A little over a week ago I wrote an article about five films that I felt everyone should see before Cyberpunk 2077 releases on April 16th, 2020. I would suggest checking out that article first because it includes some of the most seminal films in the cyberpunk genre. However because this genre of film is so rich, a lot of these will be equally as good.
As I did with the previous article I have one honorable mention that is a TV show.
Honorable Mention: Cowboy Bebop
I'm not a huge anime fan, but when it comes to cyberpunk they have that genre down. Cowboy Bebop is the very first anime that I enjoyed and pulled me into the possibility of liking others. If it wasn't for Cowboy Bebop I probably would have never discovered Neon Genesis Evangelion, Bubblegum Crisis, or Ghost in the Shell.
Cowboy Bebop has been often described as space opera meets noir, meets comedy, meets cyberpunk. The show follows a team of bounty hunters traveling across hyperspace bringing criminals to justice.. Plus one of the shows main characters is a corgi named Ein. Whats not to love?
5. The Matrix
I don't think I have to explain a whole lot about The Matrix because probably 90% of you have seen the movie. After the last list came out I received a couple messages that I should have included it so I am including it here. Keanu Reeves plays computer hacker Neo that discovers that the world he is living in is not what it seems.
The Matrix is a classic and if you haven't seen it already, you probably should. I wouldn't recommend the sequels though. I think the first one is good enough to stand on it's own without the convoluted sequels.
On the surface this may not strike people as being very cyberpunk. But if you know anything about Cyberpunk 2020 you will know where I am going with this. RoboCop is created by an evil megacorporation called Omni Consumer Products. They strip away most of his humanity and make him an obedient cyborg. But.. I think we all know who is going to get the last laugh.
The first two films in this franchise are fantastic. They are ultra-violent affairs that really dive into consumerism and the role of the mega corporations. I haven't seen the remake, so I can't comment on the quality of it. The original with Peter Weller is where it's at.
3. Ex Machina
This was a surprise film for me that I just watched randomly on Amazon Prime one night. Now Ex Machina might not necessarily be cyberpunk, but it definitely deals with the idea of AI and what makes someone human.
Ex Machina focuses on three characters. The first is an immensely rich man who strikes me as a kind of David Zuckerburg. He has built an AI robot that he wants to test on someone so he invites a man to come in and talk to her. The entire film consists of the two talking with one another and the drama that unfolds from that. It probably doesn't sound like an amazing film on paper, but it is masterfully done.
2. Total Recall
We all need a little Arnold Schwarzenegger in our lives. I was going to include both this and Running Man but I didn't want him to take over this list. Total Recall is a magical film that has so many memorable scenes and mind fuckery going on. I love this movie and I think it absolutely stands the test of time with some of the fantastic effects that they employed.
1. The Fifth Element
I love this movie. It's probably a crime that I didn't include it on the last list. But that goes back to what I said earlier that there are so many good cyberpunk films that it is hard to narrow it down. If you love the cyberpunk aesthetic, this is probably the most cyberpunk film you will see. Yes, some of it is probably a little cliche but it's also a lot of fun.
Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Gary Oldman, Luke Perry.. I mean the list goes on. Even if you haven't seen The Fifth Element I guarantee you are familiar with Milla's character Leeloo.
There were a lot of films I really wanted to include here but I didn't think they necessarily fit under the "cyberpunk" genre. If this gets as much love as the last one did maybe I'll go ahead and share those films as well.
As always I hope you guys enjoyed this one and if you have any suggestions feel free to let me know! I always enjoy talking film with people!