Sunday, November 09, 2008

Trailer Trash XIX: Cyborg (Jean-Claude Van Damme, 1989)

"He's the first hero of the 21st century... and our only hope!"

In honor of the opening of JCVD in New York, it seemed a natural choice to highlight one of the myriad classics laid on celluloid by Mr. Jean-Claude Van Damme. But where to start? Universal Soldier? Hard Target? Timecop? Street Fighter? Universal Soldier: The Return? So many wonderful, wonderful little turds - nowhere near enough time. (Side note: JCVD was awesome. Now, back to the lame...) After much consultation with the League (ok, well, just Onyx) I decided to start with 1989's Cyborg, directed by Albert F. Pyun, who was the early '90s action film answer to Ed Wood, Jr.

You can't really place much blame on Mr. Van Damme for this one - Cyborg was only his second starring role in a film (this was made right after Bloodsport) and at this point he was still struggling with the English language. It really doesn't help that he was under the direction of one of the few working men in Hollywood with more ridiculous movies to his name than Mr. Van Damme. Director Albert Pyun, to put it lightly, sucks incredibly. Albert Pyun sucks with passion, consistency and abandon. If making a shitty movie was dunking a basketball, Albert Pyun would be Michael Jordan. I'm talking about a Uwe Boll-level of sucking, kiddos. When it comes to taking a dump onto celluloid, Albert Pyun will forever be a Hall of Famer.

One look at his IMDB page will paint the whole feces-covered portrait. Bulletface? Brain Smaser: A Love Story? Adrenalin: Fear the Rush? Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon? Even their titles are silly. Cyborg received a 4.3 out of 10 on IMDB, marking it as one of his highest-rated.

Pyun has two major obsessions: cyborgs and kickboxers. Many of his movies has at least ONE of these elements:

(1993) - In the future, chaos is rampant as 'information terrorists' threaten to destroy order in society. Alex is a part-man-part-machine LAPD cop who is the best at what he does. (This was followed by Nemesis II: Nebula, Nemesis III: Prey Harder, and Nemesis IV: Death Angel. None of these movies are rated higher that a 3.1 on IMDB.)

Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor
(1994) - A kickboxer must travel to Mexico to save his wife from a savage international terrorist.
(Pyun directed two of the Van Damme-less sequels to the original Kickboxer.)

Some of his movies incorporate BOTH elements:

Knights (1993) - In the future, a kickboxer and a robot lead a revolution against ruling cyborgs.

Heatseeker (1995) - A kickboxing champion is forced to fight cyborgs in a tournament when the company kidnaps his fiancee.

The subject of today's lecture, Cyborg, has both.

At 0:06 - Right off the bat we're treated to the Cannon Video logo. We KNOW we're in for a treat. It's sort of like the Nintendo Seal of Quality, except for things that suck.
At 0:13 - Or the not-too-distant past, in case you're watching this trailer in the year 2008.
At 0:20 - Is that the male cast of Dead or Alive 4?
At 0:26 - NO! Not food, JC! NOT food!
At 0:29 - Ok, that's definitely Zack from Dead or Alive.
At 0:32 - Seizure alert.
At 0:36 - Was that actor's voice re-dubbed by a muppet?
At 0:48 - A cyborg Sinead?
At 1:05 - Yikes - what IS that guy? A cyborg? Werewolf? Vampire? Running back for the Buffalo Bills?
At 1:14 - I have absolutely nothing to say about this frame.

Seriously, how many times do guys scream in the last 20 seconds of this trailer? If this trailer is indicative of the film's content, then roughly 1/3 of the movie is shirtless guys screaming.


The movie Cyborg was never really meant to be. The film was originally meant to be a sequel to the live action Dolph Lundgren He-Man movie Masters of the Universe, which was to be shot back-to-back with a Pyun-helmed Spider-Man movie. Both deals fell through (though Pyun later directed another Marvel Comics-based film: the 1990 steampile Captain America, starring Dolph Lundgren). In an attempt to recoup some of the costs of these two movies, Pyun used the sets and costumes they'd already paid for to shoot a low-budget cyborg/kickboxer movie starring the then-little-known Muscles from Brussels.

To top things off, Jean-Claude Van Damme's character isn't even a cyborg. You'd think he was from the title, right? The villains aren't cyborgs, either. The only cyborg in this movie is a lame chick that Van Damme occasionally saves.

There is so much that is stupid about this movie. For God knows what reason, all the characters are named after guitars. Van Damme's character is named Gibson Rickenbacker. The villain is named Fender Tremolo. There's also a Marshall Strat and a Pearl Prophet. Agggh.

Throw in an overblown (and hilarious) crucifixion scene and a bunch of flashbacks where Van Damme wears a wig that's only slightly less silly than one a clown would wear and you've got one hell of a movie:

Trivia: Did you know Van Damme's first credited film role was playing "Gay Karate Man" in the movie Monaco Forever?

I guess in the end Van Damme really had nowhere to go but up from here. Pyun, however, continues to churn out turd after stinker with no signs of stopping. Damn you, Pyun. Dammmmmmn yooooouuuuuu!


Trailer Trash is a weekly tribute to oddball, cheesy and often just plain terrible movie trailers. Writers: These movies got made... so can yours! You can read through our archive by clicking here.