Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (Farhad Mann, 1996, USA)

New Line Cinema thought they had a franchise on their hands with The Lawnmower Man, their biggest success of 1992. Something in that film captured the zeitgeist of the dawning Internet age, and its examination of virtual reality and cyberpunk aesthetics worked with some audiences. The film made enough money that New Line greenlit a sequel, however, they were unable to bring star Pierce Brosnan back (he already had a starring role in the James Bond franchise). Likewise, Jeff Fahey was replaced in the role of Jobe by Matt Frewer, who had come to prominence in the 80s in the role of Max Headroom.

Banking that The Lawnmower Man 2 would lead to theme park rides and more merchandise in the spirit of Terminator 2, the film seeks to make things much more kid-friendly. With its bright colors and a ragtag team of kids fighting a bad guy, the film feels more like a Disney movie at times than the original Lawnmower Man. This lack of darkness is the film's biggest weakness, as the original film was at least a horror film. This sequel seems to take nods from any film that was a commercial success - Star WarsIndiana Jones - and wraps it into a bow.

Needless to say, the film was not commercially successful and tanked whatever prospects there were for a Lawnmower Man extended universe. The film was taken by director Farhad Mann during production, and numerous edits and choices were made by the studio. This is a film that feels tampered with by the studio, and while it is generally entertaining and a mercifully brief 90 minutes, it, unfortunately, doesn't live up to the original film - as goofy as that film was. You wouldn't know this film had a 15 million dollar budget by looking at it.



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