Friday, January 14, 2011

Highway AWAY FROM the Cyber Zone

Ah, cable during the 1990s. What a golden age for cinema, indeed. Seems like they filmed a lot of grade B movies out of the same warehouse in Zagreb. Cyber Zone is but one of them, AKA Droid Gunner... Blade Runner? No. DROID GUNNER! What's it about? Well, it's about a guy who used to be a cop who hunts these cyborgs... ahem.
It's derivative in about every way imaginable, but I do admire the effort they put into finding a futuristic-ish building that's supposed to represent ivory towers in the sky. Poor guys, didn't even have a matte painting budget. Gotta have at least one great establishing shot... but you need a budget for that. There's also the obligatory scene where the good guy is in the lion's den of bad guys, one of whom goes "HEY!!!..." You think the gig is up... jig? But it's not. "You dropped this." In this case, the guy was out of uniform. Derivative.
There are a few exceptions that keep this film from being 100% derivative. The elf slash vampire stripper is but one of them. She works in the derivative bar where derivative contact is made by the main guy, the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer. He plays bounty hunter Jack Ford... great movie name. How Clay Dalton is the alpha movie name, I'll never know. For me: alpha is Jack. Beta is Frank. Where it goes from there, I have yet to learn.
So much to learn! You know who I didn't know before? Robert Quarry. Fine actor, great actor voice. Apparently he had a high IQ, but even he couldn't avoid the fate of Bela Lugosi, falling into the hands of a B-movie director mad man like Frederick Olen Ray. Quarry plays an underworld boss named Chew'bah... Chewbacca? No. Chew'bah! ((sounds like/seems like it should be spelled) Chuba) One of his henchmen looked like Tim Meadows to me.
Anyway, the plot. Yes, there's always the gruesome matter of detailing the plot. There's a guy, a rich guy, and his four "Pleasure Droids" have gone missing. He gets Hunk Lankman... I mean, Jack Ford, to track them down. Now, Jack normally works alone... yup! He's got a partner now: a stuffy ice queen who's never left the ivory tower world of the rich. Oh, did I mention the back story? It's basically, if Lex Luthor won in Superman, 600 years after, and Phoenix, Arizona is the new Los Angeles... it's even called New Angeles now! The droids are found by another, then lost, then found again... it's all quite emotional in varying spots. All a bit derivative if you're a snooty film critic like me, but it's all balanced out with T&A... which is good, because it's not very satisfying in the violence / fight sequence department either! In the T&A department, however, it's tame compared to Ray's 2000 stuff, and I can only assume his 2010 stuff. No, there's really no reason to watch this movie, unless you're a sentimental old fluff like me. I had a heck of a time finding it on DVD, that's for sure! My old reliable video store let me down!
Oh, one more complaint. The throbbing opening theme of the movie was pretty bad. Bad use of the trip-a-let. To be fair, though, I'm a fan of the opening music to Olen Ray's Alienator. I had to burn a DVD of it just for that! (still showing regularly on one of the Encore channels after all these years) This was just before the HDTV boom wiped us all out who "taped" stuff off cable with DVDs.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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