CYBORG. Post-apocalyptic science fiction with JCVD
… a trend he has recently embraced with great enthusiasm, to the horror and disappointment of viewers and probably the few remaining faithful fans. It is one of the four best films in the actor’s career – the others being Bloodsport, Kickboxer III, and Universal Soldier.
Cyborg is finally one of the least-known films of Van Damme, although it stands out with the action set in quite interesting circumstances and an intriguing main character. Here, J.C.V. Damme (I’ll Damn You!) is cast as a lone wanderer with a four-barreled shotgun slung on his back, a knife blade hidden in his boot (a tool highly useful for cutting throats with a twist), and obvious skills in various martial arts, primarily using hands and feet. Van Damme utilizes all these fighting tools and karate skills in a battle against a band of incredibly dark characters led by Fender and… his gang.
Fender is equipped with dark glasses covering his killer gaze and a shotgun with two more barrels than our main positive character’s shotgun. Besides the standard equipment, our black-hearted character also possesses manual skills in manual killing and carries a load of hatred toward everything that walks and doesn’t run away into the forest. The link between the positive hero and Fender is the past, where the black character kills the beloved of the positive hero, thus exposing himself to the revenge of the positive hero. I call him that because he is really named Gibson Rickenbacker, so there’s nothing to be proud of.
The whole action of Cyborg is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where the remnants of humanity try to save the world from destruction. This is where the titular Cyborg appears; a woman with a metal head that contains information about ways to fight the deadly virus. That’s enough about the plot and such “dramatic” characters because that’s not what this movie is about. So what charmed me in this extremely average work by Albert Pyun (the creator of the later Nemesis) enough to bother writing anything about it? Above all, Van Damme in his peak physical and acting form (if he ever was at such a peak). Truly well-executed fight choreography, assisted by fairly fast and interesting editing, and decent (at certain moments) cinematography. Even the music, although mostly trivial and very average, gives a good effect in a few scenes; for example, when Van Damme fights a guy in the water (slow-motion shots of tossing the knife from hand to hand – wow!). Also, the aforementioned sequence of cutting a throat with a blade extended from a boot makes a strong impression due to the undeniable originality of the idea. And my favorite moment in the movie, when Van Damme, nailed to the mast with nails, fighting through the pain, slowly frees himself from what seemed like a trap without an exit.
However, the finale of Cyborg, which is the inevitable duel of the main characters, disappoints a bit. It takes place at night, in the pouring rain, and the parties involved scream at the top of their lungs during the brawl, which may be a bit annoying. Allegedly, during the shooting of the final scenes, Van Damme got so carried away that he deprived one of the stuntmen of an eye with a kick… Today, Van Damme can’t seem to find his place in the film industry. He makes movies like The Quest, Replicant, and other Legionnaires – in which he indulges in playing Frenchmen and twin brothers, as I mentioned above, so it’s not like I’m repeating myself or anything.
I wrote this review with a bit of a wink because, all in all, Cyborg belongs to the B-movie genre, and it probably didn’t make sense to review this film as a work with any ambitions. However, I still have great sentiment for Cyborg from my childhood when, thanks (among other things) to it, I slowly discovered the world of action movies. What one gets excited about in childhood, one laughs about in old age…