1989 · Cannon Pictures
Cyborg — Movie Review by Karthik
4 out of 10
Directing Credits
Albert Pyun
Writing Credits
Written by Kitty Chalmers
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vincent Klyn, Deborah Richter, Dayle Haddon, Alex Daniels, Rolf Muller

The Review

In the future, New York City has become a wasteland, and a plague is causing much suffering among the remaining population.  There is a group of scientists in Atlanta, though (supposedly the last scientists on Earth), and they have a chance at finding a cure for the plague.  For that, Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon), a cyborg, has been sent to New York to retrieve some important data.  But her guide is killed off by Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn), and now he wants to take her to Atlanta himself, so that he can have the cure all for himself, and thereby control the world.

But there is hope for the world still, in the form of a "slinger" (a futuristic sounding term for a lone warrior) - Gibson Rickenbacker (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who has a personal score to settle with Fender (Fender killed off his family).  Gibson and a woman, Nady Simmons (Deborah Richter) have to track Fender and stop him, and save the cyborg, in this violent movie.

Now there are more bad things than good to be said about this movie, so I'll start off with my criticisms first, and end the review on a positive note.  I thought all the names of the characters were strange (Rickenbacker?), and that's because they're all named after electric guitars and associated equipment.  The movie has a thin story, and unfortunately in my opinion it was not handled well at all (atleast American Cyborg: Steel Warrior was better).  Now though New York and Atlanta are shown as bombed-out wastelands, there's apparently plenty of rather nice-looking green fields, etc. on the way, as we see in several of the places where this movie is staged.  For a time, this movie was actually sort of interesting, but pretty soon (after the "cyborg" is kidnapped by Fender) it became slow moving and I was totally uninterested in the story, and watching it only for the action scenes.  I thought the character of Nady Simmons was particularly irritating and badly acted as well.  And then there's the screenplay with some ridiculous, pretentious sounding dialogues (examples a little later).  This movie also was one where I felt there was actually bad editing - there was one scene where Nady was in the middle of a road, and the next time we see her (some seconds later) she's somewhere else.  The movie seemed like basically some action sequences joined together with no proper fluidity.

After a certain point, I started writing down the stupid sounding dialogues and situations (to me, atleast).  Some of them are presented below.  The first time the cyborg meets Van Damme, we see some "graphics" in her eyes, and then she says "I can trust you".  Nady Simmons speaks to Gibson lines like "I like scars. Really.", "If you let me help you, you can help me."  After a fight, she also says "You're really good at this!" and then a little later adds, "Do you ever get used to it?  Killing I mean."  The worst part was when Gibson tells her to stay in one place while he goes to check something out.  Of course she doesn't and there's a long fight scene.  After this, with a sheepish grin-like expression on her face, she says "I guess I should have stayed put, huh?" - this was extremely funny to me.  Pearl Prophet was also chosen for her "mission" - to become a cyborg and all that, because of her "Matrix Engineering" background or something like that.  Finally, this bit of dialogue sounded both pretentious and funny: "Strange. But I feel HE's the real cure for this world!"

The music in the movie (by Kevin Bassinson) is OK I guess but it was a bit too obtrusive and got repititive.  The bad guys in the movie (Fender's army, you could say) seemed like simply a bunch of dimwitted and badly dressed people.  Since the movie is called Cyborg, I was expecting some, well, cyborg kind of stuff to be liberally placed in it.  Before I saw the movie, I thought, maybe the villain was a cyborg?  Maybe he had an army of cyborgs?  Van Damme's character, was he a cyborg himself?  None of these things are true - the only cyborg in the movie is this woman, and there was actually no particular reason for her character being a cyborg except so that the movie could be given it's present title.  There is one special effects sequence though, where she peels part of her head backwards to reveal some electronics.  I know the effects people did put in some work into this, but unfortunately it looked bad, and cheap.  The "special effects face" in this sequence looks unnatural and totally different from the actress's real face.  Ultimately the worst thing about the movie in my opinion was Van Damme's absolutely horrendous looking hair in the flashback sequences - for some reason I found that particularly repulsive.

The only reason you'd want to watch this movie, in my opinion, is because it has some nice fight sequences.  They're quite strongly violent though, which might be a bad thing if you don't like that kind of stuff.  But for action fans, I think that is what will have the most appeal.  They're nicely done.  Vincent Klyn as the villain Fender, I have mixed feelings about.  In some scenes he made an effective, creepy looking villain.  But others, like the ones where he was yelling like a small kid bullying someone (GWRAAAAAH!!!), made me laugh.  And Van Damme was quite OK in this movie, I think.  Actually I get the feeling he didn't have a lot of real acting to do, other that fight, scream in pain or mostly stare.  But I think he acted his part quite nicely overall and was probably the best thing in the movie (if you forgive the horrendous hair in the flashback sequences - thankfully it's only in the flashbacks) other than the action scenes.  There are also some nice looking shots (if you take them individually), like the crucifixion scene and the last fight sequence in the rain.  I guess this movie might be worth a look if you're curious to see what a generally bad movie with some good action scenes is like.

Other Notes

This movie was supposedly planned as a sequel to Masters of the Universe before it changed drastically and ended up as the current movie.  Also, due to the strong violence, TV prints of this movie are almost always severely cut.  I saw this on TV, that explains the often jerky transitions.  Also, since I was remarking about the editing of the movie, I later looked at the credits the next time it was shown on TV to see who edited the movie.  There's no editor credited in the opening titles!  And unless I'm mistaken, no editing credit is listed at the Internet Movie Database either.

More Details

Running Time: 86 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Action

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 6 Jun 03
Recent Comments
Recent Posts
Latest Doom Map
Dark Fate 2 — a Doom II map by Karthik Abhiram

Dark Fate 2 is a singleplayer level for Doom II, replacing MAP01.  It's a small-sized hellish level — and there's a walkthrough video as well.

Popular Videos
Other Destinations
Favourite Posts
Some Statistics
  • news posts two · 173
  • news posts one · 301
  • comments · 1168
  • drawings · 77
The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

Email: karthik82 -AT- gmail -DOT- com
orkut profile
Facebook profile
YouTube channel
deviantART page
Google Reader Shared Items

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are purely my own.

Warning: This site occasionally contains profanity.

Creative Commons License