Awfully Good: American Cyborg: Steel Warrior + Lady Terminator (Video)
Over the years, we've covered a number of TERMINATOR ripoffs and killer robot movies—including LADY TERMINATOR, CYBORG SOLDIER, ROBOGEISHA and RUNAWAY starring Tom Selleck's mustache—but now it's time to meet…
American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993)
Director: Boaz Davidson
Stars: Joe Lara, Nicole Hansen, John Ryan
In a future ravaged by nuclear war against machines, a man must protect a woman from a killer cyborg intent on aborting her fetus, which holds the key to the future of humanity.
In addition to being a phenomenally bad movie in its own right, AMERICAN CYBORG: STEEL: WARRIROR also has the distinction of being the last film released by Cannon Films. In case you forgot, Cannon was responsible for a decades-long streak of amazing Awfully Good movies, including BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, CAPTAIN AMERICA, SUPERMAN IV, and the AMERICAN NINJA series. So it will come as a shock to no one that AMERICAN CYBORG fits right alongside those other terrible, terrible gems.
It was a bold strategy to hide all the rebels in Frank's crotch, but desperate times calls for desperate measures.
If the above plot synopsis sounds familiar, it's because AMERICAN CYBORG is essentially a carbon copy of TERMINATOR 2, except instead of an annoying pre-teen, imagine if Edward Furlong's John Connor was a fetus. And not an unborn baby still inside his mother's womb, but an actual fetus in a jar that continually gets screen time for some godforsaken reason. Yes, I am saying that one of the supporting actors in this film is a fake fetus puppet. And it's not even a convincing or particularly well-made puppet! But that doesn't stop the filmmakers from showing it off—cutting to reaction shots of the fetus being jostled inside the mom's backpack while she's running around or an actual scene where the fetus falls on top of an active land mine and has to be rescued.
If Cuba Gooding Jr. has a Best Supporting Actor Oscar so should this guy.
Alas, the fetus is only one bad egg in an entire Grade A carton of suck. Pretty much the entirety of AMERICAN CYBORG is soaked in a desperate stench of "Who cares?" Did a bird not fly away like it was supposed to and is instead ruining the shot? Doesn't matter, we'll take it! We were only able to pay the composer for 30 seconds of original music? F*ck it, just put that track on repeat the entire film! Is the script a few pages too short? Just add in some superfluous time-wasting scenes! Such as this winning sequence, where the heroine randomly gets robbed of her pants:
"I could use some new pants. It gets so STICKY this time of year!"
"You want me to take off my pants?!"
"Why don't I climb in there and we'll enter a three legged race? Drop your drawers, bitch!"
Freddie's son Pat Krueger was a little less terrifying.
If you've seen any of THE TERMINATOR movies, you probably know exactly what to happens in this film. Machines have risen against humans, destroyed the planet with nukes, and are hunting human survivors. When they learn that some scientists have managed to conceive a rogue fetus in this supposedly infertile world, they send their best "cybernetic organism" to, um, terminate the pregnancy. The terminator in AMERICAN CYBORG is an obvious Schwazanegger clone—with a funny voice and black leather jacket—except for his mustache. I'm not sure why a robot would go through the trouble of mimicking facial hair, but this one does. The terminator also seems to actively go out of his way to NOT kill anyone. When his victim is dangling off a ledge the cyborg patiently waits until he pulls himself up to try and kill him. Also, his signature move is apparently picking up anything that can be used as a Frisbee and throwing it at people, which doesn't seem to be very effective.
Austin was genuinely curious as to what the five fingers said to the face, but he had been burned before…
The fetus' mom is a woman named Mary, who must get her unborn child to a ship that has an artificial womb and can take it to Europe, which apparently is free of robot overlords. When all of her friends and colleagues are killed, Mary has no choice but to turn to heroic savior/wanderer Austin, played by Joe Lara. With his flowing long hair and generic manliness, Lara is a genetic mix between Highlander star Adrian Paul and Renegade star Lorenzo Lamas. He uses his mildly component fighting skills to protect Mary and the fetus from random thieves, radioactive cannibals and of course the mustachioed terminator. Austin doesn't seem to care that Mary is carrying a child—like literally carrying her unborn child—and naturally the two fall in love, leading to a super awkward "never been kissed" scene in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The Pepto Bismol Punch: For the most upset of tummies.
[Possible spoilers ahead] Towards the end, Austin manages to cut off one of the terminator's arms during a fight, at which point the cyborg retaliates by ripping off one of Austin's arms as well. Thus it's revealed that Austin is actually a cyborg himself, even though he can't explain why/how and the movie never bothers to clarify it either. Since Mary's parents were killed by cyborgs, she understandably freaks out and runs away. She ends up at the beach and spots the European baby boat when the terminator randomly pops up out of the water in front of her. (I guess he was waiting under there for her to show up?) He uses one of his patented Frisbees to knock Mary out just as Austin returns to save the day. And not only is he back, but he's taken the terminator's severed arm and attached it to his own body to replace his missing appendage, allowing him to take on the killer robot and saving the production from having to figure out a way to make him a convincing amputee. What follows is a final fight between two unstoppable machines in waist deep water as Mary's fetus floats besides them. It's exactly as amazing/terrible as it sounds.
STEEL AMERICAN CYBORG WARRIOR: The movie so bad it can't even get its name right.
Bad narration and even worse dialogue.
Austin's heroic intro and the best terminator action moments.
Whatever this guy's wearing:
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Someone dies unconvincingly
- The terminator's POV is shown
- They "kill" the terminator
Double shot if:
- The fetus makes a cameo
Want more Awfully Good? No Problemo! We've got Jesse Shade's Awfully Good Movies right here for you, featuring another cybernetic gem from a bygone era; LADY TERMINATOR! Filled with some of the cheesiest, craziest, and absolute awesome B-movie greatness, this little slice of celluloid heaven lives up to the name Awfully Good to perfection. Check it out below!
|Extra Tidbit:||Star Joe Lara gave up acting to become a country singer. Director Boaz Davidson also traded in his directing career in favor of producing THE WICKER MAN remake and THE EXPENDABLES.|