Jump to: Spoilers (6)
Jean-Claude Van Damme accidentally wounded Jackson 'Rock' Pinckney's eye during a swordfight scene, permanently blinding him in that eye. He took Van Damme to court, and eventually won a settlement.
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This was the last official theatrical release for Cannon Films after going bankrupt in 1987.
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This film was conceived to use the costumes and sets built for a Masters of the Universe (1987) sequel and a live action 'Spider-Man' film. Albert Pyun planned to shoot both projects simultaneously. Cannon Films had to cancel deals with Mattel and Marvel because of their financial troubles, and they needed to recoup the money spent on both projects. Pyun created the film's script, under the pseudonym of Kitty Chalmers, using two previous scripts, "Johnny Guitar" and "Alex Rain". Some network television channels still give the film's title as 'Masters of the Universe 2: Cyborg,' leading people to think it's a sequel.
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The MPAA originally gave the film an "X" rating. Numerous cuts got it rated "R", including a good deal of blood in the village massacre and one character's death scene.
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The test screening was a disaster. Only one out of 100 people surveyed liked the film. Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus tried to convince Jean-Claude Van Damme to allow them to release the movie as it was. Instead, Van Damme convinced both producers to let him edit the film, as he had done with Bloodsport (1988), and asked them for 2 months. Cyborg was finally released 2 months later.
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Jean-Claude Van Damme re-edited the film, much as he did with Bloodsport (1988), to make the fight scenes more exciting and trim down the drama. Van Damme spent two months editing the film. He would do the same on Hard Target (1993)
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The budget, including Jean-Claude Van Damme's salary, was $500,000. The studio had already spent $2 million on production design, costumes, and miscellaneous prep work on the aborted projects "Masters of the Universe 2" and "Spider-Man."
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The chain mail and forearm guards worn by Fender were part of the costume for the character "Blade" in Masters of the Universe (1987).
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After the success of Bloodsport (1988), Cannon films offered Jean-Claude Van Damme the lead in Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990), American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989), or this film. He chose the latter, and later admitted "I didn't like the film so much."
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Albert Pyun originally envisioned the film as a heavy opera without dialogue, shot in granulated black and white. The producers rejected the idea.
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Matthias Hues turned down a role in the film. Years later, he claims to regret the decision.
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In 2011, Curnan Pictures got hold of the missing tapes of the original cut of the film through Tony Riparetti, Albert Pyun's original choice for score artist. This director's cut features Pyun's editing and previously unreleased scenes. It is commercially available through the director himself. Pyun's director's cut was released in 2014 in Germany with the film's original title, "Slinger".
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Albert Pyun is currently developing a prequel to this film, which was originally titled "Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers", before the title was changed to "Cyborg Nemesis". The film which takes place before "Cyborg", details the formation of the Slingers, after the plague brought about the fall of civilization and the Pirates begin terrorizing the survivors and the Slingers are organized to deal with them.
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Gibson Rickenbacker's gun is a Tippmann SMG-60 paintball gun. During the abandoned factory scene, Rickenbacker runs behind a dumpster, unscrews a 9 oz. CO2 bottle, then inserts another one to simulate "reloading" the weapon.
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Vincent Klyn said that because of the low budget of the film that only two pairs of contact lenses were made for his character. He had lost the first pair in an unspecified early scene, and while filming the final fight scene he thought he had lost the other. Filming had to immediately stop while the crew tried to find them, which allowed Klyn to return to his dressing trailer. There he discovered that the lenses had actually shifted up above his eyes from all the smoke, dirt, and high winds of the final scene being filmed that was causing him to blink uncontrollably. By blinking again in his trailer he was able to move the lenses back down, and filming resumed.
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A score for the film composed by Anthony Riparetti and James Saad was rejected in favour of a completely new score by Kevin Bassinson. Although Riparetti and Saad are still given credit on some posters and other advertising material for the film. The score itself has since been restored into the director's cut of the movie.
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The character names Gibson Rickenbacker, Nady Simmons, Fender Tremolo, Marshall Strat, and Pearl Prophet are also names of musical instruments or manufacturers.
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Ralf Moeller had such a thick German accent that all of his dialogue had to be dubbed.
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The script was written with the idea of Chuck Norris playing the lead. Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus convinced Albert Pyun to cast Jean-Claude Van Damme instead after his success in Bloodsport (1988).
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The film had a limited cast. Almost everyone aside from the leads plays multiple roles, usually henchmen.
When Fender steals the boat he takes to Charleston, he declares that he can't swim and hates water. Vincent Klyn is a professional surfer.
The original theatrical version does not explain what Slingers are. In the director's cut, the opening crawl defines Slingers as hired warriors who safely escort people out of cities and protect them from pirates.
