Celebrate Oliver Gruner’s heyday by watching the B-movie masterpiece “Nemesis”. It’s really pretty good. Gruner may be the poor man’s Peter Weller, but he plays his 85% android character with an effective stone face and only shreds of humanity. Tight direction and good special effects also keep it fast moving and fun.
Gruner plays Alex, an undercover cop/cyborg hunter. He becomes involved in a dangerous (and at times confusing) plot that sends him fleeing through an industrial wasteland in search for answers. I was tickled pink by a story that doesn’t count on cheesy, cop-out twists to maintain its excitement, but simultaneously delivers the goods of a sci-fi and action movie. It lovingly references the movies it takes from, also- which include “Terminator”, “Robocop”, and “Blade Runner” which keep it on the respectable side of generic. Director Albert Pyun creates a slick neo-noir atmosphere which extenuates the story.
And the action scenes. Oh, the action scenes. Hit and miss Pyun is in top form- using high-tech, but refreshingly not over the top, weaponry and beautiful urban sets. The shoot-outs are imaginative and never redundant or trite. Don’t miss the apartment shoot-’em-up where Gruner shoots at the floor spiraling as to create a hole for him to drop down, which he continues to do for two more floors. As if this wasn’t cool enough, Pyun uses a Raimi-esquire shot that stays on Gruner’s head as he drops through the building. Yes, 10 years later “Underworld” implemented this idea in a more popular film, but I hardly think it did so in better form. There are great stunts, focused direction and good acting to keep it unrelentingly fun.
“Nemesis” does need work, don’t get me wrong. As Pyun demonstrated in his 1997 disaster “Mean Guns”, he has a hard time tapping into his characters and material which makes things seem distant, confusing and at times impenetrable. He has a difficulty capturing transitions adequately, which obscures some of the action scenes.
Most in the audience will be pleased by the film’s unlimited sex appeal. The movie creates a fascinatingly erotic connection between the near future and wangled, unrestrained sexuality. Deboarah Shelton is endlessly sexy and gives the movie a raw energy that almost compensates for its distant connection to the material.
I loved “Nemesis”. It has a wonderfully distributed blend of science fiction and action. While there may be a brick wall between the audience and any hope of an emotional connection, it is sexy and fun enough to remain a great time.