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HALL OF FAMEon June 4, 2004
I hope you will forgive me when I tell you I have a crushing headache as I write this review. Why? Because I devoted several hours of this sunny day thinking about not one, but two, of Albert Pyun's films. Pondering the importance of "Ticker" and "Cyborg" to the cinematic world wore me out in ways I would not think possible. Pyun, if you are not familiar with his oeuvre, constructed his B movie credentials by releasing such classics as "The Sword and The Sorcerer," "Nemesis," "Mean Guns," and "Postmortem." He's a hack's hack in the hack world of zero budget schlock. Not to pound you over the head with it, but watching a Pyun film often resembles in no little way craning your head out the window to see that car accident on the freeway. Initially, you are intrigued by what you might see only to realize later how low you feel as a human being for looking at scenes of abject horror. Ok, I am exaggerating slightly. "Cyborg," the 1989 film that launched the dubious career of Jean-Claude Van Damme, is one of Pyun's better efforts. In fact, it is one of the few movies in his canon I can watch on a regular basis and not feel too badly about it the next day.
Here's another film dealing with life in a post-apocalyptic world. Gibson Rickenbacker (Van Damme) arises from the ruins to play the part of a Good Samaritan. He tries to help survivors of a plague flee from the ruined cities to the countryside, hopefully so they can reconstruct some semblance of a normal life. Rickenbacker, as the hero, of course has an unpleasant memory of one of his missions. He tried to save a family and ended up falling in love with a woman. You don't need me to spell out what happened next. Ever since this unfortunate incident, Gibson struggles with what he should do next. When he runs into a woman named Pearl Prophet (Dale Haddon), a cyborg attempting to carry a cure for the plague back to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, he must decide whether to resume the role of hero. Why not take part in helping Pearl carry the antidote? This mission could turn Rickenbacker into the savior of the world. Unfortunately for Rickenbacker and Pearl, Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn), a scary looking dude with weird eyes and a mechanical voice, and his gang of like-minded cyborgs have their own ideas. They think if they can capture Pearl and get her to Atlanta, they will control the future of the world.
When Prophet falls into the hands of Tremolo's gang, Rickenbacker decides to get her back. With the help of a mouthy young lady he picks up along the way named Nady Simmons (Deborah Richter), Gibson lurches from one violent confrontation to another. Thugs fall to the ground like leaves as the two pursue Tremolo with malevolent intent. Numerous showdowns in burnt out and broken down buildings provide Pyun and Van Damme with plenty of opportunities to showcase martial arts madness. Kicks, punches, and blunt and sharp instruments-anything you can think of that will cause damage to a human or cyborg body finds a use in this movie. And for the most part Pyun carries off the action well, much better than he has in many of his other movies. You are surprised that you actually root for this guy who speaks English like he just walked off a boat. Before feelings of giddiness carry you away, however, you need to reconcile yourself with a few of the cheesy aspects of the movie. Nearly all of the characters are named after musical instruments, the outfits look like the film crew robbed a New Wave band's wardrobe closet, and the dialogue tends towards the insipid. Still, "Cyborg" entertains as few Pyun films do.
"Cyborg" works largely due to the gritty, blasted urban background that the characters move through. It is here, in the ruins of civilization, where most of the action takes place. Moreover, the picture quality of the film (probably as a result of poor film stock) has a dirty look to it, which actually gives the movie a better, more realistic atmosphere. I even thought Pyun tried to inject a philosophical statement in the film (yeah, right) when we see Rickenbacker staked to that ship's mast. Is Gibson a Christ figure "rising" from the grave to help save the world? Maybe, but I'm probably reading more into "Cyborg" than the director intended. Sure, the acting could be better-lots better-and the fight scenes are a little over the top, but why else would you watch this movie? You don't expect Oscar performances and you don't get them. What you do get is an entertaining way to spend eighty plus minutes (the movie doesn't run for even an hour and a half).
The DVD version is strictly bare bones. If memory serves me correctly, the only extra on this disc was a trailer. Too bad, but a bit surprising considering this is officially a cult classic. It's interesting to note that none other than Cannon, the company that released TONS of low budget action flicks in the 1980s, helped fund this effort. Charles Bronson benefited from Cannon's attentions back then, so why not Van Damme? I recommend "Cyborg" not only to fans of action films, but even to fans of science fiction since the movie takes a stab at incorporating both elements under one umbrella. Is it intelligent cinema? Nope, but who says it needs to be?
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on December 25, 2005
Restore it? Why?!

