Saturday, January 24, 2009


Cyborg 2 (or as it appears to read on the DVD cover, Cyborg Squared)

Goddamn, but this was a piece of shit movie. There is no two ways about it, and sorry for the cussin’.

Standard cheap-ass sci-fi movie plot*: rival corporations that run the world in the future are fighting for something, in this case, to corner the market on cyborgs. (Let’s do some rip-off adding up, shall we? Terminator? Rollerball? Max Headroom? Blade Runner? Check, check, check and check.) The American corporation is called Pinwheel. And their Japanese rivals are Kobayashi. Pinwheel? Pinwheel? That’s the BEST name you could come up with for a robotics company of the future? Yes, that’s how hard this movie tries.

*We know this because at the beginning we get the clich├ęd sci-fi movie cards that EXPLAIN the overly complex idea of this being "the year 2074 and rival corporations rule the world, blah, blah, blah, created cyborgs to be everything from soldiers to hookers, blah, blah, blah." Yeah, I know it would IMPOSSIBLE to thread that information within the film’s intricate narrative, so you HAVE to put it in a title card.

The rip off machine gets dusted off straight away as the opening titles swipe from Blade Runner as the camera moves through a “Hades Landscape” tabletop model complete with jets of fire and, get this, they even ripped off Vangelis’ synth score sound too! But, here’s the odd thing, the buildings look like a Mars base or something - they don’t look like regular or even futuristic skyscrapers, but odd modular “space buildings” with tons of little plastic model kit bits glued all over them, and they’re filmed with a red tint not present in the rest of the film. I know, red tint = Mars, right? They look like they were made for a Total Recall rip-off the producers were planning, but that fell through so they were sandwiched into this movie, because, of course, sci-fi fans don’t care if the miniatures are correct in their movies, just that they’re there. The funny part is the model city doesn’t match up with any of the location work, which consists of several dark, dirty brick-covered alleys, generic industrial factory undergrounds, bland white office building corridors, and the L.A. harbor.

Ten minutes into this stupid thing I was bored to death, ladies and gentledroids. Bored. To. Death. And the movie’s only 99 minutes long**! Not even the promise of an 18 year old Angelina Jolie’s nude scene was enough to keep my interest. And that scene doesn’t come (so to speak) until roughly 75 minutes in! WTF? The plot is excruciatingly slow, with some kind of industrial espionage angle going on, and throughout the whole mess Jack Palance doing a Max Headroom riff popping in and out of TVs and monitors. You never see his whole face on the monitor, just his mouth, and the image has been run through some video distortion, which was supposed to make it look cool, but it only makes it look dumb and cheap. This turns out to be the movie’s mantra.

**Death Row inmates take note: if you want to stretch those last few hours watch movies like Cyborg 2 where every minute feels like 10.

Angelina looks like a life-size Barbie doll version of herself, with her wide, saucer-like eyes, long black hair and perfect complexion. This was one of her very first acting gigs and it shows. Elias Koteas, he of David Cronenberg movies fame, plays her human kung fu coach. Why does a hot girl-bot hooker need a kung fu coach, you ask? Beats me. And I must say Koteas has never looked more like Law & Order: SVU’s Christopher Meloni than he does in this film. Dudes are twins, I tell you, TWINS.

And what is a shitty sci-fi movie without a villain, and no, raspy Jackie P. isn’t the villain here. No, it’s Billy “I’ll do whatever, just give me some menthols” Drago, who has only one good movie on his resume, The Untouchables. I guess when you are in a movie written by David Mamet and Steven Zaillian, directed by Brian DePalma, you bring your A game. When you do a sequel to a movie where the original was directed by Albert Pyun you bring a lunch. And who dressed Billy for this movie? He wears a white puffy shirt, vest and tie that look like they're from a western, a black cloak that he stole out of Professor Van Helsing’s wardrobe, topped off with a hat he bought at Sears. He looks like an idiot. And don’t get me started on his first scene in the movie, where we see him in his underwear and sock garters. Yes, I said sock garters. Believe me, it's worse than it sounds.

Oh, and to the list of movies ripped off by Cyborg 2 add Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome to it, as this movie has a climactic “two men enter, one guy meanders out” scuffle beneath some really small ship’s propellers at the L.A. docks in an area the size of a large closet. It was so riveting I almost lapsed into a coma.

If this movie had only stolen the best parts of the movies it rips off it might have been entertaining, instead it’s a celluloid succubus.

1 comment:

  1. "I guess when you are in a movie written by David Mamet and Steven Zaillian, directed by Brian DePalma, you bring your A game. When you do a sequel to a movie where the original was directed by Albert Pyun you bring a lunch."


    i know you said this movie is BO-RING, but I kinda want to see it now.

    I would love to sit in on a story conference for one of these movies - "oh, yeah - we need to have this in there, and this, and this..." Doesn't anyone have one shred of creative integrity? I mean, even if you have no budget, good ideas, dialogue and characters are cheap.