This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
This dismal affair leaves you in no doubt where it’s inspiration is taken from, if the cover ‘artwork’ featuring a cyborg with one glowing red eye exposed doesn’t tip you off the theme music should crystallise it for you. It blatantly rips off The Terminator, taking care not to lift anything worthwhile in the process.
The action, for want of a better term, kicks off in a seedy bar which I’ll assume to be futuristic for the purposes of the film, although the only indication of this is a shoddily constructed robot replica hanging from the roof, which probably seemed like a good idea at the time. The bar, surprisingly, is not called Tech Noir. Two gormless crooks are hanging about looking about as threatening as a marshmallow, one idly pulling out an unconvincing gun to threaten a passing barman. The standard of dialogue is quickly established as one of the miscreants advises caution to the other, with the sage warning of the ‘piece’ still being ‘hot’ as ‘that’s the piece I used to cap that old man’. This standard of incisive dialogue and biting social commentary is upheld throughout the movie, whether or not this is a good thing is left as an exercise to the reader.
A mildly imposing fellow dressed in black leather arrives on the scene, which clearly isn’t Terminator inspired as there was no hint of time travel whatsoever, probably due to budgetary constraints. He announces his presence as a law enforcement officer and kindly informs the perps of their right to be executed right now. So perhaps I am being a little harsh in saying it’s a merely a Terminator knock-off, it does steal from Robocop as well.
Crim #1 buys the farm in short order, but the second unnamed felon manages to make a break for it as the rest of the jumpy clientele draw weapons and start a good ol’ fashioned shootout. Our Cyber Tracker buddy (played by the improbably named Jim Maniaci) emerges unscathed having dispatched these poor souls with his unconvincing guns, to see Crim #2, who I like to think of as Montalban, escaping in a motor vehicle. Having not been programmed with acoustics, he reinforms Montalban of his right to die in the hope he has some kind of microphone set up in the trunk of the motor, before blowing the car up with his unconvincing rocket launcher.
Many movies can convince you of their quality in the opening scene, and this one certainly does. It’s rubbish.
We move on, thankfully, to a protest outside of the creators of this cybernetic justice scheme, the derivatively named Cybercore. It is revealed in passing that Cybercore has merged with the US government, thus making it at least 76% more evil. We watch the Secret Service bodyguards, well, guarding the bodies of the evil boss of Cybercore, Rounds (Joseph Ruskin) and the evil Senator Dilly (John Aprea). You can tell they’re evil because they overact badly, like all truly evil people, such as Hitler, Pol Pot and Mike Tyson. The lazily named group of freedom fighters / terrorists the UHR (Union for Human Rights) mount an assassination attempt on the Senator using particularly unconvincing guns, which is foiled by our two principle characters in the movie, chief of security Mike Ross (Richard Norton) and new guy Eric(!) Phillips (Don “The Dragon” Wilson). Ross ushers Dilly to the relative safety of a cop car as Phillips chop-sockeys his way through all of the would be assassins. This inevitably results in a car chase, and as ever in film of the ilk the motors of the future appear to be built of C4, and explode more or less at will. Back at the office, we see a little of what could charitably be described as tension appear between the two bodyguards as Ross is narked at Eric for leaving his post, taking risks and having a poor name for an action hero.
This comes to a head later as Eric is told to prove his loyalty by executing a Cybercore employee who was actually a mole for the UHR. Normally I’d expect it to be someone totally innocent, but this chick was guilty, and deserved everything she ends up getting from Senator Dilly. I meant shot, you filthy minded child. Anyhow, Phillips takes umbrage at this and runs. Dilly takes umbrage at this umbrage and frames Phillips for this murder, thus giving us our one man against the evil robot and the cops scenario, reminiscent of some other film, Ghandi, I think.
Phillips evades the police forces, who seemingly obey action movie law #2, all police are inept, especially at driving. They also have the standard issue Ford C4 Explodalot cars as well. This obviously will never result in a successful capture, so the evil police chief Olson (Abby Dalton) orders the Cyber Tracker after him, with the same emotional delivery of this ominous news as most people generally reserve for ordering pizza.
