Neo vs. John Murdock (possible spoilers)

So I finally watched Dark City after several weeks of pleading from my brother (sorry, but I’m just a real slacker when it comes to watching movies). Before I watched it, he said, “Remember, this came before The Matrix.”

I now see why people draw comparisons between these two movies. And since we haven’t had a good “vs.” thread in a while, I thought I’d throw this one out.

Who would win in a face off between Neo and John Murdock? For the sake of argument, Neo would have all the powers he does when within the Matrix, and John would have all his kuning(sp?) powers.

Personally, I’d say John, because his powers are the ability to warp reality. He’d never have to get close to Neo…he could just have the ground open up and swallow him, or two buildings smash him into paste, and never even get himself dirty. Of course, from the way they describe Neo in the first Matrix movie, I figured he’d have the same powers as well (I think Morpheus describes “The One” as being someone who can bend the Matrix to their own will, which makes me wonder why Neo never tried making cars fly out at people, or the streets come alive and protect he and his friends…but I guess that would have made it an entirely different movie, eh?).

Also (bit of a spoiler maybe), John also has an entire lifetime of experience with his powers, whereas Neo is still testing out his capabilities. Neo’s lucky in that he’s always been able to push himself enough to get the job done, but he still gets a little suprised and shocked every now and again by a new agent or program, and in the end, he did get beaten by Smith, whereas John killed off an entire race of beings that had been using their powers for centuries, if not longer. I think John’s got more skill behind his belt and better powers. Being a kung fu master is nice, but when your opponent can turn you into jelly with a thought, you’re kinda fucked.

Nit-pick: The semi-psychic powers of Murdock and the Strangers is called “Tuning”.

And my money is on John, too, because he has the Powers of Superior Narrative. In other words, he wins because Dark City is so very much cooler than The Matrix.

I guess almost nobody knows who John Murdock is.

Excellent point.

Murdock would have so many more weapons in his arsenal (and by that I mean, more things than just weapons) that Neo wouldn’t stand a chance. In addition, he defeated a more challenging foe.

As much as I love Dark City’s characters, I just think Neo is stronger. And as sinister as the Strangers were, The Matrix’s bad guys were badder.

Murdock: Stops a chucked knife using all his concentration.
Neo: Stops 100 bullets without breaking a sweat.

If that’s the comparison you want to use, let’s compare Neo’s abilities at a similarly early point in his saga…

Murdock: Stops a chucked knife using all his concentration.
Neo: Can’t even escape out a window.

C’mon, now. At the end of Dark City, Murdock telekinetically rotated the entire City complex to face the local sun, then conjured an entire ocean out of nowhere and situated it to be hovering in space.

Neo flies and does kung fu.

C’mon. No contest.

The problem is all the little Matrixites that worship the film with an obsession that rivals Fundamentalism and Trekkies will never admit that Neo was overblown even by other characters in the film. They’re the ones that whine and complain about how Neo wasn’t a veritable god in the last two installments of the movie, and somehow invent powers that Neo never demonstrated… “He SHOULD have been this strong, 'cuz Morpheus said so!” The whole while, they completely ignored the possibility that Morpheus might’ve been a little incorrect about his beliefs…

Oh yeah, if we compare early in The Matrix, I agree. No contest. But remember that at the end of Dark City it wasn’t like John just started using his powers. He had effectively had a lifetime of practice at that point. So I was comparing him to Neo in Revolutions.

Okay, and I think it should be pointed out that he didn’t just push the City with his mind. He used the huge gyroscope machine underground, which was designed to take input from a tuning user. I think he probably used it to make the ocean too. I guess if he had this machine, he’d win, but I think that’s kind of cheating. If he gets that, then Neo should get a line to the Operator where he can say, “I need Jennifer Connelly and a dagger!”

Somebody want to explain the story of John Murdock to us uninitiated folks?
Is Dark City a rarer film or could I find it at Blockbuster?

Yes, you can find it at Blockbuster. Do so immediately.

Yeah, he used it to destroy the hundred or so Strangers, who were also all using it - with far more experience than Murdock has had, incidentally - and defeated them. I got the impression, however, that after the Big Battle, the machine was destroyed.

Nah, man, he had artificial memories implanted. That ain’t the same thing. Plus, he was starting to get pretty good with it before the memory implants, too.

The fact is that we’ve seen Murdock pull off far more impressive feats than Neo ever could… and Neo had the superior environment to do it in! Murdock created matter out of nothing… Neo wasn’t able to do that even in a virtual world.

