WRITER: Rebecca Charles
DIRECTOR: Albert Pyun
STARRING: Olivier Gruner as Alex
Tim Thomerson as Farnsworth
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Angie-Liv
Merle Kennedy as Max Impact
Marjorie Monaghan as Jared
QUICK CUT: Alex Rain, disgraced cop, goes on a quest to find his ex lover Jared, and along the way, maybe he finds himself as well.
Alex - A cop who hunts down rogue cyborgs, with a bit of a drug problem, a loyalty streak a mile wide, and will always get the job done.
Max - A street rat Alex runs into, and saves his life a few times. Spunky, fiery, and in your face.
Jared - Alex’s ex lover, a cyborg, and now a wanted terrorist.
Farnsworth - The police commissioner, and Alex’s former boss. A stubborn, hard man, who trained Alex, and has one last job for him.
Angie-Liv - The leader of the Hammerheads, a worldwide network of criminals, with some shady dealings and questionable motives.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! The shortest month is drawing to a close, and as has become...not exactly a tradition, but definitely a frequent occurence, my final February movies have often been 80s/90s silly scifi action movies. And we are back on that track with NEMESIS!
I came across this trailer pretty randomly, and my immediate first thought was, "This looks like the most 80s action scifi movie to ever 80s action scifi movie! I need to see this!" and upon further investigation, saw it was coming out almost immediately from MVD. I bought it, I watched it, and here we are.
The movie opens up with some voice over narration from our hero, undercover cop Alex Rain, who is basically our Deckard of this piece, as he works to keep the synthetics under control.
We move from there to indoors, with Alex making out with a woman, who searches him for weapons just to be on the safe side. But he's a good cop, grabs HER weapon, using it to blow her head open, with some pretty decent makeup effects.
Alex finds her weapons stash, and heads out, passing by some more synthetics that were looking to make the purchase. They realise who and what they just passed, and the chase is on!
I love that this first chunk of the movie devolves into nothing but gunfire and explosions for a good number of minutes. I know I usually rag on this stuff, and it IS a bit much, but still pretty hilarious.
The synths looking for the chip Alex took box him into a building, where he finds a puppy, and they eventually come for him. We learn in the process that Alex isn't entirely human, has about 15% of his body replaced with cyborg parts, which opens the door to a lot of interesting questions.
Among those questions are just who Alex is working for, and if he's on the right side in all this. Okay, this is some deep stuff, especially for an 80s action scifi movie! I'm digging this!
He gets left for dead, but fortunately he can be rebuilt, we have the technology! However, he retires and we next catch up with him six months later, running through sand dunes, with the puppy. Which grew up a LOT in that time frame!
Alex is down on his luck, still hunting down synths, and shooting up drugs. We later find out this makes him a 'speed loader' whatever that actually means. This movie throws a LOT of lingo and jargon out there, without really developing it fully. Also, the drug use never really plays a part later on.
When he finishes up his murder spree, he is visited by his old friends and coworkers, Jared and Sam. They want Alex to get back to work, and not moping around the ass end of the desert. But he just wanders off instead.
Oh, and also the dog takes a bite out of Sam, so she kills it. What even was the point of the dog then? It didn't even kick off a John Wickian scenario.
We then jump ANOTHER year ahead, as Alex tries to become a smuggler. Dude is burning through jobs quickly. He eventually ends up in prison, where he is found by his old boss Farnsworth, who wants to recruit him to find Jared who has gone missing with sensitive information.
Alex has no intention of going back to working for Farnsworth as he keeps telling people, but the last time they repaired him, a bomb was implanted in his chest to give him some...motivation.
So they send Alex to Java, and faster than you can say Inmar bello gummiberry foo, he gets transported to old Shang Loo.
Meanwhile, Farnsworth reveals to one of his minions that there's more to the story, and they told Alex what he needed to hear to get him motivated. Well, that and the bomb.
He gets to town, and hello baby Thomas Jane and your bare ass watching over him. While the Punisher keeps an eye on Alex, the cop gets assaulted by every Tom, Dick, and Robothug along the street.
Alex checks into his hotel, and the dude at the front desk is the breakout star of this movie. He is hilarious, and every scene he is in, he owns.
But he's being watched by the head of the Hammerhead gang, and I have now seen a Japanese man say, "Whatsamattayu??" so my life is complete.
This movie has spent too much time staring and talking, so it's way overdue for some action. Julian decides to go check out Alex and see if he's the guy she's been waiting for, after punching the Punisher in his naked face, and choking him out.
