Directed by: Albert Pyun
Category: Sci-fi Cinema
You know, I should start off by saying i'm kinda on an Albert Pyun kick right now. After not having seen a lot of his flicks for a better part of at least 20 years, and then watching most of his early stuff when I was really young like 10-15 years old (too young to appreciate true filmmaking), I've recently found myself immersing myself in as many Pyun flicks as I can find. I'm a nostalgic guy, what can I say. The first 2 these past few weeks were Cyborg and Nemesis, 2 of his better known and most popular films. The guy is prolific and has his hand in several different projects at a time, pretty much all low-budget direct-to-dvd stuff. He's also busy putting together directors cuts of his best films himself without studio interference as he's given workprints of some of his projects when he's done with them. Or at least that's what I understand in some cases. I'm a realistic guy, so I know that they can't "all" be as badass as Cyborg and Nemesis are. You can find my Cyborg review here:
and my Nemesis review here:
So I know there will probably be a few here and there that might disappoint me as I've got the guy on a pedestal right now.
Well ladies and gentlemen, Heatseeker is the first film to fall into that category. It's not horrible, but it's not really anything to get excited about either. Visually it looks good. Pyun, being an accomplished visualist in the B-Movie genre gives everything the Pyun flare. And i'll always say, the guy can work a movie camera. He might not always have a decent budget or even decent actors, but given the right opportunity, he can visually produce a decent pic and he always shoots in glorious Anamorphic Widescreen. Unfortunately most of is films are not available in that format, usually full screen or pan and scan. Which is why I was so excited to find this one from 1995 in actual true Widescreen. But when you get right down to it, it's really nothing more than a "Bloodsport" or "The Quest", except with cyborgs (a Pyun staple).
Only thing is, it's usually just a lot of talk about cyborgs and cyborg implants and the fighters being part cyborg and having cyborg enhancements. When it comes right down to it, they don't really "show" any cyborgs because they all look like humans and it's not until one of them gets killed during a match do you see like part of an opponents skin ripped off his face or neck or something to reveal some circuitry work going on. And that's really about it. The poster image here is kind of misleading for several reason. One, I don't know who that person on the poster is supposed to be because it looks nothing like the guy playing the main character. And second, you think your gonna see some badass fights with half-cyborg half-human looking dudes and you don't. Like I said, they all look human.
And if you take out all the cyborg talk, it's pretty standard fare. The year is 2019. Funny, in 1995 when this film was made i'm sure it seemed like a distant future, now literally just a few years away. A guy is putting together a competition with the worlds top human/cyborg kickboxers. He tries to persuade the worlds top all human fighter to participate, but he declines. So the promoter kidnaps his girlfriend to force him to join the competition where he ultimately is matched against a former opponent that he had already beaten before. Only before, the opponent (played by regular B-Movie martial artist Gary Daniels) was all human, and now he's had major cyborg enhancements.
Honestly, the whole cyborg concept is kinda wasted here. I hate to be harsh with a Pyun flick cuz I am honestly a big fan and dig a lot of his work. Maybe not all, but a good part of it, but this one just felt like kind of a waste and a little bland. It's basically just a kickboxing competition movie once you take out all the cyborg mumbo jumbo. And even then, while visually it's pretty good, the fights themselves were kinda lame. You would think since they're supposed to be like half-cyborg that the fights would be brutal crazy with with heads and limbs getting knocked and torn off or bodies being thrown through the air and whatnot. But nah, just your standard kickboxing movie fights which was pretty disappointing. Again, the poster is misleading.
The lead here, Keith Cooke, who is an accomplished mixed martial artist in real life, does a decent enough job. He doesn't ever make you cringe with his inability to act or anything, which is always a good thing with an unknown. Just for geek's sake, he was Reptile in Mortal Kombat and Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. We've also got B-Movie legend Tim Thomerson doing a small scene where he's dyed his usually white hair red. I have to say, white is a good look on the man. Red is just weird, even the eyebrows.
So that's really all i'm gonna say about it. I don't want to bash it too much because it wasn't horrible or anything, just kinda boring. I feel they overdid all the cyborg talk and didn't actually produce enough of it to satisfy a guy who's watching a movie called Heatseeker about cyborg kickboxers, that's all. It's all good though as I know I have many more badass Albert Pyun flicks from the Pyuniverse in good time.