Friday, February 4, 2011

Rare Flix: Cyborg 3

What happens when you lose your lead actor?  In the case of Cyborg 3- or Cyborg Cubed- they decided to jump ahead a couple decades, completely change everything and recast.  In addition, the new lead is older- which is odd when you consider that she's a cyborg!  I guess we're supposed to assume that she's just nice to her boyfriend and ages herself up once in a while.  For those who may not know the back-story, here it is.  Cyborg was a film starring Jean Claude Van-Damme which started it's life as a potential sequel to Masters of the Universe, but became something else.  Cyborg 2 is a generic action movie famous for starring a barely-legal (or not actually legal, if you believe her reported age) Angelina Jolie.  Sadly, her young self and pouting lips won't be seen here.  Instead we get Khrystyne Haje, a woman whose only other film I know is Scanner Cop 2.  Other people to keep an eye out for are Andrew Brianarski, years before he would play either Leatherface or the world's beefiest Dracula, and William Katt, doing his best to seem like Simon Pegg- even though this movie was made in 1995.  Oh yeah, Zach Galligan is here too- sorry, buddy.  Is the third time the charm probably know that it's not, don't you?  Get out your spare parts as we got to visit...
The movie begins with a bit of narration.  Basically, the 'Golden Age' of interaction between Cyborgs and Humans is over with.  Question- when did that happen?  The second film was not exactly cheery, so what gives?  All of this is to set up the idea that humans go around hunting cyborgs, since their parts are worth a lot of money.  I could delve into the idea that every cyborg is being hunted for parts, then the value of them diminishes dramatically, but whatever.  The two 'recyclers' that we see are Llewyn and his cyborg enforcer, played by Richard Lynch and Andrew Brianarski, respectively.  After they catch the cyborg, he offers to lead them to Cytown, but they decide to end him all the same.  Lynch calls up Lord Talon (Malcolm McDowell) and offers to sell him the parts.  The guy is wary of this, but agrees to meet with him.  In what feels like a separate film altogether, Cash (not Jolie anymore) goes to a cyborg specialist to learn why her power core is not working right.  The reason why: she's pregnant!  Her co-star from Cyborg 2- he's dead...just dead.  Back in the other plot, Lord Talon meets up with Llewyn, but tries to kill him for sending him an exploding robot on the last job.  Llewyn uses his future-Tazer to zap Talon, apparently killing him.  Say good-bye to McDowell- you're better off.  The pair happen to see Cash leaving, but she escapes.  They find out from the doctor that Cash is pregnant and pursue her, deciding that she is worth a lot of money.
Our heroine goes out to find a mysterious scientist (Galligan) who can get rid of the baby.  Yes, our heroine wants an abortion- of sorts- to keep her strong.  Yeah, you're kind of a bitch.  When she explains things to him, he won't help her.  So, naturally, he leaves her alone with his machines.  This leads to her activating her Abortion Program, which...wait, did I just write that?  The film has officially jumped the shark and we're not even half an hour into this thing!  Anyhow, Galligan stops the program by basically blowing out the building's circuit breakers.  This slows down Llewyn and his comrade on their search, but they still find the place.  Wow, that sure was a pointless plot point, huh?  Galligan detects their arrival, leading to our heroine firing at the bad guy's armored truck with a mounted machine gun!  Why does Galligan have that again?  They end up fleeing, however, and make it to a point in the desert where their car stalls.  Galligan tells her to flee with him, which is good, since the car blows up a second later.  He explains that Cytown has a force-field that kills electronics.  So why does the car blow up?  Look for this effect later...only different.  Cytown turns out to be a place full of damaged or broken cyborgs.  Hello, William Katt- you almost make this interesting.
After fixing Katt's stutter, Galligan is allowed to stay.  Llewyn musters up a force to capture Cytown, since all of it's residents are not 'owned' by anyone else.  The forcefield is found by some bikers in his employ when their bikes stop...but don't blow up.  Ugh.  He sends his goon in, since he's a cyborg, and the 'guy' breaks the forcefield- also stopping to steal the baby in it's containment jar.  While the cyborgs plot to get it back, Cash goes right to Llewyn's vehicle- how does she know where it is?- and tries to save the baby- since she cares now- but gets caught.  While Llewyn is away, we learn that the enforcer has a back-story and that Brianarski should never be required to emote on film!  All of this is to set up a 'face turn' later, which is handled as badly as you might think.  Galligan fixes up the cyborgs, even giving the guy with no hands an upgrade- guns for hands!  Thankfully cyborgs don't get itches!  So the big battle is on: cyborgs and the guy from Waxwork vs. a bunch of Mad Max rejects and Llewyn.  It's decent, but features no Galligan and lots of silly stunts- still the high point.  Llewyn grabs the baby's container again and holds the others at bay.  One cyborg jumps in to help, but gets shot by the enforcer.  Seconds later, he says that he's a good guy!  What did I tell you earlier?  Cash plays 'Chicken' with Llewyn and kills him, later revealing that he had a phony.  All is well again apparently- The End.
Recycling is not always a good thing!  The plot of this movie is awkward and confusing.  We get a sub-plot and a good actor's cameo all to set-up Lynch finding out about a cyborg baby.  There wasn't a less obtuse way to do that- plus one that didn't waste the best actor?  Fun side note: McDowell is almost literally playing his Tank Girl character (which would come 2 years later)- complete with suit and cyborg hand!  Aside from the silly nature of the set-up, the movie suffers from the fact that they just made shit up.  When was the golden age of cyborg/human relations?  When did cyborg physiology allow for conception?  If the guy got her pregnant, how old was he?  The movie makes a point of setting up a time-jump here, so what's the answer?  Was he in his '80s and still 'had it?'  Why did the cyborg age up?  What was the point of a super-tiny sub-plot about Llewyn and his eye-enhancement?  Why did the enforcer turn good guy after killing someone?  Did the movie need a cyborg version of Duncan McLeod- who was so important that he didn't get mentioned?  All of these questions will plague you over the 80 minutes or so of this movie.  Aside from all of that, it has a goofy charm and some actors are good in it.  Lynch is always bearable- even in stuff like Trancers 2 or Scanner Cop- and Katt is a fun distraction.  The odds are that you haven't seen it, so why not watch it for free on Netflix at least?
Next up, I try to exploit a recent internet meme.  Will it be a joyous occasion or will it make me shot profanity for one big burst?  Stay tuned...

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