I like the death

I like the MISERY

I LIKE THIS WOOORRRRRRRLLLLLDDD!!!

this movie rocks!.. it has some AWESOME fight scenes, really well done. They may not be overly skillful (i don't even think Van Damme is an overly skillful martial artist unlike Jet Li, Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee) But he has the ability to make his fight scenes just "look" so damn cool!

There are so many "cool" moments in this film

eg.

-Van Damme does the splits between 2 walls and waits for one of the pirates to walk under him, before killing him with his kickass knife

-Van Damme and one of the pirates eye each other off from a distance in a factory.. then run full pelt at each other screaming, then engage in an awesome knife fight (cool use of slow-mo too)

-the first appearance of Van Damme in the film is basically just a shot of his leg out of nowhere executing an awesome roundhouse kick to the face of the bad guys (soo cool)

and so many more quality scenes
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VINE VOICEon August 30, 2008
The Jean Claude Van Damme Review Matrix (JCVD-RM)

1.Who is he? Gibson Rickenbacker, a post-apocalyptic fighter who helps people affected by the plague
2.Which family member/friend must be avenged? His entire family was murdered
3.Does he take his shirt off? Yes, in the rain.
4.Does he have sex with a C-List actress? Yes, some cute brunette (Dayle Hadden)
5.Is there a tournament? No, just a battle for survival
6.Is training needed for this tournament? No tournament here, but judging by how badly he beats down the enemy lackeys, it doesn't appear that training is needed.
7.Does he do the splits in training or in the tournament? Several times
8.Does he punch someone in the balls? No, but he engages in a little five-on-two grab move during one fight
9.Does he do a series of flying or 360 kicks? Constantly
10.Is his enemy unbeatable? Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn) is a cyborg who has nearly glowing eyes and a robotic voicebox similar to that of a tracheotomy patient. He also has a gang of cyborgs at his disposal.
11.Does he overcome an injury or other hindrance? Yes, at one point he literally gets crucified
12.Does he win? Despite the fact that he's absolutely pummeled by Fender, and a car door, he somehow manages to win via meat hook.

Perhaps the most violent of JCVD's flicks, the action in this one is pretty good. The fight sequences are a little choppy at times, with the mega-pause between hits, but overall the choreography is solid. A few gory scenes are a bit of a shocker, specifically the crucifixion scene. Amidst the post-apocalyptic setting, however, everything seems oddly appropriate for a movie approaching B-Movie status. Classic JCVD, it's great.
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on November 27, 2005
the more i see this movie,the more i enjoy it.its one of those movies that never get old.

canniballistic pirates,sword-slinging heroes,and one info-gathering cyborg.all set in a mad-max like future.

the villain (fender) is as original as they come,covering his insanely white eyes behind a mask of silver-lenses.resoundingly demonic as he curses at everyone he meets,and occasionally stopping to philosophise on the world or rant out morbid comedy.

the hero on the other hand is hellbent on destroying fender at any price after costing him his family.he couldn't care less about what is going on in the outside world,what with an apparent plague sweeping it.he just wants to rip open his arch-nemesis.and with the many styles of blades in this barbaric thrill-ride,there are various ways to do it.

more steel than bullets in this film,for the true weapons-afficianado,and loads of martial arts kicking whoop-ass,since its essentially the"Dammage's"movie.

yes,its a western,an eastern,and medieval as all getout.

not many action/fantasy movies take place on the shores of the east coast,and since i live close to that area,it makes this film all the more enjoyable.if you are into post nuclear wasteland warrior movies,like steeldawn,or beowulf,you will enjoy this.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 8, 2012
Post apocalyptic movies always tend to be a mixed bag for several reasons. Since you can build the sets on a low budget it seems just about everyone has tried to make a movie set in a wasteland, and end up making a weak film. So here's another post apocalyptic film. Now this one seems to have a look and feel that's a cut above most of them, however it ends up having not much more to offer. It has the good stuff technically, but the script is rather basic, the characters are two dimensional, and there just isn't enough to truly stand out as one of the great wasteland movies.

The premise is interesting enough and it does get the movie started on the right direction. The problem is it doesn't really get any deeper than what you find out in the first 20 minutes or so. All the movie does is have Rickenbacker (Van Damme) run around chasing after the bad guys, getting into fights with them repeatedly. Sure they try to put an emotional slant with Rickenbacker's past and how it ties together with what's going on, and yes it does offer some depth to the story. But ultimately it doesn't do much to really be considered a strong back story. Even more disappointing is the fact the cyborg the movie is named after hardly does a thing at all besides being the hostage everybody wants. Kind of misleading if you ask me.

