Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995)

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This film is so odd it’s forced me to coin a new phrase – the “unquel”, for a sequel that bears no relation to the film that came before it. There are plenty of these, and I think it’s worth an article on its own, so look forward to that in a future ISCFC update.

But before that we must review this film. Alex, the star of the first “Nemesis”, is announced to have failed his mission before the opening credits have rolled. Sorry, Olivier Gruner! Then we get the info dump which establishes what this film is all about. 73 years after the events of the previous film, the world is completely dominated by cyborgs. Some human scientists invent super-DNA, which will hopefully produce super-humans to save the world; their first test subject is born but, for some reason, has to go back in time to 1980 to be safe. So, the mother and baby end up in East Africa, the mother dies and the daughter, also called Alex, is raised by the local tribespeople, and grows up to be a super-ripped warrior woman.

A brief aside about Sue Price, who plays Alex. She was a bodybuilder, placing well in a series of tournaments in the 90s, but the three “Nemesis” sequels are her only film credits. Not a “henchwoman no.2” in an episode of “Baywatch”, no background work in bodybuilding movies, nothing. It’s not like she’s particularly bad, either. Ah well, maybe working with director Albert Pyun is enough for anybody.

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So, bounty hunters from the year 2097 are sent back to kill Alex and stop the super-DNA from eventually leading a human uprising against the cyborgs. And that, really, is the plot. Alex rescues a couple of women from a baddie tribesperson, and they’re very obviously dodgy – turns out they’re gold thieves (although the gold they steal is in coin form, which isn’t what I expected). At some point in the film, Pyun clearly ran out of black people, so there’s a bunch of white “mercenaries” thrown in there for no real reason too…but the main battle is between Alex and the sole future cyborg, which ranges over dunes and rocks but ends up in some long disused mine buildings.

Now, here’s the thing. I think this film was intended to be a standalone film, about a woman who was possibly an alien, like Superman, being chased by alien bounty hunters. Then, at the last minute, Pyun’s producers told him they wanted a sequel to “Nemesis”, so he altered some of the alien POV stuff, did some ADR and spliced in a bit of footage of future LA. My evidence is the “cyborg” has messages running across his field of vision telling him he’s almost offline, or is out of ammo, but in the next scene he’s fighting just as well as he ever was.

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Or it could just be directorial incompetence. Pyun is renowned as an Ed-Wood-level director, even if people keep giving him money (he’s directed more than 40 films, and is still going now); and even I’ve noticed he has trouble getting across that one scene follows another scene. It’s not like this film is incredibly cheap, either – they blow up a bunch of buildings, for real, in the climactic fight scene.

So, the film sort of finishes, although to say it’s lacking a crash-bang-wallop ending would be understating the case somewhat. Alex is driven off by some helpful passing…soldiers?…and we’re prepared for a sequel (which was filmed at the same time, and uses a hefty portion of this film as flashback material, apparently). For a sci-fi film, it really didn’t have a lot of sci-fi in it. I’ve no idea why people making these sorts of films think that we fans of the futuristic and alien-y would accept a film which could be, minus the cyborg’s armour and Alex’s super-knife, be any of a thousand boring “action” films. My desire to finish this series, strong after the first film, is definitely weakening now, although I read that Tim Thomerson comes back for part 3, so I’ve got that to look forward to.

Rating: thumbs down

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2 thoughts on “Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995)

  1. Pingback: The world of the Unquel |

  2. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Sci-Fi and Fantasy franchises |

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