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Old school 80s style cyborg fun with a young Angelina Jolie if you were a fan back then.
Bad in an interesting way
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 02/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first Cyborg film was an early entry in Jean-Claude Van Damme's filmography. Directed by one of the great hacks in the industry, Albert Pyun, "Cyborg" told the harrowing story of a world decimated by a devastating plague. Only a few shreds of civilization remain in this blasted world, a world largely populated by ragtag bands of survivors and packs of murderous cyborgs. A few of the more enlightened types at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta send out a female cyborg with instructions to recover a cure for this horrific plague. Problems quickly ensue, particularly once a band of especially heinous cyborgs learn of this mission and attempt to capture the Disease Control's operative; they believe doing so will allow them to return to Atlanta and find a wealth of weapons and other valuables. In order to avoid these murderous goons, the female cyborg hooks up with Jean-Claude, who plays some sort of protector/tracker for hire. Of course, Van Damme's character has a tragic past that ties in with the very same goons involved in tracking down the female cyborg. Lots of action sequences, most of which aren't that bad, follow. "Cyborg" is actually an entertaining science fiction film.
What does the above description have to do with "Cyborg 2"? Nothing, actually, since the second film has zero connection with the original. In this outing, the movie introduces us to an unpleasant future world in which two megacorporations vie with each other for supremacy of the world cyborg market. One of these companies, Pinwheel, hatches a plot to sabotage its competitor by rigging up a female cyborg named Cash (Angelina Jolie) with a special explosive called Glass Shadow that will detonate at an important conference. The resulting explosion, hopefully, will obliterate the upper echelon of this competing corporation and thus make them vulnerable to a hostile takeover. Obviously, Cash has no idea about these plans. Nor does her martial arts trainer Colton Ricks (Elias Koteas). But when the two fall in love and flee from the Pinwheel compound, all of these plans eventually come out into the open. The director of the operation, Martin Dunn (Allen Garfield), brings in a couple of bounty hunters to capture the valuable Cash. One of them is Chen (Karen Sheperd) and the other one is far, far worse. This interesting figure is Danny Bench (Billy Drago), a man whose face suffered grievous injury in a prior operation. The injury has, shall we say, unbalanced the poor guy in the worst possible way.
Cash and Ricks thus face formidable obstacles if they wish to get away. Every authority figure in the city is after them since relationships between cyborgs and human beings violate some sort of corporate criminal code. Fortunately, an enigmatic figure by the name of Mercy (Jack Palance) pops up from time to time with advice and helpful hints on where to go and what to do. In the beginning we only see Mercy talking to the characters via video screen, but we soon learn he's an important ex-military figure, part cyborg himself, and heads up some sort of underground movement fighting against the scurrilous activities of Pinwheel. He helps out Cash and Ricks because he once had a wife he loved too. Awwwwww, ain't that sweet! Why can't cyborgs and humans just love one another? Anyway, Mercy can't step in and do everything for our two lovebirds. Colton Ricks must battle the insane Danny Bench in a sort of gladiatorial fight down at the shipyards in order to win enough money to buy passage out of the country. Throughout all of this action, Martin Dunn is scheming away back at Pinwheel without any inkling that he and Mercy are about to have a most informative showdown.
I'm likely making "Cyborg 2" sound much, much better than it actually is. If not for the presence of Jolie, Koteas, and Palance, this movie would likely sink into utter obscurity. I'm not entirely sure it shouldn't anyway. I'm betting the three principals wish they could forget about it, especially Jolie. She's only nineteen years old in this one and her acting skills leave a lot to be desired. Prepare to cringe when checking out the scene where Pinwheel activates the explosives in Cash's body. Jolie jerks and spasms around like a fish out of water in a hilariously bad piece of acting that evokes recollections of Elizabeth Berkeley's pool maneuvers in "Showgirls." She's just dreadful in "Cyborg 2" despite the lips and long hair. Koteas is slightly better, but the script doesn't give him much to do other than run around with Jolie and look perplexed. Much better is Billy Drago, a man B-movie fanatics will instantly recognize as one of the silver screen's most lovable psychotics. His performance here is so over the top that it nearly saves the film. The biggest problem with "Cyborg 2" isn't the uneven performances but the low budget. The set pieces are cheap, the action scenes aren't that great, and the dialogue is largely laughable.
