My affinity for Jean-Claude Van Damme goes very far back. When I was a feeble kid in elementary (technically I’m still feeble), JCVD movies were my escape. I could kick anyone’s ass while watching his movies.
BLOODSPORT was the first JCVD movie the universe introduced me to, and then CYBORG (the last theatrical release for the now-defunct once-super awesome distributor, Cannon Films), starring a 29-year-old Van Damme. I still remember first watching CYBORG and turning it off because the opening scene terrified me — the film is ultra-violent (for its time) and that beheading was something else. Worse, JCVD gets crucified — that was jarring for six-year-old Chase.
Shout’s re-release is the first time I’ve seen it since childhood, and the experience is not much different aside from some goofy dialogue, and I picked up on the traditional trope of 80s/90s post-apocalyptic movies always having barrels of trashcans on fire everywhere, and slow-motion fights, are ubiquitous in CYBORG. Oh and that thing where the villain shows all his sweet character movies before attacking his opponent. Despite the tropes and sometimes silly dialogue, CYBORG is fun as hell to watch.
The 4K restoration is incredible — looks just like its 1989 birth. CYBORG has a lot going for it — the practical effects are excellent, there’s an incredibly long battle between JCVD’s Slinger — a term created by the writer-director as a homage to the term gunslinger from his love of westerns. Slinger’s are warriors who get people out of a war-torn city. And the goons chasing after him are perfect villains, costumes and all. The shot of him in the sewer is one for the books, filmed by cinematographer Philip Alan Waters.
As an adult, something that drove me bonkers watching was the movie’ s antagonist Fender Tremolo (in a solid performance by Vincent Klyn) taking off his fucking glasses off every 20 minutes to show his contact lens. I don’t know to this day if this means to show badasses strike fear in foes in a post-apocalyptic world by taking off their glasses. It’s pretty laughable every time.
The long chase-battle scene is certainly what makes this movie a great Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. It’s raw, dangerous, and filthy.
4K Scan From The Original Film Elements
Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Albert Pyun
A Ravaged Future – The Making Of CYBORG – Featuring Interviews With Writer/Director Albert Pyun, Actors Vincent Klyn, Deborah Richter, And Terrie Batson, Director Of Photography Philip Alan Waters, And Editor Rozanne Zingale
Shoestring Fantasy – The Effects Of CYBORG – Featuring Interviews With Visual Effects Supervisor Gene Warren Jr., Go-Motion Technician Christopher Warren, And Rotoscope Artist Bret Mixon
Extended Interviews From Mark Hartley’s Documentary ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS With Writer/Director Albert Pyun And Sheldon Lettich