Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Cyborgs” with a minor in “The Not Too Distant Future”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult takes off its shirt and screams a lot in the rain in honor of sci-fi martial arts flick Cyborg!
In a post-apocalyptic future a deadly plague cripples civilization and our only hope for salvation is Pearl Prophet, a cyborg carrying vital information for a cure. But when the vicious Fender Tremolo and his gang of pirates attack, Pearl will need the help of a mercenary “Slinger” named Gibson to lead her to safety. Can Gibson’s skill and Pearl’s precious cargo save the world, or will Fender’s brutality doom it? Hot off the set of Bloodsport, Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in Cyborg!
What is a man to do when civilization is on it’s knees? Roundhouse kick it back on its feet! Directed by Albert Pyun, who has been both derided and praised as the new Ed Wood, Cyborg is a 1989 low-budget, high-concept genre film. That genre being “kick-ass”! Cyborg is only the 8th film by Albert Pyun, whose resume includes films like “Bulletface”, the supercult classic “Captain America”, and “The Sword and the Sorcerer”. You know, the movie with the rocket launcher sword. Needless to say, Pyun knows how to make Supercult films.
Cyborg stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as the slinger Gibson Rickenbacker, Deborah Richter as Nady Simmons, a young woman who joins Gibson, Vincent Klyn as the villain Fender Tremolo, Alex Daniels as Pearl’s bodyguard Marshall Strat, and Dayle Haddon as the cyborg Pearl Prophet. Curiously, all of these character names are also names of musical instruments or manufacturers.
Cyborg had a rocky production. In one scene Jean-Claude Van Damme accidentally wounded actor Jackson ‘Rock’ Pinckney’s eye during a sword fight scene, causing him to permanently lose vision out of that eye. He would later take Van Damme to court and win a settlement. Cyborg was one of the last films from doomed production studio Cannon Films which operated from 1967 to 1993. Cyborg was originally conceived to use the costumes and sets built for the intended and eventually canned sequel of Masters of the Universe and a live action Spider-Man film. Albert Pyun originally wrote Cyborg as “Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg” in which He-Man returned to Earth, only to discover that Earth had been left a post-apocalyptic wasteland by Skeletor. When the project was scrapped Pyun repurposed the script under the pseudonym of “Kitty Chalmers” (the name of his cat) and it became the script for “Cyborg”. So basically, this movie was written…by a cat.
Cyborg was also heavily cut to earn an “R” rating rather than an “X”. Scenes that didn’t make it into the final film include a good deal of blood and gore and a few shots of various fight scenes. The result is a film that appears to have really bad editing, but was in fact too crazy and violent for your puny brain to handle! However, Pyun also envisioned the film as a heavy opera without dialogue, shot in granulated black and white, so maybe it’s good that some things got cut.
Poor editing, second-hand script, and eye stabbing aside, Cyborg is still a glorious example of late 80’s sci-fi: 2 cups of fun with about 10 gallons of stupid. A recipe for success for the Supercultist in all of us.
Cyborg was generally panned by critics, but it debuted at number four at the American box office and went on to gross over $10.2 million from a budget of just half a million. Such commercial success deserved nothing less than two sequels: Cyborg 2 starring Elias Koteas and Angelina Jolie in 1993 and Cyborg 3: The Recycler, a direct-to-video release in 1995. Cyborg has a 5.0 on IMDB and an abysmal 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert said, “Few genres amuse me more than post-apocalyptic fantasies about supermen fighting for survival. Cyborg is one of the funniest examples of this category, which crosses Escape from New York with The Road Warrior but cheats on the budget.” If that doesn’t sound like glowing testimony to you, then you obviously need to hang out with us more!
Don’t forget to count the splits and roundhouse kicks! He’s the First Hero of the 21st Century…And He’s Our Only Hope!
The Supercult show is proud to present, Cyborg!