The Tracker, who by this point I’ve come to think of as Gary, mainly as he’s the most well developed character in the film, finds Phillips and a shootout using unconvincing guns ensues. After a bit of manoeuvring, Gary ends up next to a car which, being made of C4, explodes with a shot from Eric’s unconvincing gun, throwing Gary backwards to his death, or so it would seem. However, Gary debuts a handy skill – he can heal himself by placing his hand on the chunk of his head that is damaged. This, I feel, is cheating. After another small battle, Phillips manages to finally destroy the Tracker using an Exploding Fire Truck (TM), which is either ironic or crap.
The UHR show up and forcibly remove Phillips from the scene and take him back to their top secret hideout. We cut to the evil Cybercore boss going on an evil rant about his evil plan to replace society with robots, which we can assume to be evil, in a pointless bit of plot exposition in a film that doesn’t have a plot. Back in the top-secret hideout, we are introduced to monotonic UHR leader and ace TV reporter Connie Griffin (Stacie Foster), and her band of monotonic allies, who I won’t bother listing as they’re mainly cannon fodder. They vainly try to provide plot details to anyone left who may be interested, about some secret plan called Operation Echo. In order to get details of this, they must break into Cybercore’s lab. Just as they are about to head off, another Cyber Tracker, this time known to me as Colin, attacks and makes a pretty good job of it, wiping out all but Connie and Eric. However one of the nearly dead UHR cannon fodder manages to shoot a propane container tank as Colin wanders by it pursuing Philips. This unsettles Colin enough to give Eric a chance to finish him off with his unconvincing rocket launcher.
They infiltrate the evil HQ easily enough and get out easily enough as well, which is a tad anti-climatic, or would be if it had built any tension beforehand. However, one cop clearly did not receive the ‘be inept’ memo, and actually manages to very minorly wound Connie. Even this isn’t too important, as it’s never mentioned again, or indeed is there any evidence of it ever happening after the scene ends.
Meanwhile, Senator Dilly is incensed, or at least bored by this continual failure of the machines, and decides to finally let Ross off of his straining leash to bring in these two malcontents. Which he does with remarkable ease, which could have saved us a lot of messing around with unconvincing weaponry if it’d happened sooner. He takes them back to the generically evil Cybercore evil headquarters, where the evil Cybercore boss decides to torture Connie and Eric, because he’s evil. There may have been some other point to it, but I’m sure it’s mainly because he’s evil. Phillips humours the man and his goons for a while before unleashing his Way Of The Exploding Chop-Sockey on them, leading to a final showdown between Eric and Ross, mano a mano, the way God intended combat to be. It surprises me by starting off quite impressively, after a fashion, as they use some judo throws and whacky submission based fighting which is rarely seen in this kind of flick. However, this is not exactly Bruce Lee quality, or even Van Damme quality for that matter. The fight inexplicably ends with the two men squaring off punching each other in the face. This has a certain appeal, but isn’t exactly the explosive martial arts finale hinted at during the film.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Phillips wins, and probably not tremendously surprised when another Cyber Tracker is released to hunt poor old Eric. This one is disposed of relatively quickly when Eric inserts a grenade inside of the cyborg, which was established earlier as possible for some reason too dull for me to remember. With all of this taken care of, one thing remains – Senator Dilly. The next day, at another press conference, he casually shoots the Senator, who turns out to be a robot, coo, what a shocker, jings and by criminey, etc, possibly shocking anyone left who may still find the intestinal fortitude to care about this dollop of ill-conceived tripe.
I firmly believe I have spent longer writing this article that the scriptwriters spent on writing this trash. The special effects are woeful, the acting is at best atrocious, the plot is derivative, the characterisation is non-existent, the action scenes are flat, the very few fighting scenes are subpar and the overall effect is that of a 90 minute tension headache, but without the benefit of the pain to keep you awake. The only mildly interesting thing about this is it was shot in 1994, yet the Miami Vice-ish fashions and hairstyles on show, particularly on the evil guys would place this far earlier.