Now where did you get that impression? Was it from when John says, “I can make these machines do anything I want?” No, it was only the memory lab that was destroyed.

I can’t think of any reason to believe that John could stop a bullet fired at him. Schreber threatened him with a pistol (although I acknowledge that this was before he was imprinted).

I should point out that not all of us think that just because someone is a better dramatic character it means they’re stronger. Some of us think that weaknesses actually improve a character.

I don’t want to say you don’t understand the Dark City universe, but I think you’re forgetting a few things. “The hundred or so Strangers who were all using it”? They had a collective consciousness anyway. “Memory implants aren’t the same thing as experience?” People would routinely change their entire lives because of these non-experiences. Yeah, I remember that Murdoch tells Mr. Hand that humans are not just a sum of their memories, but I never liked that line for a number of reasons, one of which is how the heck should Murdoch know that? He never got the murderer imprint.

I seem to recall that the entire machine was destroyed, too, but I could be wrong.

Doesn’t matter what you think. It’s the universal rule of cross-overs. The cooler character always wins. This is why Wolverine is more powerful than God, but not quite as tough as Batman.

No, they didn’t. One of the Strangers took the serial killer memory implant meant for John, and went mad as a result. If they had a collective consciousness, they’d have all gone mad. Plus, they had some sort of hierarchy and a clear leader. A group mind wouldn’t need a leader.

I think he knows that because he has no memories, and is still a person. Anyway, as far as Murdoch v. Neo goes, this category is a wash, since they both learned how to use their abilities through implanted memories.

Oh, alright. In that case I guess I have no argument.

You know, I could be wrong about the Strangers having a collective consciousness. In fact now I think Schreber says they have collective memories. Does anyone else remember that? Either way, though, their actions don’t really bear it out.

As for John being a person despite having no memories, I guess he does realize he’s in love with Emma without remembering it, but other than that he doesn’t have much of a personality when he starts off. I don’t think he knows enough to be able to say he wouldn’t have become a murderer if he had gotten those memories.

John’s little speach about people not being the sum of their memories was the point of the movie. What makes us human “Isn’t what’s in here (pointing to head), it’s what’s in here (pointing to heart).”

Anyway, going back to basics…before understanding the fullness of his powers, Neo had a job he hated, but was a pretty good hacker. John could create a door out of brick by simply thinking “I need a door.” Without the memory implant, John was already starting to understand that he could do things (make things break, throw people around, etc.). Without Neo’s memory implants, he couldn’t kung fu, shoot straight, or do anything but hack a computer. After their respected implants and experience, Murdock still has the upper hand. Being able to fly and stop bullets is nice, but again…Murdock can alter matter…that includes Neo. So, while Neo’s flying around looking for the right opportunity to strike, John just turns his head into a fishbowl and it’s all over.

As for the end battle of Dark City, noone was using the machine to do anything, that fight was nothing but pure mind vs. mind. The machine was destroyed, from what I could tell, but John just rebuilt it and used that to fix the rest of the city and create the ocean (he was taught how to use the machine, so I gather that would give him enough knowledge on how to fix it). Still, he managed to do all that destruction without the help of the machine.

And as for the “Neo stops bullets without effort/John had to struggle to stop the knife” example, that’s not really a good comparison, because while John was struggling to stop the knife, he had another force pushing against it. The bullets Neo stopped had their initial force, but once that was neutralized, he didn’t have to think about them anymore. If John had done the same, he’d have had a knife in his chest.

Neo: [strikes kung-fu pose, makes come-hither gesture]
Murdock: [blinks, puzzled, and waves]
Neo’s head explodes.
Murdock in 1.

I think they had some sort of telepathy, but were still individuals. When John kills that first one on the catwalk, the others react as if they’d been hurt, too, implying some sort of mental connection. But, they still seem to have distinct personalities, which argues against a group mind.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say he doesn’t have a personality. He has one, its just that even he doesn’t know what it is. He has to discover what sort of a person he is through trial and error, such as when he picks up the prostitute to see if he really is a killer, but walks out when he realizes that he can’t bring himself to hurt her. Even before that, before he even realizes he’s amnesiac, he takes the time to save the life of that goldfish.

does anyone recall that neo doesn’t REALLY have any powers much at all? if you saw him walking down the street and you shot him… he would die, NOT block the bullet. he had powers to manipulate the matrix, not powers like stopping bullets.

I want that line…