Thursday, November 27, 2014

In short: Cyberjack (1995)

In the near cyberpunk future (it’ll come any day now), your typical human problems are still the same. So cop Nick James (Michael Dudikoff) breaks down after all-purpose crazy bad guy Nassim (Brion James) kills his partner, and now spends his life as a gambling addicted alcoholic, working as a janitor in a computer research lab.

Because that’s a sensible idea, chief scientist Dr. Royce (Duncan Fraser) and his equally scientific daughter Dr. Alex Royce (Suki Kaiser) have developed a computer virus with some sort of biological component (don’t ask me, or the writer for that matter). This sort of project is crazy bad guy catnip, of course, particularly after the virus escapes for a bit and causes a nasty and deadly accident, so Nassim is soon breaking into the lab, shooting people and planning to put the virus into a microchip implanted in his own brain. Surely, that’ll be the way to world domination or something.

Only Nick escapes the first violent sweep of the lab complex because he’s hidden away and distracted listening to a baseball game and watching a holographic stripper. Now, it falls to the rather unwilling former cop to go all Bruce Willis on Nassim’s ass.

Yes, obviously, Robert Lee’s Cyberjack should be all rights be called Cyber Hard but you shouldn’t be too honest with your titles, so it’s probably for the better it isn’t.

In the wild and exciting world of Die Hard clones, this really is a rather fun example of the form, not because it is any great shakes as an action film – it’s decent more often than not in that regard but that’s mostly it – but because Lee (or writer Eric Poppen) decides to put a lot of stupidly awesome/awesomely stupid details into the film, starting with the holographic stripper (and all hail to Michael Dudikoff’s indescribable holographic stripper watching face here) as a desperate measure to get some nudity in (rather a thing for a lot of low budget Die Hards). Because one holographic stripper does not a stupidly awesome movie make, there’s also a running gag about Dudikoff’s favourite, always losing baseball team (certainly not supposed to be the Cubs, no sir), that finds our hero taking a break to listen to a game at the most improbable moments (like when the building he’s in is overrun by violent criminals, and he is already fighting them), various scenes of Brion James in an exalted mood(described by Alex as looking “like a lab rat on steroids”, which is the best possible description) ranting and raving that culminate in him suggesting he’s god after he has fused with the computer virus, an unhelpful police drone, and many other bits and bobs of excellent nonsense. Oh, and once good old Brion is all virused up, he also can shoot green smoky beams out of his eyes to – for example – infect unsuspecting swat team cyborgs.

So, while the shooting and the explosions may only by intermittently exciting, the bizarre crap that’s happening around them is more than enough to keep at least my eyes glued to the screen, and the corners of my mouth turned upwards in one of these expressions of mirth and joy you sometimes read about.

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