Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Cybertracker 2 (1995)

Hopefully he won't have to open a door or something

Cybertracker 2, or as I call it, C2: Adjudication Day, takes place several years after the events of Cybertracker, long enough for Eric Phillips (Don "The Dragon" Wilson) to grow a luxurious mane of hair. He is still working for the Secret Service, but now he's working undercover for some reason, and as the film opens he's in the middle of a drug sting operation at an abandoned factory. Naturally everything turns to shit and the place erupts into a massive firefight that goes on for nearly ten minutes. Bullets fly everywhere, tonnes of explosives are detonated and, of course, lots of cars flip over and burst into flames. This is a PM Entertainment film, after all.

With weapons and vehicles that look pretty outdated even for 1995, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that this is supposed to take place in the near future, regardless of how many laser blasts are randomly dubbed into the sound mix. Well, the Near Future makes an explosive entrance in the form of Tracker 9, a low-budget Robocop with a minigun for one arm and a shotgun for another. Tracker 9 helps out when Eric finds himself on the wrong end of an uzi. He's a big improvement over the standard issue Core Tracker, and after the battle he and Eric have good chuckle together. I guess Wilson has gotten over his robophobia.

The Trackers aren't the only ones who have been improved since the last film. Even Agnes 3000, the computer AI that controls Eric's house has had an upgrade. No longer a disembodied voice who nags him incessantly, she is now a tiny holographic woman in a sexy sequined dress who makes creepy comments about going into "Privacy Mode" while he makes out with his hot ex-terrorist reporter wife Connie (Stacy Foster). The next morning they are visited by a young girl for one pointless scene where she does some Virtual Reality martial arts training. It's the mid 90s, so you've got to have some Virtual Reality in there somewhere. Otherwise how will people know it's the future?

The bad guys are an evil corporation that has developed the technology to create exact robot duplicates of people, which they hire out as assassins. They've been hired by the Vice-Governor to kill the Governor (pretty much the only way to get a promotion in the public service) and their overly-complicated plan involves creating an exact robot duplicate of Connie, then using it to take her place and assassinate Governor Quincy while he is making a speech at a press conference. Meanwhile they take the real Connie to an isolated barn to kill her in an explosion, making it look like she has returned to her terrorist ways and accidentally blew herself up while making bombs. Of course they balls this up, so Connie escapes and she and Eric go on the run, teaming up with Connie's camera man and fellow ex-terrorist Jared (Steve Burton) who died in the first film but I guess he got better.

Come to think of it, I'm not really sure why their terrorist organisation, the Union of Human Rights (UHR), has been disbanded. The friendly police captain Swain (Tony Burton aka Rocky's corner man) claims that the UHR was absolved of any wrongdoing after the first film and that the Computerised Justice System was dismantled, however in this film it looks like the Core Trackers are still around and are still executing criminals without trial. Can't fight Robo City Hall, I guess. One guy who is still fighting the good fight is "Trip" Tripwire, a nerdy ex-UHR explosives expert who likes to make Mr. Potato Heads out of plastic explosives and regularly refers to Cybertrackers as "Cyberfuckers". He lets Connie, Eric and Jared hole up in his hideout in an abandoned church while they figure out what to do.

With all these advanced Tracker models running about, OG Core Trackers are about as attractive and popular as G1 iPhones, but they still make an appearance in this film. The police dispatch a Core Tracker Classic to hunt down Connie and Eric, which culminates in a very familiar-looking chase scene through a concrete LA river catchment. I guess since the first film shamelessly ripped off The Terminator and Robocop, it's only fitting that this one seeks inspiration from Terminator 2 and Robocop 2. This chase scene tallies up a pretty impressive amount of destruction, with Eric in a Jeep unloading a mounted grenade launcher on an armoured car driven by the Core Tracker, as well as a heap of old cars which are lying around in LA's flood channels for some reason.

After the Core Tracker fails miserably, the bad guys unleash their secret weapon: an exact robot duplicate of Eric. Their plan is to send Don "The Cyber-Dragon" Wilson on a Terminator-esque rampage through a police station, framing him for the attack, and given Wilson's acting abilities you could hardly blame anyone who confuses Eric for an emotionless cyborg. Eric's robot doppelganger also has a face off with a Core Tracker, easily showing it who's boss by tearing off it's arm and punching off it's head. Pow! Robo-Eric then attacks our heroes at their hideout, fatally wounding Trip who volunteers to stay behind and set off his bombs while the others escape through some sort of underground tunnel system. Somehow they miss the opportunity for a Wilson vs Wilson kickboxing battle.

A loose collection of plot holes sees our heroes making their final assault on the bad guys at their corporate headquarters, along with the help of Tracker 9. Lots of hapless security guards get kicked in the head and Robo-Connie gets frozen with liquid nitrogen and shattered into a million pieces. Hasta la vista, baby! By the end of the film the bad guys see fit to bring out their other secret weapon, the SuperTracker. It's never really made clear what exactly is so Super about it, except that it isn't played by Jim Maniaci like all the others. It manages to knock Ericaround for a bit before he blows it up with a big industrial laser. Eric also faces off with the evil corporate CEO, who is also a kickboxer for some reason. Hey, why not?

PM Entertainment are pretty skilled at cramming their films with action and making them look like bigger films than their budget would suggest. This one is particularly action packed, even by the standards of the original Cybertracker. Nearly all of it looks like new footage too, except for a helicopter explosion and a few short scenes from the Governor's assassination, which were taken from the original Cybertracker. This is the kind of film where nobody seems to care about wasting ammunition and everything explodes, usually for no reason. This particular brand of excess can get pretty monotonous at times, especially with choreography, camerawork and editing that is strictly perfunctory, but it works long enough to distract you from the fact that virtually everything in this film has been done better elsewhere.

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