Extras on the disc begin and end with trailers for "Leprechaun," "The Colony," and "Blood and Sand." As much I disliked certain aspects of the film, it's still worth watching for a number of reasons. Angelina Jolie fans will want to tune in to see what she looked like back in the day, Jack Palance fans will enjoy some of his lines, Billy Drago fans will get a kick out of yet another one of his turns as a bad guy, and B-movie aficionados will chuckle over the cheapness of the whole thing. I think three stars is a fair assessment of the movie on the whole; it's bad, but it's bad in a sort of drive by a traffic accident and stop and look sort of way. "
Widdle Wawa Cwoft
Mom Pressfour | 08/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In 1993 a producer named Sharad Patel brought together the funding for a low-budget straight-to-video flick called *Cyborg II--The Glass Shadow*. If Mr. Patel still gets royalties from it, he must doing pretty good for himself. That's because there's a big reason for people today to purchase the *Cyborg II* DVD--Angelina Jolie. Uh, she's this Oscar-winning actress who in recent times was voted the world's most beautiful and sexy woman? She played her first film role in *Cyborg II*. (Actually, before this she had a brief appearance as a child in *Looking' To Get Out*, released in 1982.)
Apart from Jolie, *Cyborg II* is totally forgettable. It's a sci-fi movie, the motto of which is "Future Beware." Angelina plays Casella (Cash) Reese, a cutting-edge cyborg of the year 2074. Elias Koteas is Colton Ricks, her human martial arts instructor and lover. Billy Drago plays bad guy Master Bench, a professional killer who chases Cash and Ricks around a nightmarish cityscape enshrouded by a dimly-glowing red night of industrial fog.
*Cyborg II* pretends to be inspired by the novels of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson. I'll bet, though, that Mr. Patel and director Michael Schroeder never heard of Dick or Gibson. Actually *Cyborg II* is really only an imitiation of other movies that were inspired by those novelists. Think *Blade Runner* and *Johnny Memnonic*. But hey, those movies cost something to make. Mr. Patel probably catered samosas to a dozen desi weddings to get the few thousand he needed to pay for this knock-off. Naah, I'm just joking. One has to look for them, but there are scenes that suggest some decent production values were in play. I just can't remember any right now.
*Cyborg II* pretends a logical connection to the original *Cyborg* starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. I wouldn't have noticed that connection if it weren't for a few seconds of Van Damme flashbacks. These flashbacks are downloaded into Cash's artificial brain in an attempt to give her and the viewer a clue to what's going on. The attempt fails, at least as far as this viewer is concerned. But the good news is that Cash has a cyborg's version of a wet dream over the flashbacks. (Did Angie have the hots for Van Damme back in '93? Sure seems like it!) Elias Koteas sorta looks French, so I guess casting him as the male lead is another stab at continuity with the first *Cyborg.* However, Koteas as a martial artist can be compared to Billy Bob Thornton as a musician. At best, so-so.
*Cyborg II*'s plot, what there is of one, is something about cut-throat competition in the cyborg sector between Japan and America. Something about the US techno-giant Pinwheel Corp. beating Kobayashi of Japan in the development of cyborgs with true AI. Cash is the first of this new type of cyborg off the Pinwheel assembly line. Pinwheel also makes this powerful liquid explosive called Glass Shadow that blends with a cyborg's internal fluids, turning the man-machine into a walking bomb that cannot be detected. Cash is pumped full of this stuff. There's something about the Pinwheel scientist who invented Cash and Glass Shadow--he's just a total weird beard. A Nerdosaurus Rex. Dude has his own secret plan to destroy both the Japanese and American cyborg manufacturers. And take over the world. I guess.
