Sunday, February 25, 2024

Cyborg Cop (1993)

Cyborg Cop (1993)


Programmed to kill… He is Unstoppable.



In an abandoned warehouse shootout in a hostage situation, DEA agent Jack Ryan (David Bradley, American Samurai, Operation Delta Force) kills the bad guy using forbidden techniques leaving him disgraced and unemployed.

His brother Phillip (Todd Jensen, Operation Delta Force, Ninja) is on a drug bust mission that sees John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as robotic scientist Kessel with his remote control kamikaze model planes that explode on contact. The mission goes bad with most of Phillips' team killed in massive explosions, Kessel picking Phillip for his next experiment. Jack receives a microtape from Phillip saying he's in trouble, which sets Jack on a rescue mission to the Caribbean.


Jack meets hot stuff reporter Cathy (Alonna Shaw, Double Impact) who gets tied up in his adventure whilst evading local authorities. Can Jack find his brother before he's turned into a CYBORG COP?

"Watch your ass, Jack. This ain't Cleveland, man!"

GIF credit:

This one is lots of fun. Bradley in a leather jacket gets to use his impressive kickboxing skills a few times, shoving one dude through a car window and kicking more than one in their respective joy departments. There's some seriously heavy artillery on display as well, with as much messy automatic gunfire, dynamite and squibs as the best Canon film - this is a Sam Firstenberg (American Ninja, Avenging Force) film after all. There's even a sweet car chase to Beverly Hillbillies music.


But the best action is the final infiltration of Kessel's base. Bradley is really on fire in this one; it might even be his best. So much brutal machine gun action, and close up shotguns to the face. No questions, no chances, just blammin’. He also rides a mean motorcycle just like Lorenzo Lamas.

Speaking of impressive, Shaw's assets make an appearance at the hour mark after her repeated flirting with Bradley. There's even a drug lab where all the women workers are topless (for some reason). I guess Firstenberg is just a fan of the mammary.


John Rhys-Davies is absolutely chewing the scenery in Cyborg Cop in his Hawaiian shirt, barking at people or conversely offering them tea. Obviously he’s having a great time being the bad guy. He's also trying something with his accent but I can't pick what. Maybe going for a Caribbean flair? Either way, 95% of what comes through is Pure Davies.

The cyborgs in the film may not be up to James Cameron's standard, but they are definitely Great Value. The operation scene where the limbs are replaced is pretty effective, as are the demonstrations of their strength. The pasty-white makeup not so much, but I got a good laugh out of Robo-Phillip saying "BACK. IN. ACTION."

I can't believe Cyborg Cop has been relegated to cheap full-screen DVDs from dollar stores. I demand a three disc deluxe Blu-ray set of Cyborg Cop!






Sunday, February 18, 2024

Kill Switch (2008)

Kill Switch (2008)


His Rules. His Way. No Exceptions.



Jacob (Steven Seagal with a Southern accent) is a homicide detective with a troubled childhood who lets his fists do the talking. In the explosive opening scene he ejects a bomber out the window of a fourth story window and wisecracks over smooth blues guitar. His wisecracks are hard to hear as we are well into the Mumbling Seagal era, but you get the gist.

Meanwhile a psychotic serial killer is punishing then murdering prostitutes, as confirmed by coroner Isaac Hayes (a bizarre casting) and leaving ciphers of astrological symbols with the bodies. Jacob employs his patented interview style by first causing a prolonged and bloody bar fight. The action is unfortunately shaky and zoomed in to make the stunt double less obvious, given his wig is worse than Seagal's.


The FBI get involved in the case and Agent Frankie Miller (Holly Dignard) doesn't appreciate the way Jacob works. I mean the dude slap-fu's his way through innocent patrons at a nightclub to get to our perp at the other side, then shoots up everything in his path and he STILL gets away. The two do eventually combine forces when the case gets more complicated with perhaps more than one killer being involved.

I quite like this for the most part. The action is fast and violent (if too zoomed), even sadistic at times. Seagal might be stunt-doubled quite a bit but there at least looks like effort put in by all parties, and for Steve it's playing to his strengths of close combat. The way he takes out one guy with a hammer is pretty glorious. Add in some twists and you have a low rent but entertaining thriller that's more than just for Seagalogists only.

And this makes me consider some things.. are the best DTV Seagal films from the pre-Donut Beard era uniformly? 2012's Maximum Conviction marks the end of clean-shaven Seagal. 2013's Force of Execution ushers in the circular face fungus. Now I am not one to take IMDB ratings too literally, but the trend definitely kicks off there. For me personally, I start to enjoy the films less as "solid action film" and more "fun, despite Seagal, who makes it hilarious". Just some observations on a Sunday morning...




Image sources: IMDB


Saturday, February 3, 2024

Air Strike (2003)

Air Strike (2003)


The Spirit of This Country will Not be Defeated.


Air Strike - Official Trailer 0-19 screenshot

They don't mess around with preamble in Air Strike: the mission is briefed at minute one and stock footage of helicopters are flying over enemy territory at minute five. At the launch of the first missile, the first guitar riff kicks in and the first bad guy soldiers with accents are annihilated. Huge explosions and chants of USA abound! The mission was a success but one chopper was destroyed and three soldiers killed. The Colonel needs to find fitting replacements.

Meet Captain Garrett (Robert Rusler), brother of one of the dead soldiers, and Lieutenant "Charlie" - a WOMAN (plot twist) the daughter of the General with a chip on her shoulder. They are deployed on foot into the holdup of Ivan the Terrible, the local drug dealer, with orders to bring him back dead or alive but the mission is a bust. Drinking their sorrows at a bar, a bomb goes off and takes out another of their team.

Air Strike - Official Trailer 0-37 screenshot (1)

This came out two years after 9/11 so we are well and truly still in that mindset, though the film takes place in a made-up eastern European country called Petrovia. The explosion at the bar is brutal and surprisingly gory and adds another catalyst to wipe out Ivan, though he makes it difficult. On a scout mission, Captain Garrett is shot down and captured. Time for a rescue mission. HOOAH!

The bad guy is called Ivan the Terrible and is a walking cliché. Also he is sometimes dubbed and it's pretty hilarious; like when Seagal is dubbed in his films from the same period. He has quality lines like "I'm going to fuck you to death!' when playing chicken with two helicopters. His first officer is called Chicago, which is nearly as funny. Neither actually have a great deal to do in the film; it's all about the good guys and the size of the explosions!

Air Strike - Official Trailer 1-11 screenshot

This was directed by David Worth – director of many action films, most notably Kickboxer – so there's plenty of action in the movie, though about a third of it is stock footage of helicopters firing missiles as seen through command control monitors. Some of the chopper scenes look made for the film, others are lifted from 1990's Fire Birds, and there's also pretty rough looking CG choppers - a real mixed bag.

Thankfully the excessive quantity of real explosions (seriously half of Petrovia is blown up), guns akimbo machine gun action and even martial arts make up for a few ropey choppers. There's gallons of bravado and military one-liners to keep you entertained, plus of course added sexual tension because Charlie is... A WOMAN. The best part is one man killing machine Garret going apeshit with a machete on Petrovian scum.


Air Strike - Official Trailer 0-48 screenshot