Director: Brett Leonard
Stars: Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright
Reviewed By Brian M. Sammons
Oh god, it’s the Stephen King movie that has the least connection to any story it is reportedly based on out of all King films, and boy that’s saying something. It’s so bad that King not only denounced this adaptation, but went to great pains to take his name off the credits and all promotional material for it. It’s so bad that in one of the features for this new Scream Factory special release, Mr. King is referred to as only “the author of the original story,” as if we wouldn’t all know who he’s talking about. That said, I had not seen it for decades, so I guess it was about time to give the film another shot. So grab your VR goggles, step into that big spinning thing that all futuristic virtual reality movies had at this time, and let’s find out.
Pierce Brosnan is a scientist working on turning chimps into super soldiers through the use of computer virtual reality. Unfortunately his star monkey gets out and finds shelter with a mentally challenged man (Jeff Fahey) who lives behind a church and mows lawns on the side. Yes this is the titular lawnmower man. So when the chimp bites the dust, the mad doctor has the perfect new subject to test his intelligence boosting VR on. Gee, whatever could go wrong?
Well the VR works only too well and Job, the lawnmower man, starts getting smart. I mean really, really smart. In fact he gets so smart that he develops all kinds of massive psychic powers and his switch gets flipped to evil. So instead of joining Mensa, he starts getting bloody revenge on all the people who did him wrong all his life, and then he gets a serious god complex, and you know nothing good will come from that.
Lawnmower Man is a silly movie, but there is a lot of fun to be had if you like the so bad they’re good variety. Brosnan and Fahey are both fine in their roles, the latter especially so once he goes full on evil and starts chewing up the scenery. Of course the film is chock-full of stereotypes: the sexy neighbor lady, the big bully, and the sadomasochist priest. Then there are the “amazing” CGI graphics used for the virtual reality parts. These were not good back in 1992 when this movie came out and they really haven’t aged well. So yeah, it’s silly but fun.
On to the extras on this two-disc collection from Scream Factory. First it must be said that there are two versions of this film here: the theatrical cut and the director’s cut. Then there are two audio commentaries with writer/director Brett Leonard and writer/producer Gimel Everett, one for each cut of the movie. There is an over 50-minute retrospective on the film, a collection of deleted scenes, an original electronic press kit, animated sequence, trailer, and TV spot. Wait, we’re still not done. There is conceptual art and design stills, behind the scenes and production stills, and a storyboard comparison. There are also some hidden Easter eggs in here and I haven’t seen that in a while and I liked their addition here.
Lawnmower Man is not a good movie, but in the right frame of mind, it can be fun. If you like films that could/should appear on Mystery Science Theater 3000, then this is the flick for you. If not, you might want to pass on this one. As for me, I liked it more this second time, so it gets a recommendation.