Cash was programmed by the weird beard to go to Japan. There she's supposed to wipe out the Kobayashi bigwigs by blowing herself up like an Al Quaeda suicide bomber. But Cash's Pinwheel-trademarked brain has a mind of its own. She falls in love with Ricks, who trains cyborgs for Pinwheel. There's something about a ship, see, that can take Cash and Ricks to Mombasa. Mombasa is the only city on earth where they'll be free of Pinwheel and the weird beard. But to board the ship Ricks first has to kill this maniac Master Bench. See, Bench is very mad at Cash and Ricks because his face is rotting off. From time to time this other cyborg chick in a red Japanese dragon lady outfit shows up to fight with Cash, Ricks, and Master Bench together. She's a Kobayashi product but works for the weird beard.
If that's not wacky enough for you, there's this ancient half-robot dude code-named Mercy who looks like Clint Eastwood but is actually Jack Palance. Mercy plans the escape of Ricks and Cash to Mombasa. Why he does this is not clear. Well, OK, something about him being the leader of an underground rebellion. That, plus he gets his jollies by "interfacing" with Cash when she and Rick get down to hot sessions of hunchy-punchy. See, in *Cyborg II* the word "interfacing" means to do totally unexplainable stuff with electronic communications. Like, from time to time Mercy appears as a weird-looking eye or mouth on any TV screen he likes? Even broken or unplugged ones? He spies on people through the TV and, if he feels like it, he talks to them through it. He can even make a broken or unplugged TV set jump around to wherever he wants it to go. Ricks asks him how he does it. "Black magic!"is Mercy's answer. Kewl! Just like the homegirl down the well in *The Ring*--only *Cyborg II* did it first! Yikes. At least Mercy doesn't come crawling herky-jerky out of TVs to give people black magic facelifts.
Angelina Jolie, who was a teen when she made *Cyborg II*, is a sight to see: a lovely liquid-eyed girl-child with ripened plum-red lips. Her tender features are framed by long flying hair parted in the middle. You just want to hug her and whisper warnings in her ear about funky old Billy Bob waiting for her six years in the future. Having written that paean to Angie the Teen Sweetie, I must quickly add that in *Cyborg II* she comes off as the compleat Goth girl. There's one scene in which Cash goes into a seizure triggered by a signal from the Pinwheel Corp. Angie's face is cast in a strange mixture of light: her skin looks pale blue, accented by orange flickers from a nearby fire. As the seizure takes hold horror fills her eyes. They grow huge and staring. Her mouth drops open. Her body quivers uncontrollably. Like a vampire princess, Angie looks gorgeous and ghoulish at the same time.
She's in a lot of martial arts combat scenes. But she strikes me like some cute kid who saw Tomb Raider and who's now trying to be a widdle Wawa Cwoft. Just. Totally. Adorable. In one love scene with Koteas, Teen Angie gets a little nekkid. But hey, Koteas as Ricks is not molesting a child, he's just having sex with a machine, OK?
Oh, another thing that's prophetic in a very Goth way: after a bullet nicks Ricks in the ear, Angie as Cash dabs her finger in his blood, licks it, and comments. "Not bad. Mine's a little too sweet." Yeah, yeah...flash forward a couple years to Angie using her own blood to write her first husband's name on the back of her wedding t-shirt; and flash a few more years ahead to the phial of Hillbilly Bob's blood hung round her neck.
As an actress Angie is no doubt green in *Cyborg II*. But zips and blips of talent do shine through. My personal favorite scene is when the dragon lady cyborg has removed Cash's head and is reading her optical memory. The dragon lady says, "You've been a naughty girl." Cash's head answers, "It's in my program."
