Cyborg Cop II (1994)

Cyborg cop is back! Except that there aren’t any cops who are cyborgs in it! You do get a pack of evil cyborgs. You also get a cop. So maybe the filmmakers accidentally left a comma out of the movie’s title.

But who really cares if there aren’t any mechanical police stiffly delivering their lines or wearing a vacant expression throughout the film. That’s what star David Bradley is for! Besides who needs a bionic arm that turns into a Gatling gun when you’re wearing a freaking fanny pack! That thing could hold extra pomade, spare pair of oversized sunglasses, or even a dead partner’s souvenir lighter which can be dramatically pulled out during the climax to finish off the rabid robot!

Bradley recreates the role that other than his legendary status as the replacement American Ninja (see parts 3, 4 and 5) he is most known for! DEA agent Jack Ryan, the high kicking bad ass whose brother got turned into a cyborg and who for no good reason adopted a kid way back in Cyborg Cop, returns for one final android apocalypse! Oh and he’s still doing it dressed like he’s into some weird Fonzie cosplay.

Apparently believing he’s going undercover at a summer stock production of Grease, Jack rolls up to assist during a shootout at a cocaine lab straddling his hog, wearing his leather jacket and praying that all the gunk styling his old school hair isn’t flammable due to the massive explosions that inevitably occur whenever he responds to a call!

Also along for the ride is the standard issue soon-to-be-dead partner. Jack barely even waits long enough to be told not to go in by his gruff captain before strutting straight into the shootout with his hands up and making a big show of laying down his guns. But the evil Starkraven has no intention of negotiating with Jack because Jack killed his brother! Jack’s feeling pretty stupid now for giving up those guns, right? Sure, but I bet the extra gun hidden in the front of his pants and the extra gun hidden on his ankle take some of the sting out. With Jack Ryan, it’s always a four gun minimum!

Following the death of his partner (and scores of other people we also don’t care about), multiple explosions and a brawl between Jack and Starkraven fought with large pipes, Starkraven is apprehended and sentenced to death. But before he can be executed, a mysterious group takes him to a secret lab where he is turned into a cyborg named Spartacus!

A government agency called the Anti Terrorism Group is behind the program and intends to use cyborg slaves to fight terrorism. And who better to be a source for the meaty portion of your cyborg killing machine than a psychopathic cop killer? I mean, so long as the scientist in charge of the project has the magic bracelet which controls the cyborg army in his possession, what could possibly go wrong?

Showing a commitment to not only entertain, but also educate, Cyborg Cop II tackles the hot button issue of sex in the workplace. In a sequence that any HR department who really cares about their employees would show as part of their annual sexual harassment training, the doctor is screwing some gal at the lab while the cyborgs are watching and somehow the super duper magic bracelet gets banged right onto the floor and into the titanium mitts of Spartacus. One burned down lab and multiple murders later and the cyborgs have broken loose and headed to Iowa! Because that’s where ATG has a power source for them hidden at an old nuclear power plant!

Having grown up in Iowa, visited Des Moines many times and attended both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was a bit off about the Iowa portrayed in the movie. From the weird license plates, to the strangely scrubby landscape, to the palm tree in one of the towns, it just didn’t jibe with what I remembered when I was cruising for babes at Southridge Mall or being passed out drunk on the Cambus. And then it hit me (because I looked it up) – it didn’t really seem like Iowa because it was really shot in South Africa! I’ve actually been to South Africa and I can tell you it looks nothing like Iowa! They’re like two almost totally different states!

But then Jack was getting run over in a phone booth by ATG goons and I was too busy laughing to worry about questionable location shoots. It was just a friendly warning to back off though so he wasn’t hurt and was able to get some help from the old retired sheriff who knew all about the old retired power plant somehow. (This is one of those movies where the hero manages to track down the bad guys despite the story giving him zero plausible ways to do so. At one point, Jack breaks into an ATG building and instantly finds the computer files with the information he needs.)

For their part, the cyborgs are not really anything that would make the Terminator, Robocop or even a Cyber Tracker sweat. Beefy guys in overstuffed jump suits who speak is dopey modulated “computer” voices are pretty unstoppable when beating a bunch of mechanics at a gas station, but act like pansybots when Jack is waving a flare in their faces or squirting them with a fire extinguisher. Likewise the final fight between Jack and Starkraven lays bares that these cyborgs are simply last year’s clearance models when Jack just slaps explosives on him, rolls out of the way and lets a big magnet pick him up and dump him in a vat where he is electrocuted. And then short circuited when Jack dumps a bunch of liquid on him. And then burned alive when Jack lights the liquid on fire. Don’t mess with those greaser cops, cyber bro!

Measured solely in terms of explosions and stuntmen flying through the air, Cyborg Cop II is a triumph! And it really is only half as dumb as you are lead to believe in the final act. During the firefight at the nuclear power plant, even the most barely conscious viewer will likely be cringing every time a grenade is used or a cyborg mannequin is blown up with a bazooka, wondering if such activities are wise to engage in at a nuclear power plant. But just when you think the movie will stupidly ignore the risk, the final scene is Jack and his pals running away from the power plant as it explodes! Damn Jack! You just irradiated half of the Hawkeye State!

It’s really a pretty shocking ending for a movie that came across as just another cheap, generic action movie from Nu Image. Was this suddenly turning into On the Beach, but with cyborgs and a short karate stud instead of Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire?

Maybe, but how can you be possibly depressed when you just whupped a bunch of robotic rump? So it is that Jack and his one-time nemesis turned partner in crime, the sassy ATG deputy director put it all in perspective for us when she asks, “how am I ever going to explain this?” to which Jack jokes, “male incompetence” followed by them taking what is surely the last leisurely stroll into a central Iowa sunset for the next 20,000 years.

© 2017 MonsterHunter

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