What gives Cyborg its graces are two things: some of the directing and some of the fight scenes. Jean Claude Van Damme is of course known for his martial arts movies so of course you get some pretty impressive fight scenes. Though none of it would be considered a strong caliber of choreography you still get some decent action. I will give director Albert Pyun some credit for taking what he had and giving it a polished look. Cinematography, camera angles, lighting, they all definitely set Cyborg apart from your standard B-movie type post apocalypse movie and kick it up to A-caliber status on production values alone. Unfortunately the rest of the movie wasn't as well done.

The acting is serviceable and works well enough, but isn't anything to write home about. The main bad guy looks really awesome and intimidating. I was hoping he was a cyborg too just because of the fact he looked so cool and was so amoral. The problem is the character doesn't go anywhere aside from wanting everybody to suffer. This sort of limited character depth hurts the movie's virtues. If they did more with these characters other than have them fight all the time there could have been a better movie coming out of this.

This new Blu-Ray release does sport the best visual quality I have seen for this movie, but don't expect a crystal clear an perfect picture. You don't get the really deep blacks that you see in more recent releases. I don't know if that's because of the nature of the cinmatography at the time or if not enough effort was spent on the remastering. Still this is as clear a picture as I have ever seen for this movie. The apect ratio is 1.85:1, and I hear you may or may not get the black bars depending on your set up. It's one of those disks that, for lack of a better term, I call semi-animorphic (looked fine on my 52"). The best I can say for the audio is that it's clean, and that's worth something. You have a 2 channel stereo 24 bit DTS-HD master track, which is the best sound you will ever get. I'm glad they didn't try to convert the audio into 5.1 surround and stuck with the original audio channels. That's the English track, but there is also a monophonic dolby digital track in French (subtitles in English and Spanish).

Martial arts fans might like this movie as long as they expect merely good fight scenes and not great ones. Van Damme fans will definitely like this one as he does get a chance to play a character different than any other he has done before or since. If you like post apocalyptic movies I supposed it's 50/50 for you. The wasteland concept is there and they establish it, but it doesn't fill you with that atmosphere like The Road Warrior or The Postman. To be honest this is a 50/50 shot for most of you. It really depends on what how good you want a movie before you turn away. Cyborg isn't really bad, but it's borderline weak.
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on July 26, 2014
Yes, it's B-grade, 80's, post-apocalyptic cliché-ridden action/adventure but confound it all.... it's got Jean-Claude's gravity-defying, eye-candy martial arts against a host of smooth-shaven, well-oiled bodybuilder types and not to mention a ridiculously cute costar (with a pouty cat mouth) and some fairly thoughtful dialogue (for the genre). Okay, so not much going on in this film besides the bad guys trying to get a cyborg to Atlanta while the hero tries to do the same, some great fight sequences (minus the gratuitous repeat shots), a sort of "Once Upon a time In the West" revenge sub-plot, Jean-Claude is captured and crucified at one point (I think maybe the initials went to his head a bit), not much in the way of acting but the characters are memorable and entertaining nevertheless (the villain does luv to reveal his creepy blue contacts).

I wish Amazon had this available in HD streaming cuz SD is a bit blurry but all that aside, "Cyborg" is an engaging action flick than leans more towards fantasy than sci-fi with a more Euro than Socal feel and (in my opinion) definitely one of Van Damme's better films. :o)
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on August 1, 2015
Is it a crime to like this movie? If so, then I stand proudly convicted. "Cyborg" is one of action icon's Jean-Claude Van Damme's earliest efforts, but takes him out of the martial arts arenas of "Kickboxer" and "Bloodsport" and into the apocalyptic future. Set in a wasteland where a plague has reduced America to near-barbarism, the last hope for a cure waits in Atlanta. The cyborg of our title is headed there, but is captured en route by the evil Fender, a nomadic warlord who likes the savage place the world has become and wants the cure for himself. Van Damme is a mercenary with an old score to settle with Fender, and it's up to him to rescue the cyborg and make sure the cure stays out of Fender's hands.

