Cult-Trash-Badass-Cinema -and more…

CYBORG (1988)

Directed by Albert Pyun

Ok, since I just started out writing Reviews, and I have a thousand movies to cover, inevitably the first ones coming to my mind are the ones that left a real impression on me.

You know, the pillars of your cinematic education. Honestly, without Jean Claude Van Damme  I may not have started collecting movies , at all. In 1990, I was way more into comics, drawing like crazy. And yes, i`m not bad at it, after all.

But I got the JCVD virus, after watching Bloodsport, and he became the very center of  my life for a few years to come. My view on him has changed over time, but I still love the early Van Damme movies. I have missed this one in theatres, but I surely abused the hell out of the VHS tapes I had of this movie. It felt like x-mas when I tracked down the uncut english version a bit later. The german VHS was missing a bit of the violence, and the uncut version was a holy grail to me then.

There has been written a lot about this movie, and about it`s director, Albert Pyun.

Some call him a hack, some a genius. For me, he is something inbetween these two.

I don´t read reviews to tell me if a film is any good or not, but to get other people`s opinions on it, their take on things. Nobody can tell me, if I will like a movie or not. The experience itself is too personal. If it was that easy, we all would dress the same and eat the same stuff, too. This movie I cannot describe with phrases like“ well directed“, or „bad acting“. Sure, the acting isn`t Oscar material, and  it is a cheap production etc., etc.. But a film, to me, is more than dissecting different aspects of it.

In the end, the feeling you are left with, is what counts.

Cyborg is a pretty simple revenge and „save the world“ story, like so many others in this genre, or any genre.

That is not the problem here. You rarely expect  brainy content with these kind of films, do you?

So stop complaining about bad acting, Chuck Norris isn`t Shakespeare, either.

The acting gets a back seat in most action movies anyway.

At least in the B-category. I just watched Fist of the North Star with Gary Daniels, and he was atrocious, to say the least. But that didn`t make me push the eject button right away.

My  judgment can wait til the credits roll, most of the time.

Let me assume now, you have seen this film already, since we have 2011, and this came out in 1989.

Van Damme has a presence about him, a certain charme, especially evident  in his younger years. That somehow faded with time. Vincent Klyn, the villain in this movie, also has something special about him, especially  in that costume he got to wear. I liked the costumes, dirty rags, fishnet masks and chains, all that stuff. But considerably toned down, if compared to a lot of gang and post-apocalyptic movies from the eighties. They somehow were believable for  that kind of setting.

Also the weapons, there are no machine guns and bullshit like that, any weapon depot will run out of bullets, sooner or later. Instead, they have air-pressured guns , shooting some kind of darts. Makes sense to me. Also knives and spears or even a mace.

And Van Damme`s  character isn`t  invincible, he  fails numerous times to  kill Fender (Vincent Klyn). And only after decimating the gang one by one and  the portion of extra rage, after  Nady gets killed and Hayley humiliated, makes him put up an inhuman last effort to rid the world of Fender.  Van Damme is the living Rocky- routine of getting beat up badly first, only to come back with inhuman strength and prevail in the end.

Worked pretty well for a while, and we loved him for that, as much as we loved Rocky.

Now, i know that the film was taken away from Pyun in post production, and that his own vision was somewhat different. ( I have the Directors Edition, so I know both sides of the story). While the workprint  of Pyun shows some interesting different takes on the film, and a few scenes I would have kept in there, I really like the theatrical version better.

It still suffers from bad editing , but it is straighter and gives Van Damme the chance to be a real hero.(Which was the most important aspect of the theatrical version, since Cannon aimed for that, as was Van Damme, who worked in the editing room with Sheldon Lettich.)

You gotta give it to Jean Claude, he got involved  very early into shaping his career.

He also was the main force behind the recutting of Bloodsport, as the first version of that film also got rejected and almost buried. We have to thank Sheldon Lettich and Van Damme, that we have Bloodsport , as we know it, at all.

I also like the score of Cyborg a lot. I read a lot of reviews , where they would call it cheap and bad. I just plain love it. And the eyes and the last roar out of Fender`s mouth strongly suggests, that he too was a Cyborg. But that got never explained somehow. But that`s my take on it. I love the iconc images this movie left in my head, be it Fender, Van Damme on the cross or the final battle in the rain. And the great  fights inbetween. If anything, I would have wanted even more of that. But be it as it is, I love that movie.

There also is something about the cinematography, I suck at describing stuff like that, but there is something awesome about it. Maybe someone with a bigger word pool could help me describe it. I suck at  describing anything technical. Also, the original artwork of the poster, finally a poster that does not  show anything that isn`t in the movie, like so many other artworks  on movie posters, suggesting something better or different, than what you finally see on screen.




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2 responses

  1. I’m right there with you buddy. I love this movie! Score, cinematagrophy, fight scenes, everything. One of Pyun’s best!

    October 28, 2011 at 9:37 PM

  2. But it wasn`t his score…still, the main work of filming of course is his stuff…

    October 28, 2011 at 9:41 PM

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