Battle of the Damned (2013) – Review

3 Stars

Dolph Lundgren returns to the screen as the aggressively named Max Gatling in this nifty biological action thriller that is essentially Dolph vs. the dead. Acting as a low-rent World War Z type outbreak tale, the events are set in Southeast Asia where medical regulations are lax and biotech companies can get away with unsanctioned experiments. Naturally, one of these viruses becomes airborne and the entire city is quarantined regardless of infection status.

Heatseeker (1995) – Review

3 Stars

Chance O’Brien (Cooke) is considered the best fighter in the world and the only 100 hundred percent total human, in a futuristic death match. Set in the year 2019, a Olympics-style competition is taking place with the best warriors cybernetic engineering can produce. With market shares and reputations on the line each fighter battles for their corporate sponsor, and a $60 million cash prize. All that is except O’Brien, who has been coerced into the tournament by Tsui Tung, a reptilian-esque ring-leader and head of the event. Albert Pyun’s Heatseeker is a curious film, it has a stylized look with a compelling story, but it drags on for too long before it reaches the inevitable conclusion. I must admit the final fight between Xao and O’Brien, in which the human dismantles the cyborg warrior is clever and well handled. The score from frequent Pyun collaborator Tony Riparetti is intense and nearly non-stop, the music and the film may be heavy handed in some spots, but no more so than any other ‘fight tournament’ flick from this era.

Albert Pyun Starts Shooting ‘Cyborg’ Prequel ‘Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers’

We’ve heard Albert Pyun talking about his ideas for a Cyborg prequel for awhile. Originally titled Red Moon, he has described Cyborgs: Rise of the Slingers as an original story leading up to the events in Cyborg, told in an operatic way. I’m excited to see exactly how he envisions this universe being created, and wonder just how far back before Cyborg he plans on going.

Pyun stated on his Facebook page today:

We begin shooting CYBORGS: Rise of the Slingers today! At long last. This is just the early vefx work before assembling the star cast for the full run. The Cyborg title design is by Artifex in Montreal.

You can see the title design as the header image to this post above. Pyun also commented that he will reach out to 80’s and 90’s action star Michael Dudikoff (most known for the American Ninja series, but worked with Pyun on Radioactive Dreams) about a part in the film.

Albert Pyun directed the original cult classic Cyborg starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. While this is the first prequel to the 1989 film, there have been two sequels. The second starred Angelina Jolie and the third had Malcolm McDowell and Zach Galligan.

Who else is excited about seeing another entry in the Cyborg universe?

Abelar: Tales of an Ancient Empire (2010) – Review

1 Star

Albert Pyun’s Tales of an Ancient Empire is the biggest cinematic letdown of this young year and I fear it will end up on my worst of list next December. Not familiar with Pyun’s work? I’ll bet you’ve seen at least one of his movies on cable sometime during the last thirty years. Pyun’s biggest hits include Cyborg, Nemesis, and The Sword and the Sorcerer. If those titles don’t ring a bell than surely the names Charlie Sheen, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Rutger Hauer and Christopher Lambert are recognizable. These are just a handful of big names Pyun has worked with in the course of a career spanning three decades. Seemingly every actor ever assembled for a Pyun film makes an appearance in Tales of an Ancient Empire, the reported semi-sequel to The Sword and the Sorcerer.

Albert Pyun Announces Director’s Cut of Steven Seagal Starrer ‘Ticker’

Prolific director Albert Pyun has announced via his Facebook page a director’s cut of ‘Ticker’. As was the case with the newly released ‘Cyborg’ director’s cut, this will also be pulled from an old VHS. The big difference between these two is Pyun’s negative comments against the studio cut of ‘Ticker’ versus the nice things he’s said about the cut Van Damme and Sheldon Lettich did for ‘Cyborg’ (not that he’s all fun and games about the ‘Cyborg’ debacle). He went as far as saying “Ticker did not resemble my cut at all. It’s an appalling mess and tacky.”

According to Pyun there are some major changes, “My version is set in Chicago and no stock footage. No crazy flashbacks.” He also stated this release will feature a “scorching commentary. I think people will be shocked at how a good film was mutilated by greedy bastards.” Pyun has said some nice things about Seagal and the rest of the cast (featuring Tom Sizemore, Jaime Pressly and Nas), but who knows what will be revealed in the commentary as this was a transitioning point for Seagal from major motion pictures to direct-to-video. More news about the release was promised next week. We are excited and can’t wait to get our hands on a copy, the commentary alone deems it worth while.

CYBORG: Director’s Cut VS Studio Cut

Albert Pyun announced recently that his X-rated director’s cut of Cyborg had been found. He has said this is close to his ‘Opera’ version of the film that he had originally envisioned; which he is promising to release soon as well as this director’s cut. This is the last version of the movie before Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sheldon Lettich stole it away and re-edited it. The film was discovered by Tony Riparetti, Pyun’s longtime composer. It is a VHS work print, so quality is less than stellar. The running time for Pyun’s version is 88 minutes without credits versus the studio’s 86 minutes with credits.

See the comparison video after the jump — (more…)