Gibson is a "slinger", a warrior for hire. In the 1920s, a gunslinger was a gunman or gunfighter who carried and readily used a gun. The term is commonly, but erroneously, associated with the Old West. A "gunslinger" from the Old West would actually be called a "shootist" or "shotist."
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When the film was first released on VHS in Germany, so many violent scenes were cut out that it ran only around 58 minutes, not even reaching feature length.
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Method Man sampled most of Fender's opening words as the opening lyrics in the song "Judgement Day" from his 1998 album Tical 2000: Judgement Day. The lyrics are slightly modified. The intro is also in the opening of the song "World Damnation" by the death metal band Mortician. The intro of Fender talking about death and starvation is thought as the official opening of metal band Chimairas' song "Resurrection." It is often played at live shows as an intro. The same intro is also played the beginning of a song by Australian, Christian, gore-grindcore band Vomitorial Corpulence.
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Albert Pyun wrote the character of Gibson Rickenbacker for Chuck Norris. Jean-Claude Van Damme got the part after he demonstrated a spinning split kick.
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Albert Pyun's director's cut "Slinger" reveals that Nady Simmons was a friend of Willy Jack, and she was going to meet up with him in New York when Fender killed him.
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Terrie Batson naturally speaks with a North Carolina accent and recorded all of her lines in the movie without altering it. She then had no idea that her voice was going to be dubbed over in the final cut of the movie, and only found out when she and friends and family saw it together in the theater for the first time.
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Albert Pyun stated that Henry Fonda's character in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) influenced Fender Tremolo's otherworldly feel.
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The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert's "Most Hated" list.
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The film's influences include: The Searchers (1956), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), The Ultimate Warrior (1975), Mad Max (1979), Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Terminator (1984), Fist of the North Star (1986), Sutoraidâ Hiryô (1989) and Last Battle (1989).
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Over 20 years after the movie's release, Albert Pyun had intended to do a prequel entitled "Rise of the Slingers" which took place before the movie which Gibson Rickenbacker's mother Melanie was revealed to be a Slinger herself, but, sadly the prequel was never made, due to Albert Pyun being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in early 2013, which forced him to retire from filmmaking.
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The film was originally going to be the sequel to Masters of the Universe (1987) starring Dolph Lundgren. Jean-Claude Van Damme would later work with Dolph Lundgren on the Universal Soldier films and The Expendables 2 (2012).
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The name "Gibson Rickenbacker" combines the names of two famous guitar companies.
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The film is believed to be a remake of Fist of the North Star (1986).
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Albert Pyun cited The Terminator (1984) as an influence behind the movie. Jean-Claude Van Damme would later star opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012).
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The film has a lot of parallels with Sutoraidâ Hiryô (1989). The video game, set in the future, is about Hiryu, a martial arts warrior and member of an elite fighting force called "Striders." He travels across the world on a mission to take down an evil dictator called The Grandmaster. Gibson is a martial artist warrior and "Slinger," or warrior-for-hire. In the film, Gibson travels across the post apocalyptic United States on a mission to rescue Pearl Prophet and destroy Fender, who killed his family.
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Albert Pyun envisioned the film as a futuristic western. Gibson is the lone cowboy/gun-for-hire, whilst Fender and the Pirates are the outlaw gang. Gibson has a tragic backstory and seeks revenge upon Fender and the Pirates, whom killed his family. Gibson declines the offer to stay with Pearl and the scientists, returning to the badlands of the post-apocalyptic United States.
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The director's cut includes an extended ending. Gibson and Haley return Pearl to her scientist college. It cuts to a caption "9 Months Later." During an electrical storm, a sphere flashes and an unknown naked female cyborg appears. It ends with the caption: "Next: Cyborg Nemesis: The Dark Rift".
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The film's title confused audience members who thought Jean-Claude Can Damme's character was a cyborg. The cyborg in the movie is Pearl Prophets (Dayle Haddon). There was a rumor that Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn) could also be a cyborg himself due to Fender's eyes, his brute strength and the scream he makes when he gets impaled by a meat hook. However, the rumor was false as Fender was human and bled like normal humans and his eyes was a result of getting infected by the disease which could explain why Fender wanted the cure.
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In the extended ending of Albert Pyun's director's cut which was supposed to set the stage for a sequel, we see a electrical storm and a sphere flashing which a naked woman (a cyborg) appears. The scene itself is a blatant rip-off of the The Terminator (1984), which in those movies, Terminator cyborgs and humans appear naked following a electrical storm and a sphere flashing. Albert Pyun had cited The Terminator as one of his inspirations behind Cyborg. Jean-Claude Van Damme would later star opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012).
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When Fender sees the Cyborg for the first time; crew members can be seen in the reflection of his sunglasses throughout their conversation.
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Body count: 24, 17 by Gibson.
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