In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by plague, hope comes in the form of a cyborg carrying a possible cure. A psychotic monster wants to control this cure, while a Slinger, a mercenary hired to protect people, is the only thing that stands in his way. Can he stop the monster and possibly save the world before it’s too late? Find out in… Cyborg.
How?! The world has been ravaged by a plague. All hope has been lost… almost. A cyborg named Pearl has been sent from the CDC in Atlanta to NYC to get information for a cure. On her way back, she is being tracked by Fender, a psycho monster who hopes to control the cure and thus control the world. After losing her bodyguard, Pearl finds Gibson, a slinger, and gets him to help her. Unfortunately Fender catches up and takes Pearl and leaves for Atlanta. Fender and a trailing girl, Nady, go after them. They track them down the coast and reminisce about Gibson’s brief happiness with a woman and her two daughters. They were killed by Fender and the younger daughter taken captive in his gang. When they do finally meet up they do battle and Gibson is able to kill a bunch of people, but just barely escapes with his life. He and Nady are tracked down and Fender crucifies Gibson on a ship. Left for dead he is able to knock down the cross and Nady helps free him. In Atlanta, Gibson again confronts Fender and they battle. Nady is killed and ultimately Gibson is able to kill Fender by impaling him on a meat hook a la Cobra. Indeed, Fender was the disease and Gibson was the cure. JK, the plague was the disease and Pearl, the cyborg, is the cure. Or at least hopefully. THE END.
Why?! Hope. Humanity. Love. Life. Cyborg. The classics. Obviously, Fender wants power and control in a world dominated by chaos. Pearl wants to help save the world. Gibson, on the other hand, is partly just doing his job, but also wants revenge against Fender for what he did to Gibson’s family.
Who?! Probably one of the more fun athletes-turned-actors. Vincent Klyn, who played Fender, was a professional surfer. From what I can tell, he was a high prospect when he was young in the early 80’s and by the time Cyborg rolled around he was working more as a model and was discovered for the role when he was out surfing one day (if the director Pyun is to be believed).
What?! I would say the cure for the plague is a reasonable MacGuffin, given the fact that we really don’t know much about the plague or the cure or anything. I mean, apparently there is a plague and the world is in ruins, and continues to be in ruins, because of it and… everyone just walks around no big deal? So what’s the cure for? Is Fender immune? No answers. As for props, JCVD’s necklace is listed here but specifically “is not for sale.” Yeah, wouldn’t want to give up that really cool looking prop from Cyborg. That’s a priceless gem.
Where?! Actually not a setting film. We start somewhere south of NYC heading towards Atlanta, but then get more specific as Gibson attempts to head off Fender in South Carolina where he docks to start inland towards Atlanta. The climactic fight scene takes place in Atlanta, which is even plot appropriate given the CDC’s role in the film. B+.
When?! And weirdly not a very good temporal setting film. Just generally and vaguely set in the future. It’s certainly post-apocalyptic. Can’t you tell because of all the… uh… graffiti, I guess? And the boat they have is all clunky. That’s bad right? Oh and Fender wears chainmail… I mean… right? That means it’s either really old or really in the future. Like, for sure. C.
There are aspects of the film that I was digging. I liked the bad guy and some of the quotes that he was laying down. His whole look was kinda rad too. But that’s more or less where it stopped. The film is ultra silly and looks like garbage. The film studio was basically already out of business and threw this stuff together. Let’s just say, it shows. I will give it some credit in saying that I somewhat understand why they made sequels to the film. The film made money and you can see intriguing angles to the plot to build on. Like some horror franchises where even if the first entry is awful there is sometimes enough momentum to the monster or something to carry into a few more films. As for the sequel (I only watched Cyborg 2), it is fascinating but for an entirely different reason. Angelina Jolie is front and center in her first film role and she is so raw it’s nuts. Also Jack Palance shows why he is a Tango and Cash legend and Billy Drago consumes entire sets. It’s a bit of a fun watch if only for the acting performances. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We got all kinds of robotronic up in here this week. I watched not one, not two, but three Cyborg films! Weep not for me … Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – If I’m being honest, considering how early in his career this was, this looked like just another Van Damme film. The notes somewhat corroborated this, with a troubled production and Van Damme himself re-editing the film prior to release. I was intrigued by the director (a big non-theatrical director) and the bad guy (a professional surfer), so there was some potential. What were my expectations? The usual for post-apocalyptic nonsense from the late-80s: depressing, dreary, and boring. But I would be pretty pleased if we saw some splits and buns from Van Damme, because that’s really all the people want. Give the people what they want!
The Good – There are indeed some splits in the film. Van Damme is, as usual, as good as one would expect, with some fun action sequences. Especially the sequences near the end of the film in Atlanta. The final fight with Vincent Klyn was almost definitely the major bit that Van Damme himself recut, and it indeed is quite effective. And as bad of an actor as Klyn is, he does have a striking look and thus is an decent foe for Van Damme … even if he does kind of look like Bananas from Ghosts of Mars. The stop-motion effects for the cyborg are very Robocop-esque and look pretty cool. Best Bit: Them Splits.
