Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cyclone (1987)

Red-blooded males. We love machinery. We love women. We would love a movie that could combine those two loves into one. Well, I found one.


As the tagline says, "The ultimate team of woman and machine". Suddenly, I'm having difficulty refraining from making the obvious vibrator joke in this sentence. I need a distraction. How about the exploding car in the background, the sleek bike in the foreground and The Fall Guy's Heather Thomas in between it all? I have a feeling this is going to be the most sexist review of all time.




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Cyclone was released on June 5, 1987 by CineTel Films. Total box office earnings: $41, 174. So I'm sure the non-union workers on this film got paid last, if at all. It was directed by Fred Olen Ray, famed b-movie director of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Alienator, which I will be reviewing very soon. It stars Heather Thomas as Teri Marshall, the girlfriend of nerdy Rick Davenport, played by Jeffrey Combs. Rick is one of those dorky types who somehow ends up with the hot girlfriend while being totally obsessed with his work. His project here is the Cyclone, a motorcycle (figured to be worth $5,000,000) with a clean energy source at it's center. It comes equipped with a helmet that shoots lasers. The helmet only shoots lasers in one scene, leading to disappointment for me, the viewer/reviewer, so it loses points there. Teri is introduced to us while working out at the gym with her friend Carla, played by Ashley Ferrare, who in turn, is introduced to us boobs first at the butterfly machine. There is a scene in the gym here where the ladies shower is fully occupied by nude women and is intentionally made the center of the camera shot. That is called gratuitous nudity, and it is welcomed.

Rick promises Teri that he will accompany her to the Lava Club, a "punk club". Well, it's punk in the sense that a punk band called Haunted Garage play there, but when the guy dancing next to Rick appears to be an even bigger dork, I doubt the punkiness of this club. This is where Rick gets killed by Rolf, played by late Hollywood stuntman Dar Robinson. It turns out that Rick's project is coveted by evil people and government agents. Rick was kind enough to leave a posthumous video message to Teri, complete with gaps so that Teri can respond to the recording. He tells her to not trust anyone but a guy named Bob Jenkins (played by Troy Donahue). With a name like that, he better be trustworthy. Alas, Bob is killed within two minutes of screentime. Teri finds out that she can't even trust her friends, and soon she is caught up in this intricate web of lies, deceit, betrayal, greed and tight jeans. The great Martin Landau shows up as Bosarian, the evil arms dealer who wishes to trade the heart of the Cyclone, a part called the Transformer, to the Chinese. The Transformer is what powers the Cyclone's weapons. Landau was about a year away from being nominated for an Oscar for his role in Tucker: The Man and His Dream. He obviously won that role because of his part in this film. 

The film's final ten minutes are where we get the crazy chase scenes with cars from the 1970's jumping in the air, flipping over fifteen times, before crashing to earth. There is also a chick fight at the end that lasts longer than the Rousey-Correia fight did. I almost forgot to mention the torture scene involving electrocution, hot coffee and catty insults. There were a few scenes meant for comedy relief but were totally unnecessary. These involved two bumbling agents played by Michael Regan and Tim Conway......Junior. Because, hey, if you need comic relief, and Tim Conway is too expensive to hire, get his son because he's not doing anything anyway.

Thoughts on the film: I liked it, but not enough to recommend it for fellow b-movie enthusiasts. The first issue I have is with the villains. Not enough scenery chewing and more of a bunch of bunglers. They couldn't do ANYTHING right. The second issue is that the Cyclone itself didn't really get to do it's thing until the end. Up until the last ten minutes, the bike was just ridden along city streets at night while atmospheric '80's music played. More of the motorcycle doing business would have helped. 

I believe this movie could have been more, but as it is, it would make an enjoyable ninety minutes if nothing else is on. I'm going **1/2.


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