Friday, May 10, 2019

'90s Trash: American Cyborg- Steel Warrior

Is it better to fade away than to burn out?  This is American Cyborg: Steel Warrior, a 1993 Film about, well, guess.  It is technically a 1994 Film, but that was only due to issues getting it released.  I could just be reviewing this because I got a copy and the Title sounded cheesy.  That's true, but there is also more.  This is an important part of Film History.  This was the *last* Film released by Cannon Films!  From such highs as Breakin' and Cobra to such lows as, well, Night Terrors and The Barbarians.  Oh and also a little Film called Cyborg.  That unleashes a whole can of worms I won't go in depth on, but it includes a halted Spider-Man Film, a Film called Knights and also Masters of the Universe.  I mention the Albert Pyun Film since this one kind of borrows heavily from it.  It also cribs the naming convention from American Ninja and sounds, let's be honest, like a bad Super Nintendo Game.  They borrow some key Plot Elements- the Plague on humanity, for instance-, but also do their own thing.  For one thing, their 'Cyborg' is actually a Terminator and not just a Plot Device.  They still find a way to tie our Heroine to a cross-like object though, so it's not just an Albert Pyun quirk.  The whole thing is kind of an interesting, but also generic mess.  To see how a big Studio made one last so-so hurrah, read on...
In a dark Future, Robots have conquered and sterilized Mankind with Nukes.  In a nice reverse of Hell Comes to Frogtown, the only fertile Woman in America is going to take her fetus to a new home in Europe.
She's pursued by a killer Android, since this Movie not quite clear on what a CYBORG is.

To be fair, he's more bad-ass and interesting than the one in Justice League.
She meets Austin, who is an amnesiac Warrior.  If you can't guess the twist about him already, then I feel sorry for you.
He agrees to help her when she basically bribes him.  Mistrust is the basis for a good friendship, after all.
He does his best to fend off the 'Cyborg' at every turn, but he's damn tough.  They keep wounding him, breaking the Film into basically a series of Fight Scenes with some extra in-between (like against some random Thugs and later some Cannibals).
This 'Cyborg' is hard to kill, you see.  He keeps regenerating and rebooting himself.

If you put enough smoke in front, you almost can't see how fake the prop hand movement is.
After what feels like the 10th fight, they drop the 'Cyborg' down a hatch, but Austin's arm is ripped off in the process.  He finds out that, dun dun dun, he's an Android...I mean 'Cyborg.'
This creates the SECOND rift between the pair and she nearly gets killed by the bad guy.  Our Hero returns- with a simple arm band to reattach his limb- and saves the day.
In the aftermath, the fetus survives and she goes to Europe to join the resistance.  He stays behind to star in...oh right, no more Cannon Films.  The End.
What a way to go out.  To be clear, this Film's quality (or lack thereof) had nothing to do with the Studio succeeding or failing.  They went through bankruptcy and had issues with Investors/Owners that led to International Prosecutions!  By lucky chance, this is just the last Film released with this Banner.  That said, it's not very good.  I will focus on the positives first though.  The Sets look nice.  The Special Effects are mostly pretty good.  I tried to highlight the better ones- like the 'Cyborg's' eyes- in the Review.  The Acting is pretty good.  The overall Plot works well enough too.  That said, the Plot has too many forced 'Pit Stops' that kills the Pacing.  Adding in a second 'they don't get along and split up' Scene was also not good.  They didn't even start as allies, so why is this such a big deal?  There's also an issue with the Villain.  He's nigh unstoppable, but then he can also just disappear for chunks of the Movie when they see fit.  They manage to stop him for the moment, leave, get in a fight, she gets caught by Cannibals, he saves from Cannibals and then they talk...before he finally shows up.  Was he on a Union-mandated break?!?  While its clear later that the Villain couldn't really kill our Hero, it's also funny that he never tries that hard.  He seems content to just shove him over.  Meanwhile, he kills EVERY OTHER CHARACTER upon the slightest bit of conflict.  Weird.  All in all, American Cyborg is not a great Film.  It has good moments and the touches of something that could be quite good.  Two positive takeaways though- it is the only Film I know of Directed by someone named 'Boaz' and it does feature this lovely logo...
Next up, a classic '70s Creature Feature.  In this case, however, it's less of a Creature and more a Car.  Stay tuned...

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