Often coldly maligned by critics and even Van Damme fans, "Cyborg" is actually highly enjoyable. True, it is very much a b-movie, but that's not always a bad thing. The film's budget was obviously minuscule, but director Albert Pyun does a good job with what he has and creates an interesting world of chaos and mayhem for our story to unfold within. Some of his directorial touches are also rather creative, and the action choreography, if unsophisticated, is very well done and frequently hard-hitting. Van Damme is still a bit raw as an actor at this point in his career, but even so he has the charisma that has made him one of the biggest action stars in movie history and has no trouble capturing viewer interest as the enigmatic Gibson. Deborah Richter is attractive and appealing as Gibson's female sidekick, and Dayle Haddon is a suitable semi-damsel in distress as the titular cyborg who falls into Fender's diabolical clutches. Vincent Klyn really seems to enjoy playing Fender, and chews the scenery with gusto every chance he gets. Klyn's Fender is a psychotic escapee from Mad Max, rotten to the core and a one of those villains you really love to hate. His showdown with Gibson is brutal and highly satisfying.

Low-budget as it may be, Cyborg is highly enjoyable. It's never boring, with lots of visceral action and an interesting setting. While I admit it's no action classic, it's certainly more entertaining than many big-budget productions that have been generally better received. Fans of dystopian action will probably find a lot to like in Cyborg, as will fans of Van Damme or director Pyn. If not a masterpiece, Cyborg is at least a satisfying b-movie adventure that holds up to multiple viewings.
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on February 21, 2015
DVD Review: MGM version. Yay! It plays.

Movie Review: You have to be in the right mood to enjoy this movie but that will take an act of God for that to be accomplished. Though the action and post-apocalyptic elements are cool, the pacing is slow as hell and the story is moronic.

Conclusion: 4 stars for the DVD and 2 1/2 for the movie.
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on December 4, 2012
Blue-ray picture was way better than I expected. I've seen the film at least a dozen times in other forms, but was surprised to notice details in the film I never noticed before. Only thing wrong with the blue-ray........ No Extras!
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on May 11, 2006
Funny how people write and say how aweful this movie is--they apparently aren't fans. This movie is exactly what a fan would expect to seen--lots and lots of martial arts and fighting. Think of this movie as a post-apocalyptic Bloodsport. This movie is a pure '80's cult movie. If you are looking for Oscar caliber acting and screenwriting, you are looking in the wrong place--Van Damme movies have never been intended for that and never will be.

Plot - C

A very overused post-apocalyptic plot is used where most of society is dying (or is already dead) from a plague and those that aren't dying are either searching for a cure or have resorted to barbarian-like creatures who rape and pillage every little town or city they come to. Enter Van Damme. He plays Gibson who is a freelance mercenary type who is payed to escort people through the city. He encounters the Flesh Pirates who are lead by a menacing leader named Fender. The cure to the plague has been placed into a cyborg (hence the name) and through a chance encounter, Gibson must escort her to Atlanta (which is apparently the headquarters of humanity--at least for the U.S.). Along the way, Gibson meets a female mercenary and they have a brief interlude. She claims to be a able to help Gibson, but really interfers with his progress (the typical damsel in distress). As he jouneys with the Cyborg, he has flashbacks of the life he used to lead before his life was shattered by a tragedy. With the Flesh Pirates after the cyborg (because apparently they don't want humanity cured) and Van Damme protecting her, it is a constant struggle to get the cyborg to Atlanta.

Van Damme is actually very convincing as the reluctant hero. He has hardly any dialogue in the movie, yet is able to express a range of emotions through expressions and actions (something very good for someone who is always being accused of having no acting ability). The fights are very well choreographed and all of the martial arts you would expect can be found in the movie. Perhaps the best fight is at the end in the rain with Gibson versus Fender. This is pure '80's Van Damme.

Acting - C

Van Damme is surprisingly good as Gibson. Though virtually no dialogue, his actions seem to mean more anyways. As for the rest of the cast, I can't say much. Most of it is either very underplayed or overplayed--no happy medium. But if you wanted a drama you wouldn't be watching this movie anyways, right?

Music/Soundtrack - B

It is basically techno-like music, but interestingly enough, it works quite well in this movie and embarrassingly I have to admit to owning the soundtrack.

Cinematography - C

Very bleak and apocalyptic. There are lots of deserted locales and marshes and warehouses (filmed in Wilmington, NC--as a NC resident, I can tell you that NC does not look anything like that for the most part). The lighting and camera work for the last fight is very good (it is night time and raining).

DVD - C

No real extras. It has the original trailer and some bio information. It does have a widescreen presentation which is nice. The image transfer is average and the sound is average. A basic DVD all around.

Overall - C

If you want action, it has it. If you want drama, skip it. If you want martial arts and to see Van Damme at his best, buy it. This is a cult movie, pure and simple.
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