Review: Cyborg Soldier / Cert: 15 / Director: John Stead / Screenplay: John Flock, Christopher Warre Smets, John Stead / Starring: Bruce Greenwood, Tiffani Thiessen, Rich Franklin, Wendy Anderson, Aaron Abrams/ Release Date: Out Now
Cyborg Soldier was made in 2007, but there’s a distinct whiff of the 1980s about this cheap Canadian knock-off of The Terminator and Universal Soldier, whose sole selling point seems to be the fact that it marked the screen début of UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. That's right, the Rich Franklin, whom many of you may know from his starring roles as… er… in… um… and… oh. Well, he was a UFC Champion and that’s good enough for us.
Franklin (think Arnie without the precision-honed acting chops) plays I.S.A.A.C. (that’s Intuitive Synthetic Autonomous Assault Commando), a genetically-augmented killing machine (who, oddly enough, isn’t even remotely cybernetic so we’re not quite sure where they dug the title up from). I.S.A.A.C. escapes from the research facility where he’s been developed, whereupon top scientist Simon Hart (the always-reliable Greenwood, who got his Star Trek movie gig shortly after this one, which must have been something of a relief) mobilises his ruthless black-clad security thugs to try and find him and bring him back. I.S.A.A.C., meanwhile, has met up with Deputy Sheriff Lindsay Reardon (Thiessen) who, perceptively realising the hunk is more than human when he starts picking bullets out of his skin, quickly forms a bond with him and decides to find out who he really is/was and how he’s become this emotionless, apparently indestructible killer.
Cyborg Soldier is pretty risible stuff, really, without one original idea across its eighty-odd minute duration, and yet its very familiarity makes it easy, comfortable and oddly inoffensive viewing. It wears its low budget on its sleeve; Hart’s research facility is suspiciously under-manned and the action sequences are studded across the film to make it look more exciting and action-packed than it really is. The snowy Canadian locations (although the snow does tend to disappear from scene to scene) offer an appealing visual bleakness, and script and performances are better than we might expect from such an innocuous and ultimately pointless little film. Cyborg Soldier is a bit like comfort food, offering nothing new and challenging but serving up a quick, empty fix of reheated ingredients which might provide a few moments of satisfaction but will only leave you hungry for something a bit more substantial soon afterwards.