Cyborg Cop 2 (1994)

If you think about it for a minute, these titles make no sense. Even if you consider the title as a cop who polices cyborgs, he’s not a cop, he’s a DEA agent; if you want an actual cyborg cop, then the two minutes that his brother decides to be a good guy at the end of part 1 is all you’re going to get. But “Human DEA Agent” isn’t quite as catchy a title for a B-movie, I’ll admit.

David Bradley (not that David Bradley) is back as Jack Ryan (not that Jack Ryan), who seems to be the same character? His girlfriend is gone, his brother is never mentioned, but he still has that kid and the fanny-pack. Presumably, someone complained about the lily-white cast of part 1, so he has a black partner now, who he’s close enough with to have a photo of the two of them together on his apartment wall. Oh, he’d quit the DEA in the first movie but is back in this one. Who knows?

There’s a terribly filmed raid scene, where a group of criminals led by a charmer called Starkraven, wipe out most of the people inside a drug factory – there was money owed, or something. Anyway, this criminal-on-criminal action is interrupted and Starkraven is arrested by Jack (Jack is introduced getting out of a car, with a slow pan up his body like he’s a damn model). Later, though, he’s taken from jail by some federal agents, only for the next day’s newspaper to tell us he died. Huh?

Don’t worry, those feds are the ATG (Anti-Terrorism Group) and they’re building super-cyborgs. They’re literally called that, it’s not just hyperbole! They’ve got heat-resistant kevlar skin, special hats which link to their brain, and magic glasses. Now, for those of you thinking “wouldn’t it make more sense to just put that stuff in their bodies?” you’d, of course, be right, and just for extra confusion, that’s a big red herring as none of the cyborgs use those glasses at any point (they all wear hats, but seem to gain no benefit from doing so). Also, the plan for the ATG is flimsy at best, and the people who work there all seem like assholes, not decent law enforcement.

Just getting back from a Paula Poundstone lookalike contest

Anyway! Starkraven is renamed Spartacus by the head scientist, and of course escapes almost immediately, taking the one device – a sort of wrist computer – that can fry his circuits, killing everyone and freeing his cyborg pals. He’s got world domination on his mind! But my absolute favourite bit of this scene is when he opens his eyes for the first time and they play that servo noise! His eyelids have motors attached to them! As well as world domination, he wants his first slave to be Jack Ryan, as he resented being kidnapped by a guy with a bad haircut, a cheesy leather jacket and a fanny-pack.

ASIDE: Dear 90s scientists, stop using criminals for your experiments. It never works.

The woman with the big “love interest” sign above her head in this movie is ATG agent Liz McDowell (Jill Pierce). She’s the classic b-movie combination of extremely beautiful and extremely bad at acting, and even though she knows about the cyborgs, you can tell she’s one of the good people. Eventually, they team up, and Jack also gets help from a local sheriff who, rather inexplicably, appears to be English? Can Jack and Liz defeat the apparently indestructible cyborgs? Will they get together, despite hating each other when they first meet? And when will someone tell Jack that fanny-packs are a really bad fashion choice?

Liberally cover everything in music so inappropriate that I began to wonder if it was a joke on behalf of a savvy producer, and you’ve got yourself a sequel. Bradley seems less convinced by the material than he did in part 1, and is (unfortunately) a little weak; but he’s Olivier crossed with Gielgud compared to Jill Pierce. Watching her was confusing – was she this bad on a dare? Was she under heavy sedation the entire time? Was she a crew member who had to replace the actual actor on the first day of filming? Apparently, she was a professional acting-person who was also in “Kickboxer 4” and “Omega Doom”, although her “retirement” in 1998 was not a particular loss to the industry. The guy playing Starkraven was fine, although the rest of his cyborg army clearly got no direction as they’re entirely blank-faced whenever you see them on screen.

Talking of which, it’s time for “ISCFC Low-Budget Film School”! The way you’d normally film someone getting blown up with a rocket launcher is in three parts:

  1. Shot of bad guy
  2. Shot of good guy firing rocket launcher
  3. Immediately cut to bad guy blowing up

Simple and effective. “Cyborg Cop 2” follows this, almost, but leaves in a few too many frames of the pre-explosion bad guys in section 3. It’s not like I’m even all that eagle-eyed, but one lucky freeze-frame later and here is the shot of the bad guys an instant before they were killed:

Pay your editor, people. It’s worth it.

If you watched part 1 and enjoyed it, you’ll like this too. They share a director and a sense of humour, and despite it being a bit silly, it rips along at a fair old pace. A few seconds of editing and it’d have been even better. Part 3 sounds interesting too, starring ISCFC favourites Bryan Genesse and Frank Zagarino, so I’ll have a review of that up soon.

Rating: thumbs in the middle

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