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Bad Movie Tuesday: Nemesis (1992), a blast of cyberpunk B-movie chop suey of Terminator 2 (1991), Cyborg (1989) and Blade Runner (1982).

January 14, 2020

MY CALL: The 90s were littered with craptastic direct-to-video cyborg action movies. But if ever you were to take a chance on one of them, this is it. MORE MOVIES LIKE NemesisI’m reminded of a “bad movie” iteration of Blade Runner (1982) or Cyborg (1989). Class of 1999 (1990) or Johnny Mnemonic (1995) may serve well as a double feature choice.

From IMDB—“Alex (Olivier Gruner; Kumite, The Circuit), a burned out LA cyborg cop, is forced by commissioner Farnsworth (Tim Thomerson; Trancers 1-5, Near Dark, Dollman, Bad Channels) to find his former cyborg partner and lover Jared (Marjorie Monaghan; Space Rangers, Babylon 5) who’s about to deliver sensitive data to cyborg terrorists who wish to wage war against humans. Is he being played?”

In this Blade Runner (1982) meets Cyborg (1989) throwback, director Albert Pyun (Cyborg, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Kickboxer 2, Dollman, Nemesis 2-4) spins a not-so-distant future setting in 2027. Los Angeles is littered with cyborgs and bio-enhanced terrorists. Our Van Damme-esque foreign-accented hero along with the storytelling style smack hard of Cyborg (1989), which is all too familiar territory for Albert Pyun. Apparently, Alex finds himself amid a plot to replace all humans with cyborg clone replacements.

The special effects are generally quite satisfying—especially considering this is a direct-to-video release from nearly 30 years ago I never knew existed. I came in expecting comically cheap B-movie antics, but the first effects scene played off the T-1000 getting a shotgun to the head. Of course, it’s not all solid gold. But this flick is trying its best and I’m more than entertained. Androids get their heads blown off, a sexy lady cyborg (Deborah Shelton; Body Double, Circuitry Man II) saunters around naked with Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, The Mist, The Predator), and robotic limbs get mangled. You’ll also enjoy recognizing a lot of before-they-were-famous faces including Jackie Earle Haley (RoboCop, Watchmen, Preacher), Sven-Ole Thorsen (Conan the Barbarian, The Running Man, Hard Target, Gladiator, Kull the Conqueror), Brion James (The Fifth Element, Blade Runner) and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat, Planet of the Apes, Tekken).

The ambitiously abundant action, on the other hand, is nothing impressive for early 90s theatrical action—but it still may be hitting above its weight class among direct-to-video era films. Explosions pepper the screen as lady cyborgs in tights and short skirts unload thousands of rounds of ammunition at our hero, spelunking through the wreckage of dilapidated buildings seeking cover. It seems that every big gun fires highly explosive rounds with very little accuracy as each bullet causes a landmine-like explosion in the wake of our protagonists’ footsteps.

Despite decent Sci-Fi/action pacing through the first hour, the final act plays out like a straight action movie… and it’s the least exciting portion of the movie. That is, until the finale when a mid-air-upside-down Alex shoots the bad guy during a double somersault off a waterfall (it’s pretty ridiculous) reducing the bad guy to his fleshless T-800 robotic endoskeleton. Then there’s a stop-motion robot fight showdown, which was actually rather redeeming.

I expected to watch this and simply laugh at the stupidity of it all. But instead, I found myself enjoying this B+ movie makes a strong effort on all fronts.

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