One Tough Cop Taking on Evil Cyborgs! “Nemesis” review!

In the year 2027, enhanced humanistic cyborgs virtually run the planet with the renowned L.A.P.D. being no exception. Alex Rain, one of L.A.’s finest brute cops, is partially cyborg himself, but the essence of his soul remains human intact while his synthetic flesh cloaks the icy machine beneath. After tracking down suspected cyborg terrorists and almost losing his life in the struggle to stop them, Alex questions his dwindling humanity, leading him down a path of unfulfilling revenge and botched smuggling before his former employer, the L.A.P.D. commissioner named Farnsworth, tracks him down and uses deadly coercion to force Alex as a pawn in dangerous covert mission. The burnt out cop is thrusted back into the fray of his former life when Farnsworth orders him to retrieve data from the treacherous female cyborg, Jared, who was once Alex’s partner and lover, before she hands over the sensitive information to a group of cyborg terrorists who call themselves The Red Army Hammerheads. With a micro bomb implanted near his heart as insurance, Alex has no choice but to accept the assignment before detonation in 3 days and with his time running out, finding Jared isn’t the problem as Alex comes to realize that deception has convoluted the stakes and nothing is who or what they seem.

Albert Pyun’s 1992 cyberpunk action-thriller “Nemesis” is an explosive-heavy, science fiction existentialism film never before seen, or even aware of, by this reviewer, but the ground-worked narrative has remained a constant piece of foundation in being the byproduct of inspiration extracted from other cyberpunk films of its kind, such as “Robocop,” “Blade Runner,” and “The Terminator.” “Nemesis” has a presence much to the tune of another film, “Cyborg,” starring John-Claude Van Damme and that inclination would inevitably make a world of sense when the awe-striking epiphany lands that Pyun also directed that film, also utilizing some of the same actors for his early 90’s cybernetic dystopian feature. In reviewing Pyun’s credits, the assumption can be made that the filmmaker has a sturdy hard-on for the intertwining of mankind and machine as not only did the director write and direct “Cyborg” and helmed “Nemesis,” but went on to be a part of, whether director, writer, or producer, of four more “Nemesis” sequels with a fifth being produced and shot, but scrapped in post-production due to Pyun’s flailing mental health. Rebecca Charles fed the scribal beast as “Nemesis’” screenwriter, along with penning “Nemesis 2: Nebula” and “Nemesis 3: Time Lapse.”

Alex Rain is a cold cut character, sliced thick like a cool cucumber on top of a hard to wedge salad. Rain’s iciness symbolizes his downtrodden humanity status and with each part of his body shattered from destruction, he becomes one step closer to being an automaton with eye brows. B-movie action star Olivier Guner essentially make a big career breakthrough with “Nemesis” as his sophomore feature. Guner’s military background suitably solidifies his physique as a workaholic cyborg cop while also presenting a rough cut speech impediment that’s very straight forward and without emotion. Some would say that Gruner’s approach fits his half-human, half-toaster oven character and I would say that would be correct. The 80’s and 90’s saw a crowded entry list of action stars, including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many others in various degrees of success – and Olivier Gruner became one of those faces that had since then been lost over the years; Gruner’s performance in “Nemesis” lacked pizazz which could have been the contributing factor to his success, but the monotonic, unflattering one-liners and blank face stare didn’t spark any fires on top of his average muscular frame. His performance, to keep with the fire motif, didn’t provide the oxygen, a combustible, or a flammable source to quickly set ablaze a trail for semi-popularity amongst his peers and that’s where “Nemesis” falters in entertainment value. Comparatively, “Trancers” franchise actor, Tim Thomerson, is full of range and vigor as an concealing Commissioner Farnsworth. Thomerson, in his early 40’s at the time of filming, displayed an impressive physicality to his role, keeping up nicely with his onscreen rival. Farnsworth, from the get-go, reeks of desperation when pressuring Alex to do his bidding and Thomerson really nails the part and can switch on the proverbial dime as an egocentric field operative when chasing Alex through the jungles on the Hawaii set. The night and day performance is a stark contrast between the two actors. What’s mostly disappointing about “Nemesis’” cast that favorable characters come and go; some the characters a pinned with terrific actors such as Shang Tsung himself, “Mortal Kombat’s” Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, as the leader of The Red Army Hammerheads and the late, great Brion James (“Red Heat”) chirping a lousy German accent of the Commissioner’s right hand man. The cast has many other recognizable names that, again, come and go, including a strung out looking Merle Kennedy (“Night of the Demons 2”) as Max Impact, Marjorie Monaghan as the algorithmic beauty Jared, Vincent Klyn (“Cyborg”) as a disposable bodyguard, an extremely fit and nude Deborah Shelton (“Body Double”), voice actor Nicholas Guest (“Dollman”), brief cameo by Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”), a fresh faced version of “The Predator’s” Thomas Jane, and Thomas Jane’s bare ass.

