In light of the December release of “The Matrix,” now is the ideal moment to examine some great cyberpunk works.
Back in 1999, the Matrix franchise was instrumental in introducing the cyberpunk genre to American audiences, and it is a major factor in the genre’s current comeback in popularity. “Cyberpunk” is a genre that combines modern science-fiction storyline with strange, future graphics and ground-breaking action. Many vintage cyberpunk films, on the other hand, offer accurate forecasts of today’s world, making them all the more relevant despite their age.
After an 18-year absence, The Matrix Resurrections will put Neo and Trinity back together once again. There’s no better time to re-discover the key syllabus of cyberpunk movies.
10. Tron (1982)
Tron is a cyberpunk classic because of its pioneering use of computer animation and video game-inspired graphics. To locate proof of his ex-software employer’s plagiarism, a video game developer finds himself stuck in a digital world. Playing life like a video game is what he needs to do to find his way out and stop the system’s rogue AI
Even though Tronis raises many of the same problems about artificial reality as The Matrix, the action and suspense never flags. Following the success of the original Tron film, Tron: Legacy was released in 2010.
9. Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
Keanu Reeves’ performance in Johnny Mnemonic is long forgotten, yet the film is a cyberpunk masterpiece that deserves to be rediscovered. Adaptation of William Gibson’s dystopian sci-fi novel of the same name, about a man who has a cybernetic implant that is used to store and retrieve data for affluent clients.
Even if you don’t care about the plot, the film’s futuristic setting makes it worthwhile to see. It’s a great cast, too, with Dolph Lundgren, Dina Meyer, Ice-T, and even Takeshi Kitano (of Takeshi’s Castle) starring.
8. Robocop (1987)
RoboCopis is one of the most extreme examples of the cyberpunk genre’s early focus on metallic images in action cinema. In this darkly comedic tale, a police officer is slain on duty and revived as a savage cyborg.
Its notion was devised by writer Edward Neumeier while on the set of Blade Runner, and an early dystopian sci-fi picture called Metropolis served as a major visual inspiration. However, RoboCo remains a one-of-a-kind experience that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
7. New Rose Hotel (1998)
It was initially derided by critics, but the New Rose Hotel has now become a cult classic.
William Gibson wrote the short story that inspired Johnny Mnemonic. There are two businessmen who are employed by the megacorporation to “relocate” the great scientist from his current company, and the film follows them as they do so.
The film’s themes of isolation and loneliness are similar to those of Pulse by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and The Matrix, both of which depict life in the digital age.
6. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a thought-provoking sci-fi film. Unconditional love, a feature that prevents him from fitting in anywhere, is the focus of this film.
He worked on it for many years before transferring it to Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, the film’s director A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which stars Haley Joel Osment in one of her best performances, is a one-of-a-kind tale that brings together the best qualities of two of history’s greatest filmmakers.
5. eXistenZ (1999)
David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ is a body horror picture unlike anything he’s ever done, starring Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Videodrome was an early cyberpunk film, but eXistenZ takes things to a new level with its exploration of virtual reality.
Leigh’s character, a virtual reality game designer, escapes an assassin by jumping into her latest creation. The more she progresses, the less obvious the line between the virtual world and the real one becomes. For some reason, eXistenZ hasn’t received the respect it deserves since its release just a few weeks after The Matrix. However, when seen as a pair, these two flicks are a visual treat.
4. Pi (1998)
If you’re looking for one of Darren Aronofsky’s best films, Pi is the place to start. Shinya Tsukamoto’s work inspired the low-budget sci-fi neo-noir. “I want to bring cyberpunk to America,” Aronofsky wrote in his diary after seeing Tsukamoto’s outstanding Tokyo Fist.
As a result, a singular work of American cinema developed, the story of a mathematician who strives to reconcile illogicality with consistency. That it made almost $3 million on a budget of just $60,000 is a testament to the quality of the film.
3. Akira (1988)
Almost every post-1988 cyberpunk film owes something to Akira director Katsuhiro Otomo, who used the film as a model for his own work. While the film takes place in Tokyo, the protagonist is a biker gang leader who discovers that his best friend has developed superhuman abilities after being subjected to government testing.
Many people in the Western world were introduced to anime thanks to Akira, an anime film. One of the best examples of cyberpunk, it’s also a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about the genre’s roots.
2. Blade Runner (1982)
In Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s 1982 blockbuster, the Matrix franchise was strongly influenced. An online question-and-answer panel hosted by filmmakers The Wachowski Sisters stated that they were the only ones who liked it when they initially watched it. In the beginning, few people saw it as a “benchmark science fiction film, a masterpiece,” they said. It’s widely regarded now, and the critically acclaimedBlade Runner 2049 has only bolstered the original’s reputation as a defining work of the cyberpunk genre.
After their usefulness to their parent organization had exhausted, “blade runners” were sent to dispose of bio-engineered beings (replicants) in the dystopian drama. After many of these replicants make it to Earth, his mission is to locate and eliminate them.
1. Ghost In The Shell (1995)
“Ghost in the Shell” follows Motoko Kusanagi, a human-machine hybrid who serves as the head of an anti-terrorist team. Known only as “The Puppetmaster,” this villain lurks in the shadows of cyberspace and challenges her reality and sense of self.
With Ghost in the Shell, the Wachowskis were inspired to tell producers, “We want to do that for real” when they pitched The Matrix. IMAX theaters in the United States, Japan, and Canada are now showing a 4K restoration of the film.