The Bad – The acting is pretty dire, even from Van Damme. It ends up sinking the movie in the beginning because there is nothing to hold the audience’s attention during the first half hour of the film which is just standard boring post-apocalyptic garbage. The entire structure of the film was thrown off by the sheer number of flashbacks. We get it, Van Damme fell in love once, and Vincent Klyn killed his lady love and left him for dead. It is a tale as old as time, and it feels like it was shoehorned in just to pad the run time. The titular cyborg is barely in the film, and the motivation as to why she is a cyborg is non-existent … it makes you wish Van Damme was the cyborg instead. Fatal Flaw: Flashbacks.
The BMT – I think as a whole the series is interesting from a BMT perspective in that I watched the entire trilogy in a very short amount of time. Also the trilogy manages to be three totally different things: a late-80s martial arts film, an early-90s straight-to-video sci-fi knock off, and a truly dire 90s trash apocalypse film. Unfortunately I don’t think any of them are really that entertaining, with the first being the most interesting as an early Van Damme vehicle. I think in the future we’ll have watched more Albert Pyun films and Cyborg will become very relevant to certain Bring a Friend analyses, so it has that going for it. Did it meet my expectations? I’m going to go with no. We did get a sweet split, but I also wish the Van Damme film was a bit more like Timecop in that they trusted JCVD to execute peak JCVD-ness. And I wish the sequel was more of a wild ride as well, but it was pretty boring.
Roast-radamus – I’m liking the Setting as a Character (Where?) for both New York City, Atlanta, and heck, the whole eastern seaboard. Also Boring Post-Apocalypse Hellscape (When?) for a United States which has been destroyed by a plague at some point … I assume in the 90s, it is hard to tell. I love it for the titular MacGuffin (Why?) in that Van Damme is indeed trying to save / protect a cyborg who is attempting to cure the plague using information in her cybernetic brain. I think this is closest to BMT as far as superlatives.
StreetCreditReport.com – There is surprisingly little. I think most of the cred comes from the fact that this film is, in fact, a Masters of the Universe sequel that was adapted into a vague post-apocalyptic film and recast with Van Damme. That’s pretty fun. I also think the connection to Cannon and the insanity that was the bankruptcy of that minor production house gives some interest to the events surrounding the production. Other than that it is probably like top 10 worst wide-release cyborg films ever, so that’s something.
Bring a Friend Analysis – And with any viewing of Cyborg you obviously might as well pop in your VHS copy of Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow starring a very young Angelina Jolie and none other than Jack Palance! This. Film. Is. Bonkers. Is has karate, and cyborgs, and it looks like shit, but then has Billy Drago running around like a lunatic. It dares us to ask: what if the cybernetic beings we create can know love? Anyways, the film is pretty silly with an absolutely atrocious score. There is also the most tenuous of connections with the original Cyborg. Consider: In Cyborg the entire world is plunged into dystopian madness due to a plague that kills off most of the world. By 2074 however (people from the original film could still be alive at this point!!) we’ve not only built society back up, but we’ve managed to perfectly reconstruct the smarmy corporations of late-80s / early-90s America, and we are still (somehow) competing with Japan in the technology sector?! Now that’s a non-sequel if I’ve ever heard it. Jolie and Koteas are pretty fun in their roles, and I love Palance’s weirdo mouth screen nonsense. But the film is sunk just by looking like crap and sagging a ton in the middle. B-. It is only kind of fun as a non-sequel to Van Damme’s Cyborg. Otherwise it is mostly sad. But guess what? I would probably watch it again, just to make sure I genuinely didn’t like it.
You Just Got Schooled – Uh oh, guess what? I watched Cyborg 3: The Recycler! Remember how I said Cyborg 2 was a bit odd because they posit a complete reconstruction of corporate America a mere 75 years after society completely dissolved? Well, turns out that is too expensive for a direct-to-video sequel and we’ve been plunged into a desert-like apocalyptic wasteland again for the final entry in the Cyborg trilogy. Now starring Khrystyne Haje in the Jolie role the film is … well, it really is just kind of about how abortion is wrong? You think I’m joking, but there is a pretty not-so-low-key anti-choice message in this film. Haje learns she’s pregnant with a human child fairly early in the film, but insists that she wants an abortion. Everyone though knows that she should reconsider and that she doesn’t know how much of a miracle this situation is! But luckily, once she sees the face of her child, that motherly instinct kicks in and she chooses to have the child, hoooooooray! Anyhoo, beyond that the film looks like shit and is mostly just boring. Malcolm McDowell is fifth billed but in the film for, no joke, five minutes. Richard Lynch is a fine actor, but his face looks weird and he’s a bit too hammy for my taste. It only really starts once they meet the guy from Gremlins. Even then I just felt like I was wasting my time, both of the previous entries are loads better. C-.