However, the Hammerheads get to Alex first, and there are just so many factions in this movie. The head shark gives him a bit of an infodump that there's a group of cyborgs trying to enslave civilizartion to protect it from itself.
The Hammerheads end up leaving him, without any real progression of the plot, and aside from the conspiracy, I have to question why that scene happened.
Fortunately that's when Julian and her minion Michelle arrive to interrupt Alex's shower. They slap a device on him that...determines something, but he checks out, so I guess that's good?
Before Michelle can bring Alex out to chat though, our hero grabs his gun he keeps in the bathroom, and blows away the minion. But not before the gun misfires, and we get the great moment, "It only works if you load it, stupid!" "Thanks for the tip..." It is SUCH an 80s action movie quip, and so silly.
We also learn that along with the bomb, Farnsworth implanted a spy camera in Alex's eye, so they remove that with happy fun eye trauma time!
The camera goes down, so Farnsworth knows the jig is up, so him and his goon squad head in to grab Alex and Julian while they can.
We also get some more infodump, where we learn Jared's not dead because she’s a cyborg so her brain is on a chip. Julian hands that over to be brought to the Hammerheads because reasons?? We get tantalisingly close to actual answers and plot, but we keep just making glancing blows and learning just enough to make sense.
Farnsworth and his goons arrive, and a shootout ensues, with a lot of casualties, bullet holes, and shot out walls and floors. It's wonderful and over the top.
Alex places Jared's brainchip into a handheld device so he can have a chat with the ghost in the machine, and infodump time!
Which reveals that gasp, surprise, Farnsworth isn't Farnsworth, and is actually Sam, the cyborg that killed Alex's dog, and turned herself into himself. Doing so put him in the perfect place to kill all humans, because they're a danger to themselves and others. ...Hey, wasn't this a plot that the Sentinels had in X-Men?
Anyways, that's the information Jared really stole, about who and why and how the duplications are being done.
Jared's exposition gets interrupted when the goon squad arrives, and chases Alex out the windows and into some more firefight. Kick back, relax, enjoy the gunplay and explosions and glass flying everywhere, folks.
Okay okay, I know that's not actual defenestration since they jumped through themselves and weren't thrown, but that sounds better. Shut up, leave me alone.
Nemesis: More window smashing per minute than any other movie!
We also get a brief line from Jared about how "It takes more than flesh and blood to be human" and that is such a great deep line, again bucking expectations for this sort of film.
This is the moment the film went from good to great. Because we get the most batshit action sequence I may have ever seen. Alex gets attacked by one of Fauxnsworth's goons, they fall down a waterslide as they grapple, and we get treated to a shootout as they slide through the muck, and Alex blasting this cyborg while going backwards.
However, when Alex lands at the bottom of the slide (okay FINE it's for like, concrete or something, some sort of construction sluiceway, but I see a waterslide), after taking that one guy out in a hail of bullets and sparks, Alex is confronted with yet ANOTHER goon.
Fortunately, that guy gets taken out by Dollar Store Lori Petty, who has the amazingly 80s action name of...MAX IMPACT .
She leads Alex off as they get chased some more, diving off a cliff into a river, and I will say this, the movie sure is expansive in its journey.
Max knocks out Alex, and takes him to the Hammerheads so it's back to talking with Angie. The important thing we learn here is that the girl Alex shot in the bar waaaay back a year and an hour ago, was Max's sister, so she has issues.
That's when Samsworth and friend show up, blow the shit out of the place, and shoot any survivors. This includes Angie-Liv, wiping out the Hammerheads completely.
Alex swings in, grabs the Jared chip out of Farnsworth's hands, and Max shoots his minion with a rocket right in the face.
Max and Alex reluctantly team up to take down Farnsworth and end this conspiracy, and that's good, because there's only 20 minutes left.
Not content with every other explosion thus far, this movie decides to go and blow up an entire grain silo and drop it on our heroes, as Farnsworth keeps coming like a terminaotr.
Fauxnsworth finally catches up with Alex in the jungles of Java, and he tries and justify his position, with the usual spiel about humans treating cyborgs like things, etc etc.
Alex discovers a gun in the forest, shoots up Farnsworth, and runs off. I'd say this is the end of the movie, but you just can't keep a good synthetic down.
Max and Alex run some more, jump off ANOTHER cliff and escape with one last megablast at Fauxsworth, exploding him good. I am STILL not gonna call it.
Because moments later, as our heroes swim off thinking they're safe, Farnsworth sits up declaring "Those faaahking hyuumahns!" What in the ever loving hell happened to the accent there??
