frightened by the evil potential of his work, fled to the wilderness and abandoned all technology. Enter Jobe’s old friend, a boy named Peter (Austin O’Brien), now an apparent orphan and street punk, making his living by stealing technology. Peter is enlisted by Jobe to search out the good Dr. Trace, and help him complete the ultimate computer chip that will enable Walker’s company to invade and take over the world’s computer systems. Of course, Dr. Trace, once his has been retrieved from his nature commune, is by no means ready to consent to Jobe’s commands. Thus a race ensues, with Dr. Trace, Peter and the street kids trying to stop Jobe and Walker from dominating the world. The acting in this film is pitiful at best. Frewer spends his time mugging and spouting supposedly humorous non sequiters. Bergin is even worse, not maintaining any sort of consistent character. His delivery is truly awful. Ely Puget fares a little better as the love interest and beautiful scientist who pities Jobe. Austin O’Brien proves that yes, he can be more annoying than he was in The Last Action Hero. The special effects are decent, if they do look a bit dated…more Tron than Jurassic Park. The screenplay, however, delves into a misadventure into scientific goofiness with such classic items as a heat sensitive laser alarm which can and is used as a weapon that functions more like a gun than a laser, or what about the mystical computer network which allows any and all aircraft in flight to be completely taken over by outside influences…and who was the idiot writer who coined the term “eyephones”? Ugh.

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