Monday, February 28, 2011
CYBORG 3 is the bold and daring story of a woman robot (some chick from HEAD OF THE CLASS) who is pregnant and is trying to get to a robot "paradise" called CY-TOWN where she can have her robo-baby in peace. Remember that kid (Zach Galligan) who was the main character in GREMLINS. Yea, he stars in this sucker too. He is a robot designer who helps her get to CY-TOWN. Hot on their heels is Anton played by Richard Lynch (who is great in everything he does) and his robot muscle bound henchman who looks like the son of Robert Z'Dar.(That big dude with the even bigger chin that got electrocuted in TANGO & CASH)
I feel kind of bad for picking on such a low budget poorly made film that only made it to Pay Per-View back in the early nineties. I can't help it though. This movie needs to be kicked to the ground and have it's milk money stolen. Why? Because the movie doesn't know what a cyborg is. A cyborg is part human and part robot. Examples include Robocop, Darth Vader, Jason X and me when I accidentally got my foot stuck in a toaster. I'm not anymore though. For a short time I had the strength of a full grown man and a toaster until it fell off. In CYBORG 3 however cyborgs are just robots that look like people. It kind of bothered me that people were killing robots and they constantly referred to them as cyborgs. CY-TOWN is short for CYBORG TOWN (get it?) but there are only broken down robots. There are cyborgs in this movie like Malcom McDowell with his robot arm and Richard Lynch has a robot eye but I do believe they are considered just human. It doesn't make any sense.
CY-TOWN is suppose to be this hard to find city that is out in the middle of nowhere. Those who have found it never lived to tell about it. Anton speaks about it like its the freakin fountain of youth. Its so hard to find that our heroes found it in two minutes roaming the desert. Way to go CYBORG 3! The great and mysterious CY-TOWN is a couple of shacks in the desert. Big whoop. That is what they call a city in the future, I guess. Its a major let down, folks. What is not a let down is William Katt. He plays a C-3PO kind of robot. If you don't know who Willian Katt is then I recommend you go out and buy every season of THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO to get yourself educated in awesome-superocity. Honestly he doesn't do much but he is such a delight to see on screen. He will always be my "greatest American hero". CY-TOWN is populated with broken down robots that the robot designer repairs to help fight an army of robot hunters. These robots are young looking dudes who looked like they spent their teenage years in the eighties listening to Butt-Rock bands like POISON and MOTLEY CREW and participated in a lot of backyard wrestling. These guys try so hard to be tough but all they do is complain and you find yourself rooting for the bad guys.
The end fight is so wonderfully awful and embarrassing to watch. If you were watching this in your room by yourself and your friends walked in you would trash the t.v. trying to turn it off. Your friends would be like "Ha-Ha! You were watching porn!" and you would be like "Yes. Yes I was". You wouldn't dare admit to watching CYBORG 3. That's the kind of shame that never goes away. The final fight is a bunch of poorly strung together action moments that try to be badass but deliver unintentional laughs. There is a lot of motorcycles jumping around and some explosions. This good guy robot has no hands so he asks the designer to make his hands guns. Yea, that's cool right? There is a problem that is never addressed in the film. How do you reload, genius? Of course there is another guy who watched too much HIGHLANDER. He runs around with a samurai sword (of course) but he barely uses it. He does the twirly stuff with it but then he stabs it into the ceiling and takes down a couple of guys with his hands and then he pulls it down to cut off some mannequin's head that just appeared out of nowhere. The whole finale is weak sauce with an abrupt Dire Straits MONEY FOR NOTHING music video style robo-baby appearing ending. Its weird looking and hard to explain but you are just thankful that the movie is over.
As bad as this movie is there was strong potential for CYBORG 3 to be a cult classic. The start of the movie focuses on Richard Lynch's character hunting robots and selling them to Malcom McDowell. Richard is a fantastic actor and he brings some weight to this film that instantly disappears the second he is not on screen. For a moment I thought maybe the whole movie would be about him. That would be awesome. He is the kind of badass villain we want to see carry the story and develop some kind of character arch. But instead we have to deal with boring people that act as our heroes but bring nothing of interest to the standard stock characters that populate most low budget sci-fi-direct-to-Pay-Per-View movies from the nineties. Obviously budget does not make a film good. Most of the time its the imagination and talent to bring a vision to life that makes a movie good.....Or boobs. CYBORG 3 does have some boobs in it. So yea, its a good movie.
Watch it on Netflix, folks.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I would be lying to you if I said that HIGHLANDER is the story of an immortal (Christopher Lambert) who is trained by a large talking peacock (Sean Connery) to help fight and prevent an evil immortal called the Kurgan (that guy from SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) from being the last immortal and claiming the "prize". Nope, that is not what this movie is about. HIGHLANDER is about swords. This movie is hugely popular in the nerd community and nerds love swords. CLING-CLANG CLASH SPARKS! COOL! Look at all those cool swords. COOL! Look at the Kurgan's cool broadsword. COOL! Wouldn't that be cool hanging on my wall? COOL! Oh, my gosh! Sean Connery's sword is a samurai sword. COOL! I want it in my mouth!.............Cool? In fact the only way to kill an immortal is by cutting his head off. That's convenient. The swords themselves seem to have all the power. They slice through steel and concrete causing major sparkage like maybe the immortals have super strength. But this super strength is never demonstrated unless they are fighting with their damn swords. It just makes me wonder is all.
