Anyone who grew up on '80s flicks has a special affinity for the dynamic duo of Monahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the mutant dual backbones of the Cannon Films empire. They brought us an incredible array of films ranging from insane terrorist action to fairy tales. They introduced us to Van Damme and Boogaloo Shrimp. Their influence on my young developing mind is immeasurable. I have absorbed their films with eager eyes and ears throughout the last two and a half decades. This appreciation has been enabled by two things - HBO in the '80s and '90s, and my last seven years working at a used retail store that carries thousands of VHS tapes. My search to find any and all of these Cannon titles has lead me to many wonderful films, including this fringe gem of a low-budget cheeseball.
"American Cyborg: Steel Warrior" is one of the lesser-known releases on Cannon Video, being produced by Global Pictures (Globus sans Golan). The most interesting nerd fact about this movie is that it was one of the few American cinematic releases to be directed by Boaz Davidson, who has produced countless SciFi channel megamonster flicks, but also "The Expendables" 1 and 2 and the "Conan the Barbarian" redux from 2011. I believe his direction explains why the movie is so enjoyable despite the bad acting and humble budget, which is typical of the final year or so of Cannon Pictures.
The acting is pretty much cardboard. The two leads look more like catalog models than survivors of a nuclear holocaust, or whatever it is that makes people not have babies (the voiceover prologue doesn't really go into all that). Mary, our lady protagonist, has kind of an Olivia D'abo thing going on. She also has three things that make her stand out in this bleak world; a live fetus and big boobs. Austin, our protagonist, looks like Lorenzo Lamas' dumber cousin. He does, however, deliver one of my favorite lines in a movie in a long while...
The plot unfolds quickly and goofily, but the flow of the action scenes is consistent with everything I've come to expect from a Cannon film. The cyborg villain played by John Ryan ("Delta Force 3") is creatively menacing, never simply killing someone but usually painfully inconveniencing them until he needs to move to the next scene. His ruthlessly inhuman prowess at enforcing the harsh directives of "The System" would be far less enjoyable if he could run. Fortunately for the viewer, in this dystopian future, bad guy cyborgs can't run, but they do walk upstairs two-at-a-time and fairly effortlessly.
This movie could have had a better beginning and ending when it comes to the story, but it doesn't need those to be a good watch. Aside from the very decent action and laughable dialogue there isn't much here, but I found it entertaining and an interesting piece of Cannon history. I would definitely watch this again with some buddies.