Cyborg Cop II (1994)

a.k.a. - Cyborg Soldier (USA)

David Bradley returns in Sam Firstenberg's less successful but still action packed action thriller. Hollywood DVD UK R0 DVD.

The Film

DEA agent Jack Ryan (David Bradley) arrives on the scene of a drug gang shootout where his partner is shot dead by criminal Starkraven. The shooter is sentenced to death row, but apparently escapes from the top security prison. Ryan investigates and discovers that a secretive government department took Starkraven away. The Pentagon connected anti-terrorist group are attempting to develop military grade cyborgs and have turned the criminal into a cyborg known as Spartacus. As part of the development process the cyborgs are able to retain some human emotion and as a result, Spartacus leads the cyborgs in rebellion against their creators and heads with three other cyborgs to the main research and development facility in Iowa disguised as a power plant. Ryan manages to discover that something is going on and tracks his enemy down...

Co-written by director Sam Firstenberg who also helmed the first film in the series, Cyborg Cop II is a somewhat hit and miss affair. It certainly starts off in promising fashion with an action packed gang fight in a drugs warehouse with explosions, kung-fu, slow motion balcony dives and gratutious nudity. The storyline of death-row inmates being turned into deadly killing machines is hardly original but seems to work fine, however, the storyline seems to falter somewhat here, we only see the cyborgs in development for a couple of scenes before they have rebelled against humanity - the film could really have used a little more background to explain just what the robots were even being developed to do and some justification for why they seem so upset by their unseen ill-treatment (the rebellion part of the storyline would be much more at home in a film set decades into the future - perhaps this was the original plan for the script).

Subsequently Ryan ends up fighting off a secret government department as well as trying to find and destroy the cyborgs, neither storyline ever really having any conviction. This secret department with direct links to the Pentagon just seem to have a couple of staff and no military backing at all - considering the threat posed, bombing the power plant would seem the obvious option rather than sending an agent in on foot. The cyborgs themselves just end up making bizarre plans to convert the whole population into cyborgs (this might have made more sense if it was established that their systems had gone crazy or if the original Starkraven had been a political activist). Even the action scenes do not ring true - although providing a superb action highlight, a lengthy shoot-out with the cyborgs at a petrol station just seems completely tacked on and the ease at which the cyborgs can be destroyed later in the film robs the climactic scenes of a lot of tension. Pacing is at least generally strong throughout and the film builds to a neat if rather predictable climax.

Like the storyline, the direction starts off well, the opening raid has plentiful explosive action and some good squib work, however the quality does seem to tail off as the film progresses with the editing becoming rather loose and the climactic battle with the cyborgs is considerably less interesting than the opening sequence. There is considerable overuse of slow motion in places, particularly during the petrol station shootout, a scene that also suffers terribly from some very bad scoring - the whole scene plays out to a heroic synthesised choral score even when the cyborgs are massacring the police, that completely fails to build tension and really lets down this sequence and the many later scenes where it is used.

David Bradley returns as the hero and at least does get some chances to use his martial arts skills here, his acting is fine for the role although he still persists in wearing a bum-bag throughout for no discernable reason. Morgan Hunter is surprisingly good as Starkraven/Spartacus, both as the raving lunatic in the film's opening and the calm leader of the cyborgs in the latter half, he really carries large sections of the film and it is genuinely surprisingly that he has done very few other films.

For fans of straight to video cinema there is plenty to enjoy in Cyborg Cop II, an ample supply of explosions, martial arts and gunplay - however the flaws in the script become quickly annoying and several of the biggest action scenes are destroyed by a terrible soundtrack. Of interest but not recommended.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? David Bradley - an American martial arts actor who also starred in American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989).
Directed by anyone interesting? Sam Firstenberg - a Polish born director who made a career helming low budget actioners including Delta Force 3: The Killing Game (1991) and Ninja III: The Domination (1984)
Any gore or violence ? A couple of brief gory shots.
Any sex or nudity? Some brief topless shots in the opening raid sequence.
Who is it for? Of interest to fans of DTV action films, but not as enjoyable as the first film.

Visuals Aspect ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour
Looks perfectly good - grainy but with adequate colours and detail.
Shot for video premiere so the academy ratio seems to be correct or was at least protected as no cropping evident.
Audio English stereo - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
Extras None.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Availability Available on its own or as a two-pack (double sided disc) with the original Cyborg Cop.
Other regions? Available in various releases worldwide, available from Image Entertainment in the US as Cyborg Soldier on a double-disc with Terminal Impact (aka Cyborg Cop III) with better picture quality.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Titles and credits are in English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 23rd January 2012.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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