I know it sounds strange to say that Cyborg 2 is an engaging and well-crafted B science fiction movie. The first part, starring Jean Claude Van Damme overshadowed this little gem with all the action and controversy. A little gem with a very memorable atmosphere. Dark and with a cyberpunk vibe to it, it captivated me every time I saw it. It’s an obvious homage to Blade Runner, especially with those wide shots of the city. First of all, the storytelling is much more coherent as we move away from the martial arts genre. We’re following a cyborg and a human on the run from an evil corporation. All the usual themes of the nineties are here with corporations and stock market manipulation. And the desire to be the richest, most powerful asshole in the world. It has little to do with the original being a sequel only in name.
Secondly, the production values are quite good for this type of movie. We will be visiting nightclubs, corporate offices and spending a lot of time just running through the dark alleys of the decaying cities. Each location looks believable with this grimy coating all over it. Mostly because of all the work the crew put into this setting it up. That effort really shows, similarly to our next aspect of analysis. Thirdly, the characters we will meet are very well written and authentic. And while our main couple may be stereotypical what with the whole cyborg-human romance, the rest of them are creative and intriguing. Like the utterly demented and insanely fun bounty hunter Danny Bench. Just like in the original, we got one hell of a villain played by one of the legends of nineties B movies Billy Drago.
It is the year of our lord Satan 2074 and the world is a much different place than it was in the last century. Cyborgs are a common thing now as they’ve replaced humans in almost every aspect. Two powerful corporations, Pinwheel from the USA and Kobayashi from Japan rule the market and the world with their models. The race to make the best cyborg is on and as it usually happens, people are going to get hurt in the process. People like Colton Ricks, martial arts instructor hired to work with cyborgs. However, he will soon find himself on the run along with his latest apprentice, a female cyborg that goes by the name of Cash. The two of them will be helped by a mysterious man able to hack into any device, guiding them towards an unsafe exit.
Finally, the thing that binds all these aspects of Cyborg 2 together is the acting. The cast did a terrific job. Elias Koteas did his best Bruce Willis impression and Billy’s hauntingly visceral performance was a sight to behold. A similar duo will grace the movie theaters a couple of years later in Luc Besson’s masterpiece The Fifth Element. However, the star of this movie is young Angelina Jolie in her first lead role. She was only 18 years old when she joined the cast of the movie. You could see right away that she has loads of potential with the deadly combination of beauty and natural acting skills. And yes, in case you were wondering, this is one of those “some nudity required” movies. And I’m not saying it’s worth watching just for those scenes. Mostly because this is a thoroughly entertaining movie that has a lot to offer.
There are a lot of fun little details that I will leave for you to discover if you dare to venture into the adventure that is Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow. It’s definitely a much better movie than the original and the third part titled The Recycler. If you’re looking for similar movies check out Nemesis, Hardware, Cherry 2000, Johnny Mnemonic and Escape from New York. And if you want to know more about the hilarious, insane and ultimately nineties story about how the original came to be check out: Cyborg  – A Detailed Look Into B Movie Gold.
Director: Michael Schroeder
Writers: Ron Yanover, Mark Geldman, Michael Schroeder
Cast: Elias Koteas, Angelina Jolie, Jack Palance, Billy Drago, Karen Sheperd, Allen Garfield, Ric Young
Fun Facts: Angelina Jolie told The New York Times in 2001 about this movie: “After I saw it, I went home and got sick.”