The financial backing was obviously designated for a particular department in the “Nemesis” workshop and that department was special effects. Explosions, rotoscoping, stop-motion, sculpture, implosions, practical effects and makeup are just the tip of the iceberg. Frayed wires and eye ball cannons are the elegant touch that makes “Nemesis” a cult favorite and bring substance to a clunky storyline and divisively dynamic acting. However, not all the specials are pinpoint precision and grounded by reality. The one scene that stands above the rest when Farnsworth is hot in pursuit of Alex and Max and he’s shelling off rounds of a shotgun, standing relatively still, blasting away without moving the barrel around to compensate for his prey’s length of distance gained or even when they decided to make quick pivots in direction. Somehow, the rounds hit very close to Alex and Max and that’s not all, they even explode like a single stick of TNT. ACME must have had a hand in the special effects department because the scene sure was loony. Yet, the implosion of a monolithic silo was uber-impressive, well-executed, and really ritzy for the silver screen.

Imperial Entertainment’s “Nemesis” infiltrates onto another home video release, a region free, dual DVD and Hi-Def 1080p Blu-ray format release, from MVDVisual under their MVD Rewind Collection series. Sheathed by a slick, retro-grade slipcover with familiar art, reminiscent of the now decade old Sterling DVD release, the special collector’s edition provides two aspect ratios, an anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 and a widescreen 1.78:1. This MVDVisual Release has stellar detail in the texture and in framing that are exhibited in various tint shades, such as yellow and blue, and eventually cough up toward a more natural look into the second act when Alex reaches the rough neighborhood of Shang Loo, Java. Even though the visual compositions and mold work doesn’t pop with color and are a bit fuzzy, “Nemesis” is a product of it’s time, the early 1990’s and you can’t fault Pyun’s film for that. The English 5.1 surround sound is beautiful. So beautiful and potent, in fact, that you can actually understand Olivier Gruner’s mumbling, putting dialogue for all characters right into the front row while offering a stimulating range and depth of ambience sound, an unlimited variety of explosions, and plenty of miscellany cyborg hubbub. Other language are available, including French, German, as well as English in 2.0 stereo and there are English and German SDH subtitles available The Blu-ray bonus features include new interviews with producer Eric Karson and director Albert Pyun, “Nemesis 2.0” the director’s cut with Albert Pyun audio commentary, and original theatrical trailer. The DVD is the director’s cut and also includes the Japanese cut with Japanese subtitles burnt-in. Bonus features for the DVD include introductions by the director Albert Pyun and star Olivier Gruner, an afterword by Albert Pyun, a behind-the-scenes featurette, an interview with star Olivier Gruner, the making of segment involving the hefty special effects, stunt work, and visual effects, a featurette entitled “Killcount,” a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, TV spots, Key Art Photo gallery, and, top it all off, a mini-poster inside the casing. Inside a killer definitive, two-format and disc set from MVDvisual, “Nemesis” hones in on the existentialism notion of what being human actually means to each and every one of us through the bombardment of gun fights and jumbo explosions on top of a conglomerate cyborg coup that peaks with hard bodies and even harder viewer contemplation.

In A World of Evil, An Embryo Becomes the Hero. “Mécanix” review!

