I finally saw William Castle's PROJECT X the other night and I was surprised by the story-line. It reminded me a lot of JOHNNY MNEMONIC or THE MATRIX and the whole cyberpunk genre of films or books. PROJECT X is seriously outdated because of the FX and the boring and cheap production values, which makes this movie look like a standard 1960s TV movie. But the story itself screams William Gibson: it's about retrieving some memory from a spy (played by Christopher George) who's suffering from amnesia and who might have the information about Asia's attempt to destroy the West. The amnesia was artificially induced in the spy by someone in order to prevent the information from reaching the authorities in the West. When the film starts, the spy is incased in some coffin-like chamber and he's in suspended animation. Scientists revive the spy and try to get that memory from his amnesiac mind with a holographic device that can see inside the man's mind when he's sleeping. The scientists also recreate a 'virtual reality" setting that looks like something from the 1960s where the scientists hope the spy will be duped and eventually hand them the missing memory (the spy knows a lot about history, which is the explanation for the elaborate set-up. It's also cheaper this way. No expensive futuristic sets. LOL!). Of course, someone tries to botch the scientists attempt to save the world. The story is filled with details like biowarfare, overpopulation, infertility, etc. The identity of the spy is repeatedly changed by the scientists, who keep referring to these new virtual personalities of his as a MATRIX! JOHNNY MNEMONIC is basically an unofficial remake of PROJECT X. In JOHNNY MNEMONIC, the whole world is suffering from some sort of condition called Nerve Attenuation Syndrome. Keanu Reeves has information implanted in his brain (which has a chip) that could cure NAS. Keanu got this implanted info in Beijing and he only has 24 hours to bring the vital info to the scientists in the US. William Gibson basically reworked the ideas found in PROJECT X and updated them for JOHNNY MNEMONIC. For instance, In JOHNNY MNEMONIC, the world is already suffering from something and the cure is from Asia. In PROJECT X, the threat is from Asia and it's some sort of virus/biochemical/nerve weapon. And the action in both stories are governed by some sort of limited timeline. While watching the film, I had a vivid sense of deja vu. The whole idea of advanced technology capable of controlling memories, and the "reality vs virtual reality" aspect seen in PROJECT X are the basic ingredients of the whole cyberpunk genre. PROJECT X was very familiar and yet, thanks to the look of the movie, very outdated too. As a movie, PROJECT X is not that good but it's interesting to see where the whole idea of memory manipulation started from.
Mystery / Sci-Fi
Mystery / Sci-Fi
A spy is brought back from cryogenic suspension after being almost killed in a plane crash returning from a mission to learn about a deadly new weapon being developed in the East. But the ...
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October 15, 2019