Cyborg (1989)

cyborg poster 1989 movie jean claude van damme
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Better than some Jean-Claude Van Damme films

The cyborg and the cure seems almost incidental to Van Damme's backstory and love interest, fights have no energy

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cyborg

Studio:  The Cannon Group

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  April 7, 1989

MPAA Rating:  R


Ok…I just wanted a little off the top!

The world has been ravaged by a virus leaving the human population fighting for survival.  When the hope for a cure might be in New York City, Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon) volunteers to become a cyborg to transport the information for the hope of humanity’s survival.  Pirates led by Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn) target Pearl for capture due to her value and Pearl’s only hope may be in a mercenary named Gibson Rickenbacker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who is also hunting Fender.  While Rickenbacker only cares about revenge on Fender, a woman named Nady Simmons (Deborah Richter) tries convinces Gibson that humanity might count on the rescue of Pearl.


Oh no! Even in the future there are ’80s punks!

Directed by Albert Pyun, Cyborg is a sci-fi action-adventure film set in a post-apocalyptic future.  The movie is an amalgam of plots, sets, and costumes from a proposed sequel to the live Masters of the Universe film and an early attempt at a live action Spider-Man that fell through.  The movie was heavily edited to avoid an X rating and generally was panned by critics.

I had never seen Cyborg but was always curious about its ties to Masters of the Universe since I was a big fan as a kid.  I watched the film and could see some of how the ’87 could be transformed into this film (but don’t see much Spider-Man at all).  The movie however was a rather dull and oddly flat action-film.

Yep...just your average day in a distopian future...

Yep…just your average day in a dystopian future…

The problem with Cyborg really isn’t the basic concept which borrows from a lot of sci-fi genre films sometimes covertly and sometimes more blatantly.  The movie has similarities to Blade Runner, Mad Max, and other movies even through names but also feels like an amalgam of a lot of other “post-apocalypse” style sci-fi that came before and after this film.  It gets bogged down in having too many storylines going at once and the rescue of the cyborg and humanity kind of gets put on the backburner with the Gibson-Nady sexual tension and the haunted past between Gibson and Fender (which then adds the character of Haley who was raised essentially raised by Fender).


When I said I was J.C., I meant Jean-Claude…not that other guy!

The movie was a very early outing for Jean-Claude Van Damme who had just made Bloodsport.  Though he generally is a decent fighter in films, Jean-Claude is very wooden like a lot of action starts, but never really got into the zingers like Schwarzenegger and Stallone.  He’s backed by a rather bland cast though I do like the overly done creepy Fender played by Vincent Klyn, and I wish that the story had focused more on Dayle Haddon’s Pearl…Her acting was mechanical, but at least it was allowed to be due to the plot…the other cast members do not have the luxury of that excuse.


Love the part where Dolph Lundgren gets thrown into the thresher…wait…that’s another movie ending?

The action of the movie hurts Cyborg.  I’m fine with the fact is a rather low tech future (minus the Pearl cyborg aspect), but the movie is hurt by really slow, tedious fights.  The movie just seems to sleepwalk through fights and there doesn’t seem to be much energy or action (though a fight did permanently blind one of the eyes of an actor leading to a lawsuit against Van Damme).  It might just be a jaded movie fan who has seen so many fights and much more improved fighting in recent years but the action just isn’t action-y enough or sci-fi-y enough for me (plus, the ending fight in the rain is very, very similar to the ending of Universal Soldier which is better but came later).

Cyborg is a rather average movie that misses a lot of areas for exploration.  I think that with some better tuning and more original plotting that Cyborg could have been more fun, but as it turned out, the movie is a bit of a snoozer.  Cyborg was followed by the largely unrelated Cyborg 2 in 1993.

Related Links:

Cyborg 2:  Glass Shadow (1993)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response