The first time I saw Cyborg Cop (also known as Cyborg Soldier) was back in the early 1990’s on HBO as part of the channel’s old Thursday Night Prime series, which saw a new low budget genre movie debut every Thursday at 9pm (Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence was the first movie of the series). I didn’t like it all that much then, although I’m not sure why (I can’t remember what my problem with the movie was back then). However, my general appreciation for Cyborg Cop changed after seeing the sequel, Cyborg Cop II (I saw that movie on Cinemax), and now I consider Cyborg Cop one of the better low budget sci-fi action flicks on the mid-1990’s. It’s also one of Bradley’s better performances.
Bradley stars as Jack Ryan, a badass DEA agent who is all about catching the bad guys, the rules be damned. His brother Phillip (Todd Jensen), who is also Jack’s DEA partner, is a little less crazy, but he, too, wants to get the bad guys. As the movie starts, we see the Ryan brothers taking on a drugged out psycho who has kidnapped a hot babe for some reason. In the middle of a shootout with the druggie, Jack decides to load his pistol with “illegal” bullets that will take the bad guy out. Phillip warns Jack not to use them, that the bullets are only legal for SWAT teams, but because he doesn’t give a flying hooey about the rules Jack uses the illegal bullets anyway and kills the bad guy dead. Unfortunately for Jack, the drugged out bad guy was the son of a rich guy, and because rich guys have all sorts of connections, Jack is destroyed in the local media and is forced to retire.
The story then shifts to a few months/a year later. Jack is unemployed, bitter, and trying to relax, while Phillip is still with the DEA and looking into adopting a kid (Frankie, as played by Steven Leader). Phillip asks Jack to watch Frankie as he goes on a special infiltration mission in the Caribbean. Jack agrees, but tells Phillip to watch his back (he doesn’t trust the DEA anymore). So Phillip goes on his mission, and Jack watches Frankie and bangs some hot babe off screen (we see Jack in bed with the topless woman after waking up from a nightmare). The mission doesn’t go well, as Phillip’s DEA team is ambushed by heavily armed bad guys, as well as a cyborg that is essentially indestructible (Quincy, as played by Rufus Swart). Every member of Phillip’s team is killed, and Phillip is captured and handed over to Kessel (the immortal John Rhys-Davies), a major drug runner who also dabbles in cybernetics research.
So then some stuff happens, Jack gets pissed when he finds out from his old DEA boss (Callan, as played by Ron Smerczak) that Phillip’s mission went to shit and he’s missing, and Jack decides to go to the Caribbean “on vacation” to find out what happened. As soon as he gets to the island in question (I don’t remember the name of the island, if it was meant to be real or made up) Jack runs into Cathy (Alonna Shaw), a reporter for the newspaper that forced him to retire. As you’d expect, Jack isn’t too keen on meeting a representative of the entity that ruined his life, but he doesn’t want to spend too much time on hating her as he has to find Phillip. It doesn’t take long for Jack’s “vacation” to go from bad to worse as he is chased by the local authorities for drug smuggling, which is just bullshit. Jack ends up teaming up with Cathy, who is forced to tag along with Jack as she is robbed of her car and has no real local connections to work off of.
Now, while all of that is going on, Kessel has his team of doctors transform Phillip into a cyborg, as Kessel is looking into selling Quincy to a group of people who want to assassinate a president for some reason (the movie doesn’t delve into the details of the president in question). Quincy is a deadly monster, destroying everything in his path and then some (we see him cut a guy’s hand off with super sharp razorblade fingers, punch a hole through a guy’s head, and destroy an armored car after being set on fire). Quincy will be easy to sell; as long as the group in question has the necessary funds to buy him (a Kessel cyborg assassin costs $25 million in cash). And while all of that is going on, Kessel wants his henchmen to find and capture Jack so he, too, can be transformed into a cyborg.
I don’t want to say any more about the plot as there are a few twists towards the end that are worth being surprised by. Director Firstenberg, a veteran of working with low budgets and getting the most out of them, puts together some brilliantly ridiculous action scenes that bookend the movie (the ambush on Phillip’s DEA team is insane). The one thing that surprised me about the movie was its general lack of fight scenes. Bradley engages in karate several times but, outside of Quincy, he isn’t matched by anyone. You would think that Kessel would have had at least one karate master henchman on the payroll.
Bradley is excellent as Ryan. He’s a natural as a “fuck the rules” DEA agent, although there are times where he seems a little too wacked out for his own good (I’m actually surprised that he wasn’t fired earlier in his career). He also knows how to wear a fanny pack and make it look manly, something that’s almost impossible to do.
John Rhys-Davies is hilarious as the villain Kessel. He’s able to take a rather one note bad guy role and turn it into a tour-de-force performance. Alonna Shaw is okay as Cathy the reporter. She’s kind of annoying at times, but then she’s willing to get naked at the drop of a hat for no reason other than it seemed right at the time, and in these kinds of movies that’s always a plus.
Ron Smerczak is a supreme douchebag as Callan the DEA prick. He’s such a piece of garbage he could have easily taken the Kessel role of Rhys-Davies had to back out for some reason. And Todd Jensen does an admirable job as Phillip. He’s a little dreary as a full on human, but his performance picks up after he’s transformed into a killer cyborg.
And Rufus Swart, who sort of looks like a young Larry Drake’s stunt double, is great as Quincy the cyborg. According to imdb this is Swart’s last movie performance, which is a shame as he could have had a lucrative career in movies like this one playing the bad guy. He’s scary as hell.
Cyborg Cop is a low budget sci-fi action flick worth tracking down. It’s got great action scenes, mostly great performances, and the kind of attitude that more modern low budget sci-fi action flicks should try to emulate. It’s ridiculous, it’s fun, and it’s generally awesome.
See Cyborg Cop as soon as you can. See it, see it, see it.
Read more at http://www.411mania.com/movies/columns/306311/The-Gratuitous-B-Movie-Column–12.9.13–Issue-#upK3XqFCLIplEKvg.99