Remember that year and a half in the nineties when virtual reality was the biggest flippin' damn deal? 'Cause if you don't this movie doesn't make any sense.
Luckily, I do remember that year and a half. I miss those days. And I'm especially bummed that virtual reality disappeared before I had a chance to try it. I don't care that The Lawnmower Man and VR Troopers tried to ruin it by making it seem evil and incredibly lame respectively, I still think it looked fun.
Anyway, close your eyes and pretend its the 1990s. Pierce Brosnan is no longer Remington Steel and not yet James Bond. He had some down time and decided to be a virtual reality scientist, using drugs and computer simulations to study the brain evolution of chimpanzees. But the mean, nasty company he works for doesn't want study chimps, it wants to weaponize them. Brosnan's favorite chimp goes on a rampage and shoots a security guy, then a security guy shoots him. Brosnan is pissed.
Then Pierce Brosnan decides to experiment on his friendly neighborhood lawnmower man, a mentally slow Jeff Fahey named Jobe. Brosnan thinks he can make Jobe smarter, which turns out to be correct. However, thanks to some overdoing the experiments and secret interference from the mean, nasty science company, Jobe becomes not only a genius, but a murderous, psychic genius. Good times.
I remember the days when the previews referred to this movie as "Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man," and the title still sounds strange to me without the "Stephen King's" part. King apparently hated the movie so much (or it was much different than the story it was based on or something) that he made them take his name off of it. I never read the story, so I don't know how much it differs, but the movie was pretty good; if I were Stephen King I'd've made them take my name off The Shining (another book I never read) rather than this, but that's just me. My brain still refers to this movie as "Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man" and it probably always will.
One of the things that's great about The Lawnmower Man is I can't hate the massive amounts of CGI in it. Usually CGI, especially the painfully obvious kind that is showcased here, pisses me off for being obvious and ruining the movie. However, in The Lawnmower Man the CGI is the point. It has to be painfully obvious or the effect is ruined. Even the very, very pixelated fire (caused by psychic computer energy) would have lost its power if it had looked like real fire.
The Lawnmower Man wasn't as bad as a lot of sources have tried to led me to believe, and not nearly as scary as I led myself to believe when it came out. It was entertaining and very of its time.
I like that.
End of line.