I give *Cyborg II* a generous 3 stars simply because it's so much fun watching a teenage Angelina Jolie rehearse for her future kickass roles. She even ends up in Africa, which reminds me of her visits to that country as UNHCR goodwill ambassador. If not for her, *Cyborg II* would deserve 2 stars. It's not a terrible movie...exactly. It's a 99-minute long sci-fi flick that's about to the standard of an *Outer Limits* episode. Not too bad. But not very good either.
Funny thing about the Trimark DVD. There's some trailers on it for other titles. One of them is a 1992 movie called *Leprechaun* that stars a very young-looking Jennifer Aniston. "
Shadow Moon | Fort Worth, Tx United States | 06/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I brought this film ONLY because Angelina Jolie is a lead character. I'd read the reviews, and I knew it was a science fiction film (not my favorite genre), but I brought it anyway.I was pleasently surprised. This is a good film! The lead characters do a great job with the material, and the special effects are immpressive for a early 90's film. If I, a person who avoids science fiction like a plague can enjoy this, there's hope for everyone!If you're a Jolie fan, don't miss out on this film! If you want to see a science fiction sleeper, give this film a try!"
Not the "Cyborg" I was expecting....
Lunar Strain | United States | 01/17/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have come to the conclusion that the writter of "Cyborg 2" wrote a script called "Cyborg" until he found out there was already a movie called that. He went "Oh Hell!", rewrote the script by slapping in a few "references" to the original film and slapped a "2" in the title and called it good. As you can tell this film has little to no connection to the original Van Damne actionier. Its basically a totally different film thats only connection is that they both have a "cyborg". Say what you will, but I enjoyed the original Cyborg for what it was. It was a no brain karate flick with some sci fi undertones that took place in a post apocalyptic "Road Warrior" like future. This sequel however has the action take a back seat as the as the sci fi/love story takes over in a post apocalyptic "Blade Runner" like future. This could be a good or bad thing in some peoples eyes. I was expecting something along the lines of the first film and I did not get that. Apparently the director/writer of Cyborg 2 thought it necessary to make another sequel, a sequel I will not bother to watch."
This is a sequel?
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 02/27/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It escapes all reason sometimes when someone decides to make a sequel to a movie. It's even worse when the sequel is in no way related to the original. This is what we have with Cyborg 2. You could have called the movie anything and nobody would have known the difference. It's as if they tagged it onto the original Cyborg movie to get people who liked the first one to come back. Shame on you guys for doing this because not only have you made a weak movie but you try to sell it off as a sequel just like a snake oil salesman. Cyborg 2 is not worth much of anybody's time, which is sad considering something actually could have been done with the franchise.
The plot is actually interesting and is something I would expect to see from a Blade Runner type cyberpunk film. Corporate greed going too far in a high tech dystopic society tends to bring out some interesting developments. The problem is they don't do anything with this plot. Once the main characters find out what they need to do the movie just goes through the motions. Another thing about it is it's not even related to the last movie. Though they try to make the post apocalyptic look the same as Cyborg in some places but you also have the Blade Runner-esque cities that don't really match the original themes. They don't even mention stuff from the last movie like the plague or what happened to the last cyborg. They aren't even talking about the same kind of cyborgs here! The last movie they were a little bit human. Here they are all robot. It's not a sequel.
At least the villains in this movie have stronger motivations than the last. Too bad the subsequent actions don't make any sense. I mean if you wanted to get back a very important cyborg would you send two totally different bounty hunter types to fight amongst themselves over it? These bounty hunters are also very two-dimensional. No matter how much they try to give them depth it just doesn't work. About the only truly good thing about this movie are Jack Palance and his mysterious persona in this movie. This is one piece of the movie that is truly neat. I do like seeing Angelina Jolie and Elias Kotias and what they do with the limited amount of material they had to work with, but Jack is still tops on this one.
Cyborg 2 actually could have been good, but it lost cohesion less than halfway through. Aside from some quick clips from the last movie this one has absolutely no connection with the original Cyborg film. I can only recommend this one to people who are really interested in cyberpunk type plots but don't mind it if those plots fall flat on their feet. The rest of you might as well pass this one up. "