CYBORG. Apocalypse? Just bring it on!
Sunday couch potatoing, suddenly a text message: “We’re bunkering down!” – sender: Gibbon, who is a 40-kilogram missing link with arms the same length as his legs. I hadn’t seen the madman since college, a hardcore psychonaut cultivating his own strains of psilocybin (we’ll talk about how drugs are bad in another installment of the series), he picked up his diploma and hitchhiked across Europe. Just before the border, he was hit by an old Zaporozhets and cleaned out of cash. Then he went off the grid. Before I could ask what he’d been up to all these years and how he got my number, he unleashed like a minigun: Mayans (thankfully not Martians), the end of the world, lizard people, chariots of the gods, virtual zombies… in short, a biblical-scale apocalypse.
I tell Gibbon I’m out because I’ve got a grind at work, and the end of the world doesn’t fit into my schedule – besides, corporations don’t care about the apocalypse, and if I start acting up, my holiday bonus will go down the drain. Gibbon stands firm, saying he’s gathering his old buddies and bunkering down in the basement: a ton of potatoes, a hundred jars of pickled cucumbers (no scurvy for him), three jugs of homemade wine, and four air rifles with laser sights – just in case of an attack by mutated nutjob ninja. Whatever happens, he’s ready – him and his last bastion!
I really tried to talk some sense into the guy. The Mayans couldn’t predict the end of their own civilization, and now they’re giving us deadlines? Besides, in the age of the internet, the end of the world happens about once a week, every occasion is a good one. So, personally, I set a date for December 25th because the day before, my advent calendar ends, you know, the nymph Goplana doesn’t make mistakes – Vaya Con Dios, Gibbon, see you on the other side, now I have a review to write.
However, the paranoia of the simpleton did serve some purpose because I realized, what could be better during this festive season than a few words about some post-apocalyptic trash. The choice was simple, Jean-Claude Van Damme is a true veteran of the VHS era, and first, I hadn’t tackled any of his movies before, and second, the guy has an absolute post-apocalyptic classic with a tasty title, Cyborg. This was supposed to be a light viewing and a mandatory positive review because I had some really good memories associated with this movie. It had it all: a world after an unspecified disaster, a plague, a savage gang with a psychotic leader, and a few fight scenes from the ultimate kicker of the 80s. Sounds like a production worth having in your home collection, doesn’t it?
Wrong! (just like Arnie in Terminator), because this movie is a solid piece of junk. My first doubts arose with the director’s name. Albert Pyun – the mastermind behind unforgettable classics like early Captain America, the Nemesis series and one of the finest VHS butchers – this man’s work deserves its own article, more like its own section on our website. I must admit I wasn’t really prepared for this viewing, no beer in the fridge, no gin and tonic – you know what I mean. I thought I would accept the movie without hesitation. But since I stepped into the ring, I shouldn’t be surprised I got a fist to the face. Already halfway through the movie, I had to rescue myself with a Siberian mad dog (6% vinegar + ketchup), and the finish took place with the bottle of Wars Classic (cologne for men, real men).
Plot-wise, it’s not the worst, but the movie is simply damn boring, and the idea of a cyborg in the film is absolutely idiotic. If we forget about the whole motif of the plastic lady, the rest could have been quite decent: a Belgian as Gibson Rickenbacker hunting for Fender Tremolo (where do they come up with such catchy names for characters?!), the gang leader who killed his adoptive family (great idea with the well and barbed wire, unfortunately poorly executed). Just classic revenge cinema. What’s even better, Fender is one of the cooler movie nutjobs – the guy is a big fan of crucifixions. Wherever he goes, gravediggers make a fortune, and the smell of burning bodies spreads within a thirty-mile radius – love at first sight for me. But what’s the use if this production had great potential, but Pyun, who was born just to slaughter good movie ideas, had to shoehorn the titular lady cyborg into the film.
Let’s start with the fact that her presence in the film is simply unnecessary and serves only to showcase a bit of cheap (although always welcome) practical special effects in two scenes. She’s a character who didn’t have to be a cyborg at all because she has no associated powers, her otherness has no impact on the plot, and she absolutely brings nothing to the movie. But, you know, a cyborg in the film means thirty more viewers. Okay, I lied, the lady serves a purpose, as she transports information that is supposed to help fight the plague. I won’t even complain that it would have been easier to transfer the data onto an old floppy disk or write it down on a piece of paper because the film is so “complicated” that the way to combat the plague is probably washing your hands before lunch, covering your mouth when you sneeze, and not drinking rainwater. Building an uber-modern cyborg for two bytes of data is just as idiotic as buying 600 hectares of tobacco fields somewhere in Utah, along with an Amish commune and Harrison Ford hidden in the attic, just because you fancy a cigarette.
I thought the action scenes would make up for the script’s shallowness, but I was wrong again – Van Damme hardly does any splits (although the sewer scene is great), the shootouts with cap guns look worse than those from a sci-fi B-movie. The knife-in-the-boot trick no longer impresses anyone.
Exactly, the knife in the boot, twenty years ago, that was so cool – as a kid, fascinated by the movie, I poked a hole in my new sneakers and stuck a kitchen knife into my right boot. When the matter came to light, Waldo “it hurts me more than you” Buczkowski showed me what he thought of fashion designers. Those were the days…
I won’t drag this on because by the time you finish reading this text, the Gallic prophecies may come true, and the sky will fall on your heads. In short, Cyborg is a very weak film that, despite a few decent scenes, doesn’t stand the test of time, and it’s better not to spoil your fond memories with another viewing, which will most likely be a disappointment. If you want to see a good apocalypse, I recommend contacting Gibbon – the guy knows all possible “showtimes,” organizes training sessions with David Icke and our chief specialist in unexplained matters and produces brilliant homemade wine – in the face of the end of the world, what more could you ask for?!
Apocalypse? Just bring it on!