We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Sequels are always better than the originals. This is what Tower Farm is all about and Cyborg 2 is further proof.
Let’s face it, unlike Steven Seagal, who has never put out a movie I did not like… okay, love… Jean-Claude Van Damme movies are never a sure thing. For every Bloodsport, there is a Knock Off. Honestly, with Van Damme movies, it is about 50/50 whether or not it is going to be awesome (again, I want to make it clear that with Steven Seagal, there is a 100% chance that the movie will be awesome).
The original Cyborg is not one of his best movies. It is surprisingly boring, in fact. Which is something of an achievement given that the movie is about karate-kicking machine-men. So, while I appreciate the insanity of naming the hero in the movie Gibson Rickenbacker, I only wish there had been a Jackson Fender or a Samick Ibanez for Van Damme to fight against.
Unsurprisingly, though, despite its flaws, the first movie was pretty successful. In a world before Terminator 2, the public was hungry for robot-men fighting each other. And, let’s face it, Robocop did not go a long way toward satiating that craving.
So, four years after Cyborg hit theaters, we got Cyborg 2… and its absolutely terrible tagline, “Future Beware: The Soul Is In The Software”. Oh well, at least it rhymes. Sort of.
Now here comes the incredibly strange, and perfectly wonderful, part: In the absence of Van Damme, the main cyborg is played by… are you sitting down?... Angelina Jolie. Yes, in one of her very early roles (and well before anyone had any idea who she was) Angelina Jolie took the part of Cash Reese, the cyborg heroine of the film.
Like many movies of the era, Cyborg 2 takes place in a future where humans are at war with machines. Right off the bat, though, Cyborg 2 sets itself apart from similar films by opening the movie with a Star Wars-esque written explanation of things read by… are you still sitting?... Jack Palance!
Yep, Jack Palance plays a fairly pivotal role in this movie as Cash’s secretive advisor, Mercy. He actually delivers the line, “If you want to dine with the Devil, you’ll need a long spoon” before he opens fire on some soldiers. What?!
This movie is just completely crazy.
The joys don’t stop with the two casting decisions already mentioned, either.
Billy Drago, who Tower Farm readers will surely recognize from such films as Vamp, Tremors 4, and Demon Hunter, not to mention his work on the show The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. plays the astonishingly gross character of Danny Bench in this movie.
Also, we have Elias Koteas as Colt Ricks (or Colton Hicks as he is named on the back of the DVD). While Elias Koteas is certainly not as recognizable a name as his costars, he has pretty much been on every TV show and every movie ever made, as near as I can tell. In this particular movie, his character teams up with Cash Reese (yes, the two main charaters are Cash and Colt) and serves as something of a protector to her.
As Colt, Elias Koteas come across as something of a cross between Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver and Law and Order: SVU’s Detective Stabler. Maybe he is the missing link between the two characters, much as the Creature from the Black Lagoon is the missing link that connects fish to man.
Also, in a very small and thankless role, we get Robert Dryer as Pinwheel Exec. #2. He may not be a star to much of the world, but here at Tower Farm, he has earned a spot in our Hall of Fame (still under construction). You see, Robert Dryer played Jake in Savage Streets—the gang leader who terrorized Linda Blair! The guy only has about two lines in this movie, and I am sure I would have never recognized him has I not been watching the extras for Savage Streets. But, sure enough, he is in this movie.
What a friggin’ cast!
Cyborg 2 also includes what may be the greatest movie character of all time, Raven Chen. Chen is another cyborg out for Cash. Now, I am not kidding here, when she is fighting Cash and Colt (does every charater’s name start with a “C”?) she actually yells, “hi-yah!” after one of her kicks… just like Miss Piggy!
So, the movie follows the… ehem… plot of well, I am not entirely clear on what is going on here. Cash Reese and Colt Ricks/Hicks escape a cyborg manufacturing company (that, I guess, is making karate fighting cyborg prositutes). They are helped by Mercy (whose mouth continually pops up on TV sets and gives them advise) and they are hunted by Danny Bench who is employed by the cyborg manufacturers to get Cash back. Oh, and there is some danger that Cash might explode.
Did I mention that this movie is crazy?
While looking up information on this movie, I found out that Director Michael Schroeder followed this movie in 1994 with Cyborg 3: The Recycler, starring Malcolm McDowell, William Katt, and some lady named Khrystyne Haje who takes on the role of Cash Reese. How is it possible that I never knew this movie existed??!! Oh well, given how much I have always enjoyed the madness of Cyborg 2, I suppose I have no choice but to hunt it down.
Cyborg 2 will always be linked in my mind to other mid-1990s Cinemax classics like Return of the Living Dead 3 and The Monster Squad. So, perhaps part of the rating I am going to give it comes from the warm memories I have of my brother and I watching these movies over and over again on weekend nights. Regardless, Cyborg 2 merits…