First Look Pictures // 2008 // 84 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 10th, 2008
They engineered the perfect fighter.
So, what exactly do you expect from a movie called Cyborg Soldier starring Tiffani Thiessen?
Former UFC champion Rich Franklin stars as I.S.A.A.C. (if you're interested, that stands for Intuitive Synthetic Autonomous Assault Commando), a genetically engineered badass, complete with a hyper-metabolic rate, near-instant healing factor, staggering array of crushing martial arts moves, and a facial expression that never deviates from "stony."
ISAAC promptly escapes from his top-secret bunker/laboratory and begins a quest of self-discovery. With the sinister head of the experiment (Bruce Greenwood, I, Robot) and his crew of murderous thugs hot on ISAAC's trail, our meathead hero and newfound ally, Deputy Reardon (Tiffani Thiessen, Saved by the Bell), must repel the forces of evil with punches and kicks and discover the truth of his past.
For all the promise of awesome cyborg soldiering, the execution is sadly underwhelming. Rich Franklin certainly seems to have the lethal, hand-to-hand moves at his disposal to fill up 90 minutes of bodacious ear-boxing, but alas, the action moments are few and far between...and when they do hit, sadly unfulfilling.
Cyborg Soldier is a tedious affair, full of the same melodrama we saw in Robocop (emotionless killing machine flashing back to happier days with attractive family, trying to piece together his memories and speaking primarily in one-syllable words) and mortal combat we saw in Walker, Texas Ranger.
Amidst all this hokum are some painful dialogue sequences, highlighted by these gems:
REARDON: It says you're dead.
ISAAC: But I'm not dead.
REARDON: I know that!
REARDON: (while she and ISAAC are dangling from a cord with gun-toting bad guys just forty feet up, peering over the edge to see if they're dead) ISAAC don't let go!
Bruce Greenwood, an actor I like, receives the worst dialogue to chew through. As the main bad guy, he's tasked with disgorging voluminous amounts of exposition, snarling about what he's doing for the country and philosophizing about the value of felons in the horrifying genetic experimentation. As hard as he tries to rationalize his decision-making, it's kind of hard to see him as anything other than a one-dimensional douchebag, as he stands by and lets his goons gun down two deputies. But the real kicker is his final unending Evil Monologue, when he's got ISAAC, Reardon, and the end of all of his worldly troubles at gunpoint, he blathers on and on about how cool a guy he is.
Lastly, I suspect Thiessen was pregnant, since she spent the entire movie in a flannel jacket that looked big enough to cover Fenway Park during a rainstorm.
A no-frills DVD from First Look Studios: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Surround, and a batch of previews.
Cyborg Soldier may be the perfect fighter, but we'll have to take his word for it. This one is slow-moving and derivative through and through.
Guilty. The accused is cyborg-court-martialed.
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: First Look Pictures
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R