Friday, 14 May 2010
CYBER TRACKER (1994) Don 'The Dragon' Wilson
PM ENTERTAINMENT (Richard Pepin & Joseph Merhi) are responsible for some of the best low-budget movies out there. These guys are savvy enough, to know that it's not always about De nIro-like performances, coupled with Mamet-esque dialogue. PM give you non-stop, rough and ready action, and in 1994 at their height of power, they knocked out a b-movie classic, with more than a passing nod to The Terminator and Robocop (and Pepin directed it also)
Don 'The Dragon' Wilson stars as Eric Phillips(1) a secret service agent(2) protecting Senator Dilly, who's attempting to pass a law, allowing unstoppable(3) Cyborg policemen to assume responsibility from the regular human variety. A anti-Cyborg fraction, The UHR (United Human Rights) attempt to stop this law (and resorting to terrorism to do such) which makes Phillips job more dangerous with every new attack. Dilly's second in command, Ross, doesn't like Phillips, and the two trade insults, and 'thousand yard stares' aplenty, until Phillips turns against his employers, after they cold-bloodedly murder a UHR member. Framed for the murder, Phillips finds himself on the run from the merciless Cyber-tracker policemen, who'll let nothing or no-one stand in their way.
CYBER TRACKER has similar elements to CYBORG COP, but seems a little less goofy. As usual PM start proceedings with a car chase/explosion, and continue throughout, til the 90 minute mark) Wheras CYBORG COP, did contain a few more lulls (but is genuienelly funnier and lighthearted, throughout)
Don 'The Dragon' Wilson(4) (never understood why his 'nickname' made it on the actual credit roll?) gives one of his better performances here (in what was his 13th film, in a 5 year period) and despite the 'hokey' dialogue, and hand-me-down plot, he (and the rest of the cast) keep a straight face, and deliver a solid action flick. Oh, did i mention that Richard Norton plays second in command, Ross (and let's face it, Richard Norton is much better value for money, than the terminaly boring and highly overrated Edward Norton, any day) so you just know he and Wilson are gonna 'trade punches' before this movies finished (to be fair, with a good guy/bad guy combo like this, the cyborgs come a pale third, in the packing order of excitement)
Anyhow, enough of the niceties, let's get to the 'ropey' elements (the sort that make you spit your cheap cider out, upon initial viewing) CYBER TRACKER may aspire to be Terminator-esque. But doesn't have the budget...resulting in some rather tacky FX, and garbled logic (befitting of a STV release)
These 'Trackers' are 'Right-Said Fred' lookalikes, who have morphing qualities that defy logic (let alone, rational sense). For instance, they can produce a (badly morphed CGI) 'police badge' from the palm of their hand, before arresting someone...But (and this is the real pisser) they can produce a side-arm from their legs. Sounds cool doesn't it? (so far, so Robocop) but whereas Peter Weller had a nifty opening and shutting leg compartment to administor his weapon, the Trackers have to tear away a strip of their black 501's to produce a gun which morphs out of the leg itself. A good job these Cyborgs are indistructable, otherwise they'd catch a cold, with all these torn trousers and exposed thighs?
As for the Cyborg FX, whenever things threaten to get technical (and animatronic, hence: expensive) the Cyborgs have a self healing 'green-ready-brek' glow that emits from there hands, that flattens out any busted circuits (reducing them to 'stuck on, tin-foil attachments)
You won't need to be Russell Grant(5) to figure that somewhere in this movies plot, Wilson is a hard-drinking divorcee. But this movie has one original idea up it's sleeve, in that Wilson has an A.I computer system (named AGNES) in his appartment (replete with asinine 'shelly Long-style accent) Don likes nothing more than after a hard days 'killing terrorists', to kick up his feet, open some booze, and indulge in the sadomasocistic self-recrimination of watching (and re-watching) the fateful day his wife left him (on CCTV) and even getting 'AGNES' drunk(?)
And it's during the 'drunk' computer scene, that CYBER TRACKER has one unique scene (admist the car flips and explosions) that's quite touching (yep, I said it!) Phillips causes AGNES to be drunk by keying in a 50% 'perception loss' (when he promised only a 5% loss) to her memory bank.
Agnes "Eric, i said five percent, this is too much (slurs) What was i going to say?"
Phillips "You love me"
Agnes (in completely gargled computer-speak) "I loovee youu Erricc"
Phillips smiles, but averts his attention from his artifical computer-love, long enough to notice a picture of his ex-wife. His smile turns sour in his realisation.
It truly is a great scene, lost in a sea of Car-flipping, and morphing cyborgs.
Oh yes, and whilst the cliché-meter is running, let's not forget that, whilst on the run, phillips joins up with the UHR (who turn out to be ok, if a little inexperienced) but of course, the leader is a statuesque blonde, who takes a shining to 'The Dragon' (as per usual)
Anyhow, to cut a long story short......THE END (only joking!) But the Trackers (despite being billed as indestructable', are anything but) three of the buggers are sent out to kill Phillips (can you guess who wins in the end?) and thankfuly the fight between Phillips and Ross is pretty good showcase of why you hire Norton for an action flick (take note ROADHOUSE 2, i'm talking to you!!)
All in all, CYBER TRACKER does what it says on the tin (or be it, 'tin-foil' with this budget) It's no TERMINATOR, but miles better than the morose po-faced TERMINATOR SALVATION (a movie with a catering budget, bigger than the combined budgets and revenues of Don 'The Dragon' Wilsons entire career)
And to quote Admiral Bates: "You'd think we'd learn something from that?"
04:09 (The Tracker, comes across a huge oversized model of a robot, in a nightclub he's just shot the shit out of. Upon scanning the model, with his Terminator-style on screen graphics, his memory banks try to identify the model and comes up with names of former 'screen' robots, like 'GORT' or 'T1000'' and 'THX1138' in it's fruitless search)
04:50 (A car explodes)
12:23 (A helicopter explodes)
13:30 (A van flips in mid air....................before exploding)
16:55 (Ross - "Phillips is nothing more than an impulsive, hot-headed ametuer")
18:32 (Phillips gets his home computer drunk)
22.37 (Awesome sleep device, that would also be beneficial to rapists)
25:55 (Don kicks mucho ass)
28:56 (And then proceeds to kick some more)
30:45 (A police car explodes)
31:41 (Send in a 'Tracker')
32:47 (Don stops everything, for a hot-dog)
36:52 (A fire engine explodes, in a rare automotive case of "Physician Heal Thyself")
45:20 (Send in another 'Tracker')
60:03 (Send in 'Richard Norton')
69:34 (Richard Norton captures Don 'The Dragon Wilson', in a record 9:30 mins)
72:56 (Phillips removes his shirt)
74:24 (Ross Vs Phillips)
78:15 (Another 'Tracker')
80:42 (A cyber-Tracker AND a car....explode)
(1 = not an overtly 'tough-guy' name like Frank Shatter for example?)
(2 = But, in true Weng-Weng style, announces his confidential status, to all and sundry)
(3 = Anything but)
(4 = Who is not John Cho from the 'Harold & Kumar' movies, either)
(5 = Rotund, Camp TV asstrologer, readily available when Christopher Biggins is 'elsewhere')