Feeling a sense of relief that a franchise is over almost always ties in with a “thumbs down” rating from us, but Cyborg has definitely saved its best for last. It’s a mini-masterclass in how to tie two largely unrelated movies together, has an interesting and exciting (if not hugely original) plot, a range of decent actors and some sweet early 90s CGI. This movie is also key if you’re playing “6 Degrees of ISCFC”, featuring William Katt (from “House”) and Zach Galligan (from “Gremlins”), plus a classic 80s/ 90s villain making his first (but definitely not his last) appearance on this site.
It’s a century or more since the events of the end of part 2 – the corporations are but a distant memory, the “golden age” is over and humanity hunts down the dwindling number of cyborgs to use for spare parts. The character played by Angelina Jolie is back, although she isn’t- Cash is her name, and rather bizarrely being pregnant is her game. I don’t know. It all seems a bit silly to me, but if you imagine her baby is called MacGuffin, it all slots into place. She evidently stored some of Elias Koteas’ sperm in a cryogenic test-tube somewhere in her innards, then for reasons unknown triggered it a century later (or this film got its timeline messed up, whatever).
Chasing after Cash are two “recyclers”, Anton and Jocko. Jocko is Andrew Bryniarski, a huge former bodybulder who’s got a real gift for the comic; and Anton is Richard Lynch, one of the all-time great bad guys – he got his distinctive look after setting himself on fire under the influence of drugs in 1967, which indicates drugs were a lot stronger back then. Malcolm McDowell pops up at the beginning to sort of set them after her, as this was back in McDowell’s “I’ll appear in literally anything” years.
Cash tries to meet a fabled tech wizard, Evans (Galligan), then on to the thus-far hidden cyborg stronghold Cytown where she can live in peace. But you know that’s not likely to happen – what is, is Anton summoning every recycler within a thousand miles to help him storm Cytown and strip all its inhabitants of their parts. From then on, it’s the very well-trodden path of “outsiders help townspeople defend themselves from invasion”, but it’s just nice to see an actual plot and not just a bunch of scenes strung together.
The visual scheme is back to that of part 1, all browns and desert and rusted machinery, and they make a bit of an effort with Cytown, but you can’t expect too much. Which is weird when you consider the same chap directed parts 2 and 3 (Michael Schroeder, whose first film was bad-taste favourite “Mortuary Academy”).
Basic competence becomes a plus at times like this, and the entire second half of the film is great. Zach Galligan is way too young to be the reclusive genius programmer guy, but he’s fine in the part, and despite not being Angelina, Khrystyne Haje is an okay replacement. The residents of Cytown are the comic relief, weirdly, including William Katt as Decaf the malfunctioning cyborg – he’s head and shoulders above everyone else, but he doesn’t overtake too many scenes.
So, a nice fun final part, even if I do wish they’d step up the pace a little. I think we’ll do another series in the New Year, so if you’ve got a favourite that we’ve not covered yet – check out our horror franchise reviews here and our sci-fi and fantasy ones here – leave a message in the comments.
Rating: thumbs up