6 Cyberpunk Movies For Only The Most Intense Sci Fi Nerds

Saturday, March 3 by Joseph Gibson

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Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that features highly advanced technology in conjunction with less advanced people – "punks," if you will, on the underbelly of an often-crumbling society. It's made for a lot of cool books and movies-here are six cyberpunk movies to awaken the cyberpunk in you. Try not to hurt yourself with all of the fancy technology, okay?

"Blade Runner"

One of the original cyberpunk movies, Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" shows a future Los Angeles where humanoid replicants roam about, flying cars zoom to and fro, and it's always dark and raining. The setting is classic cyberpunk, as are the characters: Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a "Blade Runner" whose job it is to hunt down and "retire" rogue replicants. Rogues such as Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty, one of the all-time best movie villains.

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One of the prevailing themes of cyberpunk is the intersection between flesh and machinery. One of the coolest examples of this idea is "Robocop," in which Petter Weller is brutally executed by a gang of criminals and then brought back as a mostly-robotic crusader for justice (and the corporate status-quo). The mixture of Robocop" one of the best cyberpunk movies of them all.

"Tetsuo: The Iron Man"

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Speaking of machinery-meets-flesh, here's perhaps the most disturbing example of that idea being portrayed on film. Director Shinya Tsukamoto  was inspired by both the surrealist films of David Lynch and the world of video games when he directed the story of a man who becomes infected by some kind of cybernetic virus, turning him into a grotesque mechanical monster. Classic cyberpunk, not something to watch with Mom.

"Johnny Mnemonic"

There are much better cyberpunk films out there, but we would be remiss if we didn't include this film based on a story by one of the fathers of cyberpunk, William Gibson. The film stars future cyberpunk icon (for his work in "The Matrix") Keanu Reeves as a guy whose brain acts as a data package for high-price underground figures. If he holds the data in his head for too long, he dies, and lots of dangerous characters (many with high-tech upgrades that make them extra-dangerous) are after it. It's not a perfect movie by any measure, but it's all cyberpunk.

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David cyberpunk mindf*ck might more accurately be described as "cyborgpunk," since most of the virtual reality technology depicted in the movie is of a disgustingly organic nature. Human beings plug fleshy, living "game pods" into their "bioports" in order to be transported to completely immersive virtual landscapes, in which all kinds of games can be played. The trouble comes in when it becomes difficult to tell whether you're in the game or real life.

"A Scanner Darkly"

Like "Blade Runner," "A Scanner Darkly" comes from a book by Philip K. Dick. The story is of a group of 30-something drugged-up burnouts, living in southern California and hooked on the highly dangerous and addictive "Substance D." Only one of these friends is not what he appears to be: He's Robert Arctor, an undercover policeman who is experiencing a psychotic break between his two dueling personae. It's really out-there stuff (and we haven't even told you about the Scramble Suit), and director Richard Linklater finds the perfect way to bring it to the screen in the form of rotoscoped animation.