Friday, August 12, 2016

Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow

Angelina Jolie starred in CYBORG 2 when she was just 17 years old. For some people, that’s a good enough reason to watch the film. Jack Palance, just six months after winning the Academy Award for CITY SLICKERS, is also in this movie, hamming big time. For some people, that’s a good enough reason to watch CYBORG 2. For most of the world, there is no reason to watch it.

Let’s get this out of the way. Despite flashing clips of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dayle Haddon, this so-called sequel has next to nothing to do with CYBORG and even lies about that film’s plot to better serve its own story. “Filmed entirely on location in Los Angeles County, California,” CYBORG 2 is set in 2087, when the world is run by two rival corporations that manufacture robots. One is in Japan. The other, Pinwheel, is American and operated by sleazy Dunn (Allen Garfield, who dedicated his performance to the late Ray Sharkey).

Pinwheel plans to implant a powerful explosive called Glass Shadow (I dunno) into foxy female cyborgs and then blow up executives of its Japanese rivals, leaving Pinwheel with no competition. The company’s secret weapon is the luscious Cash Reese, played by Jolie, and one can understand how a company that can mass-produce teenage Angelina Jolie sex robots could easily rule the world.

Cash escapes from Pinwheel’s underground lab, however, along with her human karate instructor Colt (Elias Koteas, the guy you hire when Christopher Meloni is unavailable). Pursuing the mismatched duo, who may or may not fall in love with each other, is a bounty hunter named Bench (Billy Drago), whose face fell apart in a losing battle with battery acid five years earlier. While the chase is going on, the mysterious Mercy (Palance, who worked maybe a whole day reading a TelePrompter) pops up intermittently on monitors and television sets to ramble gibberish that’s meant to advise Cash and Colt on their next move.

I’m making the plot sound simple and clear, but, believe me, it isn’t. It hardly makes sense and is bogged down with groggy exposition and droning dialogue credited to director Michael Schroeder (DEAD ON: RELENTLESS II) and writers Ron Yanover and Mark Geldman (THE JUNGLE BOOK). Schroeder’s slow pacing, cheap sets, and unconvincing effects and makeup (partially done by the KNB Group) further bog down CYBORG 2. Even the usually reliable Drago, whose Method mumbling can often be entertaining, seems reaching for a characterization that isn’t on the page and comes across as irritating. The intense Koteas is miscast as a martial artist in an action movie.

As for Angelina Jolie, who performs the first of many nude scenes in her career, she’s obviously well-cast as an vacant sex toy, but was not yet an actress. Instead, she performs with the grace and the awkward detachment of the fashion model that she was at the time. Obviously, she got a lot better at her craft, but it would be nigh impossible to predict from CYBORG 2 the direction her career would go.

Other familiar names, such as Karen Sheperd (AMERICA 3000), Sven-Ole Thorsen (THE RUNNING MAN), Tracey Walter (REPO MAN), Robert Dryer (SAVAGE STREETS), and Richard Hill (DEATHSTALKER), appear in supporting roles to jazz the cult fans. Did this terrible direct-to-video movie make money? Sure did. Schroeder returned a year later with CYBORG 3 with HEAD OF THE CLASS redhead Khrystyne Haje playing Cash.

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