Jean-Claude Van Damme. It was an unknown name to me prior to The Expendables 2. Even then, I said, “Who?”
As someone who is still widening their tastes in the fields of movies, television, music and literature, it seems only fair to investigate these names from cinema’s anthology, to view every kind of film and lay in concrete what is suitable for me and what is clearly not.
I will get to the award-worthy films that have skipped past me the last few years, but I also find myself enjoying laying back, easing my nerves and watching a film try to win me over, even when the deck seems dealt against them. It gives me an odd sense of satisfaction.
1989’s Cyborg was not one of these films, nor was it an award-worthy film. It was not a genre-defying film or a “so bad, it’s good” film. It was an atrocious audacity that violated basic human rights.
I wanted to burst out in a fit of agony, Albert Pyun’s piece is so derelict. Heinously irresponsible in his directing and storytelling, Pyun’s Cyborg features many replicas to Van Damme’s first film, Bloodsport, which I watched recently. There is a scene in Bloodsport where Van Damme’s eyes are caught by a samurai sword and we flashback to when he first saw it. Then the camera retreats back to Van Damme’s gaze before returning back to the flashback. This sequence of events is taken verbatim from that film and thrust into Cyborg in the opening stage, a gross example of material stealing.
There is close to no background information volunteered. A plague has decimated the world, or so we’re told, but we will see no instance of the plague’s destructive capabilities aside from a brief moment where we see someone struck with boils. How the plague is transmitted or what you do to avoid it is never stated or brought up. You would think that a fear of contracting this lethal animal would lead to certain precautions for our characters, but you would be wrong.
In a world where the plague is not feared by our characters, which is probably a leading factor in the world’s now declining population, you can turn people into cyborgs. The person who undergoes this operation so that she can retrieve data in New York that could lead to a cure is called Pearl Prophet.
Originality, creativity and imagination are three of the leading qualities you should look for if you ever have the need to hire a screenwriter. If I hired a screenwriter and they presented that name to me, I would fire them on the spot.
This person is also not our main character, but the film will be entitled Cyborg for reasons unknown. Deeper into the grave Pyun goes.
Naturally, there are a group of ravenous thugs who enjoy murder and general lunacy and will provide the insanity and tension that Pyun requires. Rather than controlled barbarianism, chaos is the order of business and at the same time, not. Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn) leads a pack of seemingly uncontrollable butchers but they will follow orders when the script demands them to.
That is but one of Cyborg‘s irreparable flaws. At no point does Cyborg become a desecrated world overflowing with psychosis and unhinged madness. It is a rabid monstrosity on a leash, which naturally diminishes the fear and realism such a beast would create. Animalism is not created to be controlled nor can it be, but I assure you Pyun will do that because he wants to. At many points, I felt Pyun wanted to mimic the pure hysteria that George Miller created with Mad Max. While Mad Max does not hold much fancy for myself, there’s no denying Miller’s perhaps perturbing ability to create natural delirium. Evidenced by Cyborg‘s ineptitude and all too-structured story, Pyun did not read any dark literature or visit films now famous for said quality. The fool thought he’d just do it.
Such incompetence is unconditionally idiotic. The deepest fires of my soul raged in fury during all of Cyborg‘s eternity-feeling 82 minutes knowing that. Every cell in my body bubbled with abhorrence and every muscle tightened with angst. What vile disregard for storytelling, characters and general entertainment!!!
So Albert Pyun had better never step foot in front of me or I will deliver a tirade with no boundaries and verbally abuse him in a way he never dreamed of.
Of course, with Cyborg as evidence, I could probably throw farther than he could think.
The music beds constructed for this film are ceaselessly repetitive and strike disconcerting chords again and again. Its pique will arouse conniption and resonate a toddler’s tantrum only less pleasant, which I assure you is humanly possible. It is one of the worst soundtracks I’ve ever heard and what’s worse is that Pyun enjoys it. Rather than write some decent dialogue, more insufferable beds will be shifted under scenes of characters staring or sharpening knives. The composition of these sounds reaches such putrid limits and the dialogue so caveman-esque you want to watch Cyborg on mute. You probably wouldn’t miss anything. The story is toddler simple in its basic form and the subplots are so unbelievable they accrue no care or interest. In yet another Van Damme film, the writers attempt yet another forced, futile romance. Bloodsport, Cyborg and Kickboxer were Van Damme’s first three films and all three carry over this vain ploy. Cyborg‘s is the most forlorn and pitiful, although pitiful is the wrong word because it is far beyond my pity. How about fruitless?
Speaking of death, how about the dialogue? All three of Van Damme’s first three films had stretches of subpar to terrible dialogue, but Cyborg beats them all. Van Damme’s character, who will remain nameless for the majority of the film, is void of emotion. He’s bent on revenge, or so we’re told but runs idle for all of the film, making the subplot that any woman would be interested in him all the more despairing. Van Damme was told to play a terminator with less life than Schwarzenegger or had no cares saved for this production. Every line of dialogue, no matter how minute, is delivered like it weighs more than Moby Dick. There is no argument as to why this is but the exacerbated pronunciation never leaves. Pyun welcomes an anchor composed of nuisances with open arms. He welcomes pain and gift wraps if for the audience that was misguided enough to try to view this. He is a sick man.
The acting isn’t any better. It’s all awful. Vincent Klyn plays Fender and has these overly bright blues eyes that look artificial. I can’t believe that’s his natural eye color. Rather than intimidating, Fender is a raving clown. His best dialogue is inarticulate roars.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable Guy, The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Sentinel, Mad Max: Fury Road, Blitz, The Punisher, Drive Hard)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (The Lost Boys, Zombeavers, Crank, Erased, I, Frankenstein)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Centurion, Planet of the Apes, Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice)
20-29 What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Boy Next Door, The Colony, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, The Grey, X-Men: Days of Future Past)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Outcast, Sabotage, Gallowwalkers, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Safe)
My score for Cyborg: 14.
This movie undoubtedly belongs in the darkest crevices of Satan’s realm. Its comeuppance for one of the worst of all-time is well-deserved and then some. There are multiple plot holes, like Van Damme and his lady friend traveling from New York to Atlanta on foot and beating Fender and his gang there. Fender and his gang took a steam boat and had at least a five-hour head start. There’s the chase scene through the sewers that goes on forever with running and lots of yelling. There’s Van Damme being beaten to a pulp by Fender. After being crucified for at least 12 hours, he gets free and the screenwriters say Van Damme beats Fender and his gang to Atlanta after Fender got a half-day head start. There are more but you know what? I’m done. Cyborg is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen and I’m not spending a second more of my time on this nuclear waste.