I find it strange that so many regard this film as a classic but crap all over the sequels. HIGHLANDER is just as bad as HIGHLANDER 2,3,4, and 5. There really isn't that much difference in quality. They are all hokey with weak protagonists and convoluted stories that are filled with plot holes galore. If anything HIGHLANDER is the grand daddy of poor storytelling. It laid the foundation of stupidity that the rest merely followed up on. I do like the Kurgan though. Maybe that is just because I like to say the word "Kurgan". He is totally badass at the beginning with his huge sword and skull helmet. But even his lovable evil antics get WAAAY over the top by the end. You can tell he was a huge influence on the creation of the Guardian character in HIGHLANDER part 5: THE SOURCE.
The story for the first HIGHLANDER fails to explain where immortals came from. They are born like everyone else. Wouldn't that mean immortals can be born at anytime creating an unlimited supply of immortals? Why wouldn't more immortals be born throughout time? How does Sean Connery know so much about the "gathering"? How does the Kurgan know that Conner Macleod is an immortal? Remember when Conner is trying to fight in the big battle in the highlands and none of the bad guys would fight him. Why didn't they fight him? Because they knew he was immortal but when he is stabbed and is walking around perfectly fine the next day his own people kick him out and even try to burn him alive. How come they didn't know? You can see how the writer had two neat scenarios for Conner to demonstrate the drama of being immortal but they rub against each other the wrong way. They contradict each other. Its called bad writing, folks.............Yeah, I know I am guilty of that too.
A lady forensics officer shows up to investigate Conner's kill in the parking lot of a wrestling stadium. Those were weird looking wrestlers by the way. Conner sees that she has discovered a piece of his sword that was stuck in a concrete pillar. At this time Conner is the main suspect of the murder. Her part in the story would have stopped right there with her investigation coming to a dead end. It would be impossible to connect that piece of sword (that should not exsist by the way according to history) to Conner. Instead Conner tries to hit on her in a bar which makes her follow him and see him fight the Kurgan. She isn't even interested in finding the killer she just wants to see the sword that the piece of metal belongs to. Conner grabs the girl to protect her from the Kurgan who he senses is nearby. Suddenly the Kurgan just stands up right next to them like he was sitting there the whole time in plain sight! Does that make sense to you? How could you miss that guy? He's ten feet tall! I like how the two immortals are fighting and then this random police helicopter shows up to interrupt things and everyone just kind of walks away and the police don't even bother to follow. Kind of lame if you ask me.
Speaking of random. Everyone makes a big deal about the planet Ziegst (or whatever its called) but I don't hear any complaints about the crazy marine character. For a brief moment the movie kind of turns into TAXI DRIVER or something when this crazed ex-marine loads up his car with guns and starts driving around looking for something crazy to shoot at, I guess. Boy, does he find it. He just so happens to find two immortals stabbing it out in some alley somewhere and he decides to investigate things with his machine gun. He sees the Kurgan kill one of the last immortals. The crazy ex-marine's response is to shoot the Kurgan. Of course nothing happens and the Kurgan impales the marine with his sword and hoists him into the air. Then he is flung off the sword like poo from a stick and lives. The crazy ex-marine ends up in a hospital to give the cops a description of his assailant. The guy had a broadsword in his guts! This character serves no purpose except to see one of the last immortals die. Surely there is a better way to show that there are only two immortals left.
That is my biggest problem with HIGHLANDER. The story needed to be focused on the immortals and their unique relationship with each other. The immortals can get along with each other and be good friends but they all know that eventually they are bound by the rules to fight each other to the death until there is only one. What a great premise for a story but instead the script follows more of a classic cop movie formula in part with too many scenes involving police and interrogations and questioning eyewitnesses which all of this adds up to nothing. Only once when Conner and (Sean Connery's character's name goes here) are sparring does this dilemma come up. Conner asks what would happen if they were the last two and for a moment Conner has the upper hand to kill his friend right then and there. He doesn't of course and the issue is never brought up again. You get the sense that the movie is about to get interesting but then it just goes poop. Wouldn't it be more interesting if Conner and the talking peacock had to fight it out at the end? It would be hard to predict that fight. It could be that the main antagonist of the film is the rules of being a immortal themselves. They could come to an agreement to not kill each other and leave the "prize" a mystery. Then if you wanted to make a sequel you could say that because they stopped seeking the "prize" that more immortals came into existence over time drawn to the "prize". Shoot! I should have written HIGHLANDER.
So let me get this straight. The "prize" is to gain ultimate knowledge and the ability to die. Does that make sense to you? How is being able to die a prize? Being able to die is only a prize if you work in retail. If you are immortal that is the last thing you want. It kind of defeats the purpose of preventing the Kurgan from getting the "prize". In fact if I was the second to last immortal I would let him cut off my head. Then I would haunt him as a ghost and be like "Ha-Ha, sucker! The prize makes you dead too." If I can't turn into a ghost then I would say it very loudly so he can hear me from Hell.
