They engineered the perfect fighter.
I.S.A.A.C. (that's Intuitive Synthetic Autonomous Assault Commando if you were wondering) is a prototype soldier that was created in a lab, played by UFC star Rich Franklin. As part of his training he was ordered to do something that he didn't agree with. Cyborgs aren't meant to agree or disagree with anything, they are meant to just do, so this caused problems and Isaac (I'm not writing it as an acronym every damn time) escapes. With both his creator Simon Hart (Bruce Greenwood, Passenger 57) and a crack force of (non-cyborg) soldiers after him, Isaac takes the unlucky Deputy Lindsey Reardon (Tiffani Thiessen) hostage. The crack force have killed the Deputy's partner and planted her weapon on the scene so as to make it easier to track them down as all police in the state are looking for them now. Isaac has troubles understanding who he is and the Deputy tries to keep him safe from danger.
This movie was okay. It was solid enough as a movie with a plot but as an action movie it was a let down. As a sci-fi movie it was a let down too as we never even got to see the traditional Terminator viewpoint from the character's eyes, so essentially he was just a UFC star (which he is). The last fifteen minutes, as usual, is when things get into gear and we get a few nice fights, shootouts and explosions. It's a shame then that for the rest of the movie Isaac and the Deputy seem to just be running and driving away from things. We see in the first few scenes how Isaac can take a bullet or fifty but he doesn't become the super-soldier weapon of death that I was hoping for. He shoots to wound, helps lost children and is trying to learn about Jesus.
That's an issue I had with this; the persistent religious overtones. I guess the film's producers were trying to ram home that this guy was still human, but we already knew that due to the lack of cool sci-fi-ness. He visits graves, asks if holding cross necklaces 'helps', and it all seemed a bit un-neccesary. Other than that it's a generic mashup of Terminator, Universal Soldier and The Fugitive. There's even a scene where Isaac is plucking bullets out of his chest that his self-repair nanobots will then take care of. There is also the usual "I don't understand these human ways" scenes where Isaac 'hilariously' consumes a whole jar of sugar, then orders everything on off the menu at a truck-stop cafe.
Tiffani Thiessen was okay as the sidekick though looked like she had been slapped in the face with a trout most of the movie. Again I would understand this if the cyborg had a shoulder-mounted laser cannon but he doesn't, and after the bullet-removal scene is just a regular guy in jeans with a monotone voice. I was wondering where I knew her from and it turns out she was Kelly Kapowski in 74 episodes of Saved by the Bell. I loved that show when I was 12 but I bet I would cringe at it now. I always wanted to punch 'Screech' in the head.
I don't hate this movie but I don't love it. I actually don't have any real feelings for it whatsoever as it left very little impression on me. Is that strange? Franklin was fine in the role, but the role demanded nothing much from him. It could have been written so that it did. The producers were trying to play more with the emotional side of things and forgot that the movie was freaking called CYBORG SOLDIER. Blow more things up! Give him a robotic voice! Attach a rocket launcher to his arm! Do SOMETHING. Luc Deveraux (JCVD in Universal Soldier) managed to break his programming and kick arse, so why couldn't Isaac? Maybe this movie needed Dolph in it.
Cyborg Soldier apparently has Matt Smith aka the current Doctor Who playing a character called J.D. It must have been a blink and you'll miss it moment because I blinked, and missed it.
The R1 disc from Firstlook was as sharp as a pin prick, though the audio tracks were very quiet (so crank up the volume). Strong colours, strong blacks, all the usual. There is also a new (at the time of this review) region 4 release available. Runtime 85 minutes.
eBay for a dollar.