Anyways, our heroes reach the volcano, and their airlift out of town...but as they take off, there is a banging on the cargo bay hatch. And we see Farnsworth's remains banging his way inside.
This fight is amazing, hilariously over the top again, and the stop motion is very well done, for what this movie s.
During the fight, Farnsbot gets Alex thrown outside, and he gets scalped on the shredded metal doorway, revealing his skull is metal. Leading to more great questions of identity and humanity. How much can you replace and still be YOU?
Alex manages to use Farnsbot's arm to climb back inside, flip things around literally, and his arm rips out of its socket, letting the robot fall to his doom, and exploding since it took the bomb with that part of him.
The is great, the explosion is a nice over the top touch, and the scream is HILARIOUS. Amazing. Every little bit of it.
Alex gets out of there, gets repaired, they get the data from Jared, and the movie is just about over, except for one last job to take out another synth, and Alex receives a letter from the REAL Farnsworth giving some closure to a few plot points.
Max and Alex head out to take out the last remaining bits of the conspiracy, and into the sequels. I presume.
Video: Okay. The MVD disc, is a Blu and a DVD combo. I first watched the DVD and…it looks TERRIBLE. It’s a recut director’s cut, and they made it WIDE wide screen, but with bad matting, removing a lot of the top and bottom of screens, looking very poorly done. Also the video quality was pretty low. I then went and watched the Blu Ray, and that is comporable to the images above (taken for this review, from Amazon, because I can’t get images from a Blu, but I digress) Long story shirt, the Blu looks AMAZING for a big fun scifi action movie from the early 90s.
Audio: No complaints, sounds great.
Sound Bite: The movie is peppered with great 80s style quips.
Body Count: I always feel controversial about doing scifi movies, but holy crap, this one beat out a fair chunk of horror movies on body count ALONE. Yikes!
1 - Just a few minutes in, and an android gets killed by Alex.
2 - Random attacker gets killed in the ruins
3 - Another is shot and backflips off a building
4 - Female attacker is shot and killed
5 - Robot girl gets shot in the bar
6 - Then her pal
7 - The dog gets shot. =|
8 - Billy Moon gets choked out
9 - Michel gets shot.
10 - One of Thomerson's minions gets it through the door.
11 - Another gets blasted in a hail of bullets
12 - And so does the one next to him.
13 - Julian gets filled full of lead in a bit of overkill.
14 - Alex takes out a synthetic pursuing him.
15 - And another
16 - Granny kills a cyborg!
17 - Another random pursuer is shot up in the catacombs
18 - Alex shoots up another one in the water slide
19 - Max takes another out
20 - Some of the Hammerheads die in an explosion
21 - Fauxnsowrth kills another gangbanger
22 - And then he offs Angie-Liv
23 - Brion James takes a rocket to the face and goes up in a fireball.
24 - Fauxnsworth falls to his doom and goes boom.
25 - Germaine dies with a dickshot!
Best Corpse: There is better deaths, better use of effects, but I freaking love the granny randomly shooting a cyborg because she hates them.
Blood Type - C+: The movie is actuallt VERY low on gore, but I love love love all the makeup effects. They’re very well done, with lots of blasted heads we get good looks at, the eye gag, the stop motion…very well done.
Sex Appeal: Julian spends almot an entire scene naked with Thomas Jane.
Drink Up! Every time someone jumps through a window.
Video Nasties: I know I am behind on actually MAKING these, but I am gonna include the waterslide scene for sure.
Movie Review: Urf. If I’m being fair…this movie is a bit of a mess. It is ALL over the place, there is a LOT going on, not a lot is adequately explained - you get enough to JUST follow it, but it left me with some gaps - and the world feels hastily built. Knowing the story of the movie, I know a lot of that comes from a very trouble production that got mangled, but I gotta judge a movie on what we get. Still, there are a LOT of interesting questions this movie raises, making it very very ahead of its time, and I love it for that. And it is just flat out batshit balls to the wall 80s action, and it knows it, and it doesn’t care. Three out of five random puppies.
Entertainment Value: I freaking love this movie. LOVE it. I don’t care that it needs to be fleshed out more. There is SO much going on, SO much bonkers crammed in there, that it is one HELL of a ride. It is a must see for fans of 80s action movies with a scifi bent. If you love I Come in Peace or Split Second, you will love this, I think. I was so looking forward to this movie, it absolutely lived up to my wildest dreams and exceeded them. So much fun. Five out of five rock ‘em sock ‘em Farnsworths.