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Christopher Webster [DVD News 04.06.11] post apocalyptic movie review scifi dvd action thriller



Year: 2011
Directors: Albert Pyun
Writers: Kitty Chambers
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: N/A

Nobody gets kicked around like Albert Pyun. The funny thing is, nobody takes in stride quite as well either. In what little correspondence I've had with the approachable director, he's always told me to be honest and give it to him straight. That he can take (and has heard worse than) any criticism I can throw at him and still have a constructive and interesting dialog about his movies. Go back through the QE archives for proof. Whenever I reviewed a classic piece of Albert Pyun apocalypse trash, he was always there to leave a comment and explain his method, his madness and admit that his work hasn't always lived up to his unique visions (See my Knights review and Omega Doom review). Granted his subject matter usually tends towards tough-talkin' broads and cyborg apocalypses, but it seems to me that critics take a little too much joy at giving him grief about his massive repertoire of oddball genre movies. Say what you want about their perceived "quality," but they are all unique and I continue to enjoy a lot of them. Nemesis, Cyborg, Sword and the Sorcerer, Radioactive Dreams, Adreneline, Arcade... lots of weird scifi fun to be had.

So what's the point? Well, after watching Pyun's newly discovered Renegade Director's Cut of Cyborg I realized two things: First, that I would do right by Pyun and 'give it to him straight' when I set about reviewing the film, and second, I think I now know why his films alienate some viewers and critics. Are you ready for this? You're going to scratch your head? They're too artsy!


This copy of Cyborg is dated 1988 and is Pyun's last pass at a cut before being yanked from the project by Jean Claude Van Damme and the film's producers. But after watching the cut I can see why they may have got cold feet.

It's interesting looking at Pyun's cut as a piece of a film's history. They say that films are made in post-production, particularly in the editing room and this cut proves that a film can indeed take on many forms. Pyun's cut certainly doesn't play like the mainstream science fiction movie we know. For one, it is extremely operatic with lots of slow motion, very long stare-down scenes and huge chucks of philosophical voice overs and speeches about heaven and hell from Fender, the film's villain. JCVD's character also gets a lot more internal dialog, voiced by another actor (which Pyun may have intended to swap out with Van Damme, but I don't think so).

And talk about crazy editing! Pyun's cut borders on montage, the editing even slipping into the subliminal in early scenes where Gibson gets flashes of his past when he sees the cyborg, Pearl, for the first time. Is it artsy, or choppy? I think it depends on what you're expecting. It's rough to be sure, but I would argue that Pyun's tendency is to lean towards using cinematic form to enhance theme in a very overt way. Too overt? In places, yes.

Another interesting thing about the director's cut is noticing what's NOT there as much as what is. Pyun chose to delete some of my favourite beats including Fender's brutal theft of the barge that takes him to Atlanta. I always loved this scene for it's weird ultra-violence and for solidifying Fender as a madman. It's an important beat for the story, but Pyun didn't like how it was shot, so in his cut it's gone and Fender just has a boat.

One scene that really stands out in Pyun's cut is the factory fight. But not the actually fighting. It's the build up to the fighting. The build is longer, creepie and a little more surreal and it works really well.

For a director always looking to capture mainstream tastes, it's fascinating to watch Albert Pyun "uncut" and see the tension between the artist and the showman within him. Albert's cut isn't "better" than the version we know. It's not worse either. But it's Pyun's and that's what's cool about it.



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Albert Pyun (6 years ago) Reply

Thanks QE for the review. It is such a treat for me to have it out there after all these years (decades!). Cyborg is one of the films of mine that are a personal wound in my soul and have long festered. I agree with much of what the review says and I guess I am a bit creatively self-destructive at times. But, for me, filmmaking has always been about taking risks and trying to see things a little differently. I know that's frustrated many studios and producers but that's me and I've been consistent with my quirky way of making movies I think regardless of genre or studio or star.

I'm just releasing my director's cut of TICKER, which was a travesty created by Nu-Image and the film thugs that huddle there. So here's to another wound getting healed at last!

Next up is CAPTAIN AMERICA!

Best Regards,
Albert Pyun

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Coop Cooper (6 years ago) Reply

I love what Pyun is doing. Every time I think this guy is about to disappear off my radar, he surprises me with something new and mugs me like that dude did once in New Orleans when he cold-cocked me in an alley and only took my cell phone for damn some reason. By that I mean there is definitely a method to the madness...

Sword & Sorceror, Cyborg, Nemesis, Infection... Love these and more. Now he is taking back his most critically pasted movies and giving them the personal touch few directors could during that era. As indie (or big-time) filmmakers, we should all be so lucky.

Feel free to send me a Director's Cut "Cyborg" screener, Albert! I'm dying to see it after all these kick-ass years. I'll review it and the rest of your neo canon (Captain America holds a special place as well). Long live Brick Bardo ;)

- Coop

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Ivan (6 years ago) Reply

Hey, I'm going thru similar dilemma with Uwe Boll's Seed. Artsy or dull?

No offense, Albert. You made some awesome movies like Nemesis, Cyborg, S&S, Radioactive Dreams...

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Katt (6 years ago) Reply

Please do a re-release of Radioactive Dreams and Vicious Lips next. They deserve to live again.

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billy (6 years ago) Reply

"Please do a re-release of Radioactive Dreams and Vicious Lips next. They deserve to live again."


AMEN

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Albert Pyun (6 years ago) Reply

We are trying to get a widescreen DC of Radioactive Dreams done now but it won't be ready until the fall. Next Director's Cut will for TICKER, then a widescreen HD version of MEAN GUNS in 5.1, followed by the infamous DC of Captain America. Mean Guns will have the first minutes of Mean Guns 2 attached to the end of the DC as a bonus.

Albert Pyun
Facebook / Albert Pyun Movies

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Swapnil (6 years ago) Reply

I have always been a die-hard fan of dystopian flicks. Hell, I even loved American cyborg: Steel Warriors. It actually wasn't how they were made, with weird editing, bland music (which i still dig) and lines spoken like they were under therapy, but how much potential they had. The vision was open ended, so much could had been done, and it still was done, as we all know how bitchy the producers usually are, cutting off personal director's stuff. To cut it short, I'm really really happy Mr. Pyun's films are getting the treatment they always deserved. Thanks for the amazing cinema :).

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Albert Pyun (6 years ago) Reply

Thanks, Swapnil. appreciate the kind comments and support. I agree with you that back when I was beginning my career, the low budget actioners had a lot of ideas not always well executed but it was an exciting time.

I just started shipping my TICKER Director's Cut and next week will see MEAN GUNS begin shipping in glorious widescreen HD and 5.1 sound!

Albert Pyun

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Anonymous (6 years ago) Reply

What about Dangerously Close on DVD?

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Albert Pyun (6 years ago) Reply

Possibly if I can find my Director's Cut somewhere!

Thanks,
Albert Pyun


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