HIGHLANDER had great promise of being a truly great classic. The story of immortals forced by the unknown to kill each other makes for great drama. Unfortunately the movie stays away from such interesting concepts. Why is Christopher Lambert in this movie? He talks funny and looks like a neanderthal. The movie strives to make him badass and a little humorous but he can't pull it off. He's no Clint Eastwood is all I am saying. They should have casted somebody better. In fact before the writer ever wrote a single word down for the script he should have watched a ton of westerns with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson to know what it takes to make a badass hero. It takes more than a weapon to have a stoic presence in a film. And don't think having Sean Connery makes the movie watchable! Lets not forget Sean was the main star of the artsy-fartsy-wtf movie ZARDOZ. What the hell was going on in that movie? I don't know. I kind of get this weird "STAR TREKIAN" feel to HIGHLANDER. Its hard to explain. If you like STAR TREK then you have to like HIGHLANDER. Its in the nerd guide lines or something. Conner himself is kind of stiff like every single character in STAR TREK. The badassness of Conner is defined by his samurai sword like a nerd would define Klingons as great warriors because they got those stupid moon shaped swords. What is so great about Klingons anyway?
Hey, while we are on the subject of STAR TREK! Wouldn't it be cool if a Highlander, uh, I mean immortal lived so long that he made it to the future and joined the crew of the Enterprise and went with them on their many adventures into space and fought Klingons and crap!?!
The answer to that is "No." No, it would not. The end.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
ONECHANBARA is the story of a kung-fu zombie killing machine chick whose name is......I don't know I am just going to call her Onechanbara. She is on a quest for revenge in a world destroyed by zombies. Onechanbara is set on killing her sister who murdered her father back in the good old days before the zombies ate my neighbors. The evil sister is working with an slimy scientist who is responsible for turning the world's population into fleshing eating zombies. Onechanbara is a quiet kind of wannabe Clint Eastwood man with no name type character. Its a little hard to take her seriously when she is walking around in a bikini, cowboy hat and feathered boa. Lets just say that she isn't the most convincing argument for women fighting in the military.
ONECHANBARA is a video game movie and its not too bad overall. There is plenty of action and there are a couple of hot chicks running around to keep things interesting. You do see boobs at one point but they aren't the boobs you want to see so that is somewhat of a major let down. But the movie follows the #1 rule of a good zombie movie. They kill lots of zombies. Apparently Onechanbara and her evil sister have special powers. I call them "video game powers" because they don't really make sense unless you live in the world of a video game. This allows our heroine to slice and dice zombies into bad special effects and to do the splits on their faces. The two sisters have this huge fight at the end where everything turns into DRAGONBALL Z. Their moves are so fast that they appear in brief flashes on the screen impossible to follow with your eyes. Its badass. There is no shaky cam close up crap to try and intensify the action. While the concept of a woman in a bikini fighting zombies is the stuff of exploitation the movie does its best to make you care for these characters. All the characters suffer from major loss in their lives and movie focuses on their pain to drive the story. I like that. It gives the movie some heart.
Since this is a video game movie I have decided to call the special effects "graphics" instead. The graphics in this movie aren't very good. This super zombie is shot at the beginning of the movie and the bullets break against it's clothing in digitized pixels. The bullets don't even break the clothing. It looks terrible. When the zombies get chopped up they turn into cartoons but that doesn't really bother me though. Its a video game movie after all. The biggest improvement the movie could have made was the cinematography. The beginning takes place at night and the first thing you notice is how ugly everything is. Its too dark and colorless. The sets are empty warehouses and the outsides of empty warehouses. Its not too imaginative. The end fight looks a lot better in a open field in broad daylight. Maybe they got a new director for the ending.
They were scraping the bottom of the barrel when they picked the main villain. The bad guy scientist looks more like a child molesting uncle than the guy who destroyed the world with zombies. I am not sure why this guy ended civilization as we know it. Maybe he got teased a lot as a kid. Maybe he showed up to some kind of scientist convention not wearing pants. He was like "Hello everyone. I have invented a transportation device that can transport any item from my machine to anywhere in the world and from anywhere in the world to my machine. It will revolutionize traveling as we know it. No longer will we depend on fossil fuels to move around in our four wheeled coffins." And then some jerk in the audience was like "Hey doc, why don't you transport your pants back on!" and everyone laughed at him. That is probably what happened but they don't mention it in the movie. He's not a very menacing bad guy is all I am saying. He is more slime than man.
ONECHANBARA should have been a better movie. They should have invested more in the look of the film and some of the special effects. But despite its flaws its still a good bit of fun. If you like zombies, badass ladies, violence galore then you should like this movie. Its kind of like D.O.A. Volleyball meets Left 4 Dead. Weird. Also weird is the title. I don't remember seeing a bikini samurai squad anywhere. There is only one gal in a bikini. What a rip-off! Can't wait for the sequel though.