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Review: Cyborg (1989)

August 2, 2011

Prolly the last of the Pyun movies I care about…when I first saw this in the theater, I just about had a nerdgasm. Quite a lot of style for the budget. IMDB also says that Van Damme was an uncredited editor on the film.

Short synopsis – In the future, cyborg Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon) needs to get to Atlanta and the CDC with the cure to the plague that’s decimated the world. Unfortunately, she runs across evil warlord Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn) who wants the cure for himself. Before getting kidnapped by Fender, Pearl also runs across Gibson Rickenbacker* (Jean-Claude Van Damme) a ‘Slinger (short for gunslinger I imagine) who isn’t interested in saving the world. Fender picks up a Jiminy Cricket / love interest named Nady Simmons (Deborah Richter) who convinces him to rescue Pearl and have a face-off with Fender, who coincidentally happens to be the one who killed Gibson’s adopted family…

It’s obvious that the writer, Kitty Chalmers, had watched a couple of westerns before writing the script. I do like how Chalmers has Pearl willingly choose Fender over Gibson to get to Atlanta because she perceives Fender to be the stronger of the two, and the most likely to get her where she needs to be.

Really love the spoken word intro to this piece – talk about hooking the audience!

and it was a forced recut, says Pyun. Here’s how it was supposed to be.

Sorry – I prefer the first version, the version I saw in the theater.**

Here’s the crucifixion scene from this movie that probably was written into Cyborg by Pyun’s request, seeing how well it went over in Sword and the Sorcerer…

Little more interesting here due to the set design.

Again, Pyun seems to be a master at wringing every dollar out of a low budget. it feels bigger than one would think, due to some creative use of locations…

They got a lot of mileage out of that abandoned factory, simply because it’s big and interesting to look at. The rusty old boat Fender commandeers the same. (above clip is from a purported director’s cut – that’s fine, it illustrates my point.)

Another thing that made the film seem bigger: camera moves, rather than quick cutting constantly, as do may action films nowadays. Lets you get a sense of geography about what’s happening in the fight. Also lets you see how important a good second unit director plays in a decent action film.

Recommended – look for it in a used DVD joint or Netflix.

*Love these names!

** I have to wonder – is the version of something (a song, a movie) you originally saw always going to be the version you prefer, even if the original author tells you the version you experienced was wrong or flawed somehow?

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