Revisiting Cyborg: Director’s Cut AKA Slinger (1989)

Plot: Set in a post-apocalyptic future where starvation and disease are plaguing the few remaining inhabitants of Earth. Scientists are close to discovering a cure for the plague that is sweeping the country. Gibson Rickenbacker is a strong fighter who leads a group to Atlanta to gain information needed for the cure, along the way attempting to avoid the villains.

Of all of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s films I’ve always thought Cyborg had one of the best stories. The post-apocalyptic future always looked particularly miserable which is pretty much what I imagine it would actually be like if it ever happened. It’s a great double bill to watch with Albert Pyun’s other post apocalyptic cyborg movie Nemesis, starring Olivier Gruner.

But what of the renegade Director’s Cut of Cybor otherwise known as Slinger? It’s certainly worth giving a watch at least once however, if you’re looking to watch a full-on proper movie then you’re probably better watching the Theatrical cut. This is a workprint edition so the quality of the sound/picture is questionable at times.

It’s worth watching though purely for curiosity as you get an idea of what the film could have been like. I always enjoyed the movie as it was but director Alert Pyun was removed from editing the film back in 1988 and this is a bare-bones version of what his version would have been.

It is definitely a darker tale but it was never exactly feelgood fare in the first place. Where the original version has a relatively uplifting ending this one pretty much ends on a downer which I have no issue with.

Fender’s death in the theatrical cut is far more violent and exciting, in fact the film in general is more violent in the theatrical cut which surprised me. Fender does still say “argh” a lot during the final fight which remains unintentionally hilarious.

Because this is a workprint version then none of the make up or special effects have been added so it’s difficult to judge in terms of a proper movie.

There is some dubbing in places and a guy who clearly isn’t JCVD gives a rather pointless voice-over to proceedings which doesn’t really add anything.

I absolutely love the alternate music used in this version however, despite how cool it is it just doesn’t fit with what is happening on the screen; you’ve got epic guitar music and nothing particularly exciting is going on.

Because I’m so familiar with the original Cyborg it is easy enough for me to envisage what this alternate cut of the film would have been like and it certainly would have been worth watching. It has the grim atmosphere of a future gone bad filled with devil worshiping nut jobs and a real feeling of despair.

Overall, Cyborg: The Director’s Cut or Slinger as it was originally called is worth watching just to get an idea of what the movie could have been like but due to the poor audio/video quality it’s hard to justify the hefty $30 price-tag when you can just watch the better quality theatrical cut instead.