In a near-future world in which the fast-paced digital lifestyle has given rise to a worldwide plague called Nerve Attenuation Syndrome, Johnny (Keanu Reeves), a data courier, accepts an assignment that he hopes will allow him to pay for the restoration of the childhood memories he dumped in order to outfit his brain with the microchip necessary for him to carry out his profession. Narrowly escaping a Yakuza ambush in which his employers are killed and the mnemonic trigger capable of unlocking the data in his brain is partially destroyed, Johnny travels from Beijing to New Jersey, where he hopes to recover the data before "neural seepage" destroys his mind. Teaming up with would-be bodyguard Jane (Dina Meyer) and a rebel group known as the LoTeks who live in an abandoned bridge, he tries to outrun the assassins of mysterious businessman Takahashi (Beat Takeshi Kitano) -- and the Street Preacher (Dolph Lundgren), a bionic madman. Along the way, he meets a mysterious electronic entity, a sentient dolphin, and Spider (Henry Rollins), a cybernetics expert, all of whom attempt, with various degrees of success, to learn why the data in Johnny's head is so important. Science fiction author William Gibson's original short story Johnny Mnemonic helped usher in the age of cyberpunk when it appeared in Omni magazine in 1981; it later appeared in the collection Burning Chrome (alongside the story that provided the basis for Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel). Although Gibson himself wrote the screenplay for Johnny Mnemonic, the film diverges considerably from the story. Molly Mirrors, a recurring character in Gibson's fiction, was replaced by the figure of Jane to fend off licensing conflicts with any future film version of Neuromancer, the author's most celebrated novel. Other plot elements -- most notably the LoTeks' bridge habitat -- were borrowed from later Gibson fiction such as the novel Virtual Light.