Friday, July 6, 2012

#690. Cyborg (1989)

Directed By: Albert Pyun

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Deborah Richter, Vincent Klyn

Tag line: "He's the First Hero of the 21st Century...And He's Our Only Hope"

Trivia: This was the last official theatrical release for Cannon Films after going bankrupt in 1987

I do love a good post-apocalyptic movie. Too bad I didn’t see one. Instead, I watched Cyborg, which I’d actually categorize as a piss-poor post-apocalyptic movie.

OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh. There are things about Cyborg that aren’t so terrible. But the things about it that are far outnumber them.

In a world ravaged by a deadly plague, a small band of survivors in the city of Atlanta are searching for a cure. Believing one exists in New York, they send a cyborg (Dayle Hadden) to retrieve it. Unfortunately, after obtaining the cure, the cyborg is kidnapped by a violent thug named Fender (Vincent Klyn) and his gang of ruffians, who set out for Atlanta to demand a ransom for the cyborg's safe return. But there’s hope for mankind yet in the form of Gibson (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a fighter who lost the only family he ever knew to Fender years ago. With a young straggler (Deborah Richter) accompanying him, Gibson is determined to save the cyborg, and, possibly, the world.

Let’s see…what did I like about Cyborg? Well, for starters, I kinda dug the post-apocalyptic landscape, the tattered streets of New York, lined with trash, rubble, and a few nude dead bodies strung up on a pole. Director Pyun kept this portion of the story convincing, even when the action switched to a wide-open area. From first scene to last, I had no problem believing the film was set in a world that had all but ended. And then, of course, who wouldn’t enjoy watching Mr. Van Damme in one of his earliest flicks, kicking a little ass? Not all of the action sequences work, yet enough of them do to warrant the occasional nostalgia-induced grin.

Which brings me to the film’s shortcomings, and there are definitely more than a handful. How about we start with the basic premise? Perhaps it’s just me, but wouldn’t it be safe to assume anyone left alive by the time this movie’s events take place must already be immune to the plague? Otherwise, they'd have died, right? If this is true, then who exactly is going to benefit from a cure? And why was the so-called cure, which is supposedly very important to mankind, entrusted to the care of a cyborg that, from the looks of it, couldn’t even survive the trip without a little help? Cyborg makes no attempt whatsoever to answer either of these questions. So, having given up on the story, I was afforded the opportunity to sit back and chuckle at the picture’s inept dialogue and horrible acting (alas, another trait of Jean-Claude’s early work: as fun as it was to see him fight, it was equally as painful watching him try to emote).

With that in mind, I'd place Cyborg firmly in the “so bad it’s good” category, because even at its most awful, the movie at least made me smile.


Peter Nielsen said...

I actually like "Cyborg"... even though it is FAR from being a good movie. Or even a decent one at that... It's a guilty pleasure and it's more or less for the exact same reasons you list in your review, Dave.

Sir Phobos said...

Ugh, man, you actually like this one more than I do. I haaaaate it. There are a few funny things, like everything that comes out of the main bad guy's mouth; the number of times characters say "Atlanta"; and that part where a car explodes because a man on fire bumps into it. Other than that...whiff. I gotta disagree about some of the action scenes working. The choreography is pretty asstastic. Oh, another funny part is Van Damme doing the splits above the guy in the sewer. That was awesome.