Van Damme is a cyborg savior. And as the tagline implies he is the first hero of the 21st Century. And he is humanity’s only hope.
Melancholia, sadness, desperation and maybe some suicidal thoughts. This is what is going to haunt you during the entire movie while watching Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg” from 1989, starring the young Hollywood martial arts hope Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Pioneer in the low-grade action genre with such classics as “Kickboxer4: Aggressor”, “Nemesis” and many more, the Hawaii- born director has painted a hypnotizing and surrealistic apocalyptic picture.
Set in the futuristic world of the 21st century, where the world has been destroyed by a deadly plague, the only hope for the humanity is a mercenary called Gibson Rickenbacker whose family was slaughtered by a gang known as the Pirates, led by the vicious Fender.
Driven by egoistic feelings, Fender kidnaps a cyborg- a young female woman who holds precious information about a potential cure for the plague and sends her from New York to Atlanta, where a group of scientists is expecting her in order to create the cure.
The evil Fender wants to have the cure only for him and his gang.
Gibson Rickenbacker is eager to track, find and kill Fender in order to avenge the death of his family and in the meantime to save the world by turning over the cyborg to the scientists.
Initially, the leading role almost went to the action superstar Chuck Norris but the production studio insisted that the part of the hero would better fit the unknown by the time martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme.
As we already know, no funny action movie would be an interesting enough action movie without the presence of a hot female supporting role.
That is why Deborah Richter (“Charlie’s Angels”, 1976) was hired to play Nady Simmons-Gibson’s sidekick and main admirer.
The role of the villain went to the professional and scary looking surfer Vincent Klyn (“Nemesis”, 1992, “Point Break, 1991). His dreadful looks are making him perfect for playing sinister characters.
I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t prefer to meet him in a park at night. He is one of those actors who look so convincing on the screen that one starts to believe that he is a sadistic psychotic murderer in the real life.
THIS IS A FUNNY ACTION MOVIE BECAUSE:
“Cyborg” is a low- budget ($500 000, if you are so curious) sci-fi action drama with plenty of good moments. By good, I mean hilarious and entertaining.
Before seeing the movie, a friend of mine said that only a cyborg deprived of emotions and with an artificial brain would endure the entire movie but once the final credits started to roll he was super happy that he had watched it.
Set in an apocalyptic mood, with a bizarre dialogue and slow at some parts, the film is a bit different from a regular action movie.
One can even say that it concentrates more on the drama than on the action but it is not entirely true.
It contains several spectacular and fun to watch action scenes. For example, the final one on one fight scene between Gibson and Fender is really impressive and can make you laugh.
Jean-Claude and Vincent Klyn are fighting each other like retarded savages, screaming, shouting and moaning, naked in the rain- the ultimate muscular fitness models.
Would you please enlighten me how the heck is it possible for one to have such a shaped and ripped body given the fact that the entire world has been destroyed?
Who knows, maybe only the Gold’s Gym is intact and between saving the world and searching for salvation, there is enough time to do some bench press reps and to drink high-quality whey protein shakes. Sure, it can happen.
The movie has its mandatory clichés like for instance the death of the bad guy. When you think that he is stone dead and our hero turns his back and walks away hobbling, the vicious villain arises behind him roaring and attacking him again. Only to be beaten harder than before.
The Belgium martial arts star has only a few lines during the entire movie so his acting is not as awful as it could have been.
It is amusing to watch the sad, thoughtful look in his eyes, present in almost every scene. Gibson Rickenbacker is so introvert and depressed, that he ends up refusing sex to Nady, shortly after they took a bath in the sea. What a gentleman!
All the actors in the movie and the decors look like taken from some cheap 80’s disco band and it is hard to remember for another movie with worse acting.
Nevertheless, the action scenes are pretty decent and “Cyborg” is a great way for Jean-Claude Van Damme to show off his stunning martial arts skills.
Despite his huge commercial success (grossing more than $10 million at the box-office), the critics heavily panned the movie.
They also gave negative reviews to the followed sequels- “Cyborg 2” (1993) starring Elias Koteas and Angelina Jolie and “Cyborg 3: The Recycler” starring Malcolm Mcdowell.
But the critics can talk to the hand because both movies are so bad that end up being good and extremely entertaining.
Hypnotic, slow and apocalyptic, “Cyborg” is a fun film to watch and to enjoy one of Van Damme’s earliest attempts to be noticed in Hollywood.
Sometimes you wonder what is going on and what is the purpose of all that, but once you see the fighting scenes, the strange cinematography and the bizarre characters you start to think “Hey, it is just a cheap and funny action movie. Enjoy but don’t try to go on a quest for any logic.”
The DVD with the extended director’s cut includes some cool alternative scenes and a different ending. You might want to check it out.
Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below. What do you think about the movie?
Was it a step forward for The Muscles From Brussels or rather a backward step on his path to the Hollywood action summit?