In a dystopian of metallic wires, continuously spinning gears, and nightmarish creatures, human beings are being driven extinction, enslaved by these same terror creatures that rule the human’s once empowered world. Rounded up like mindless cattle for vivisection, humans dwindle in numbers and in spirit. When one human stumbles upon the embryo, the only object to which the creatures fear and the reason for the humans being vivisected, a new hope of freedom emerges out from the last of the human beings as the last freeborn man implants the embryo inside him. As the horrid creatures learn of the embryo’s whereabouts, a means to an end of their existence drives a frantic frenzy of nonstop destruction before their race becomes obliterated by the embryo’s uniting power.
“Mécanix” is a stop-motion, German Expressionistic film that’s a hard sell for most audiences. Director Rémy M. Larochelle and producer Philippe Chabot have extracted hell and beauty out of an idea of post technology cataclysm inspired by the DIY filmmaking. Spanning over a four year production and then another ten 13 years until U.S. DVD distribution, the 2003 released “Mécanix” creeps to make a cult film impact, but Larochelle’s film is making an impact nonetheless. The experimental nature, the stop-motion effects, and the entrenched expressionism of symbolism makes “Mécanix” unique and memorable thats a labor of love stemmed from Larochelle’s painting, drawings, and sculptures.
Back more than a decade ago, Larochelle sought to display technology and human interaction organically. The film doesn’t necessarily setup the series of cataclysmic events and lays down layers of assumption that humans have created technology and technology eventually goes Terminator coup, but, as if believing in the existence of the circle of life, technology can’t maintain without the human element and so they’re alignment ultimately comes together. “Mécanix” is a representation of that alignment that’s deeply subjective and disturbing, yet oddly fascinating, hooking automated teeth into an unsuspecting viewer.
Aforementioned, “Mécanix” took four years to completely conjure into a 70-minute motion picture feature. Within that time span, Larochelle painstakingly and thoroughly guides every aspect of the special effects, creating reality and fantasy together from through a 16mm camera to the spectacular finished product on screen, making the composited material flush and fitting for visual consumption. Also, ambient audio flawlessly helps bringing the sculpted terrifying creatures come alive who wield bulbous arms of clanky rebar and fleshy pulp, bares unidentifiable skulls protruding through cyborg tissue, and slither across the floor through dark crevices and nooks.
“Mécanix” isn’t an overly gory film, but it’s a hellishly wretched one coming out of Canada. Brief scenes of self-mutilation and depicted re-arrangements of the human anatomy are as about as graphic as “Mécanix” gets, subtly hinting more at explicit content. Stéphane Bilodeau’s freeborn man character, the male lead, and Julie-Anne Côté’s character, the female lead, born from the embryo have light weight speaking roles. The creatures communicate much more of their need for the embryo, giving inanimate characters a good slice of the dialogue, yet Bilodeau and Côté singularly convey their scenes appropriately despite never being in the same scene together. The two main characters present the only non-mechanical beings. Even the humans who are enslaved have a rigidness about them, android-like, while serving their master creatures, who some even don the use a wheelchair to move around – technology needs technology to maintain life sustainability.
Unearthed Films and MVDVisual brings the IPS Films, Creatio Ex Hihl & Avant-Gore Films “Mécanix” to the U.S. home entertainment market 13 years after the world premiere. Being Rémy M. Larochelle’s only feature film to credit, the director can’t be compared to his other work obviously, but “Mécanix” is a fine debut, especially with the amount of sacrifice put into his inspired “Begotten” similar artistic style. The DVD is presented in a in 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratio with a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that’s suitable for the drowning tone soundtrack from Southern Lord’s doom metal group Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine. The video quality is an attribute to 16mm standards, containing speckles of imperfections that simple add to the charm. The only extra included is an unorganized, yet entertaining interview with director Rémy M. Larochelle and Philippe Chabot, geeking out over answering prepped questions about the film’s formation and inspiration. “Mécanix” rarity will be the prayerful hope and the ultimate declination towards the film’s success as the market for experimental is never catchy with audiences, but the uncontrollable gawking over the “Mécanix” mechanical creatures and practical effects becomes unavoidable.

Buy “Mecanix” at Amazon! Experimental stop-motion horror that’s can’t be unseen!