After releasing a special edition release of Albert Pyun's 1992 film Nemesis, the MVD Rewind Collection offers up all three of his sequels meaning that fans can now own all four of the films in the series in high definition.
Nemesis 2: Nebula:
Set seventy-three years after the events in the first film, when the film opens, we learn that the humans lost the Cyborg Wars and are now being enslaved by cyborgs. What the cyborgs don't realize is that there's a faction of rebel scientists who have been working on a top-secret project to develop new DNA that could give the humans the abilities they need to overthrow the cyborgs. In order to make sure it works, they need to test it on a human and to do this, it's injected into a pregnant woman in the hopes that her child will turn out to be their new hope!
Of course, once the cyborgs learn of this, the woman is hunted down but before the cyborgs can catch up with her, she steals one of their ships and is somehow transported through time to the Africa of 1980. The woman dies, but the baby survives and grows up, with some help from an African tribe, to be Alex (Sue Price). Once she becomes an adult, with no knowledge of her importance to the future of humanity, a cyborg bounty hunter named Nebula (Chad Stahelski) tracks her down and sets out to eliminate her once and for all.
If this one, which was made in 1995, sounds a little bit like The Terminator, well, Alex is basically a Sarah Connor knock off in a John Connor role. Bodybuilder Sue Price is actually pretty well-suited for the role. She isn't the world's greatest actress but she handles the material well enough and does just fine in the action scenes. If nothing else, she looks impressive. Chad Stahelski, who is made up to look like The Predator from the movie of the same name (and who had a small role in John Wick), is fine as the cyborg sent through time to take her out. He does the strong, silent thing well enough to make it work. No one here is looking for an Oscar but they suit the not-quite-so-demanding material just fine.
Like most of Pyun's output, this was made on a pretty modest budget. Still, there's some creativity on display here even when most of the film feels pretty derivative. The list of clichés that are gone over here is pretty long, but for those with a taste for clunky, cheap sci-fi action pictures it'll fit the bill. Production values are passable by the standards of the genre. Pyun uses slow motion rather well here, even if he overdoes it a few times, and there's some pretty solid pyrotechnic work used throughout the second half of the film. It moves at a more deliberate pace than the original and isn't as action-intensive but Pyun keeps things moving at a brisk enough pace that there's still a good amount of fun to be had here for the non-discerning b-movie fan.
Nemesis 3: Time Lapse:
Shot back to back with the second film and released in 1996, the third film joins up with Alex (Price, reprising her role), after the events of the second film. Having defeated the cyborg that was after her, she now suffers from memory loss but eventually learns that in the future her mother travelled from she has left some half-sisters alive and hopeful that she'll be able to travel into the future of 2077 to help them out. The cyborg leaders want Alex taken alive so that they can text her DNA and find out if she's as strong as the rogue scientists in the second movie thought she'd be, and so Farnsworth II (Tim Thomerson) is tasked with heading back to Alex's time to capture her. A few more cyborgs show up, and then too do a pair of her half-sisters and lots of chasing and shooting occurs.
This is a big step down from the second film and an even bigger step down from the first. Pyun uses a lot of footage that seems to have been shot for the second movie as well as footage from the second movie itself and we wind up with a film that relies on flashbacks and hokey narration from Price trying to tie things into a cohesive whole. On top of that, it's clear that Pyun was working with an even lower budget this time around, so we don't get all that much in the way of action set pieces. Part 2 had a lot of explosions, which are pretty neat, whereas this one has a lot of bad, ropey and poorly done digital effects that just plain do not look good (though you could argue that this adds to the movie's retro charm).
Price's fanbase will appreciate seeing her back in action here and to her credit, once again she handles herself well enough. It's also fun to see Tim Thomerson show up here in an amusing nod to the original film. Thomerson's always fun to watch, a true champion of low budget movies, and his presence here lends a lot to the picture's lacking credentials. Fans of female body builders will enjoy seeing more women built like Price running around and kicking ass, so if you fall into that camp this one has a lot more of that going for it too.
Nemesis 4: Cry Of Angels:
Also made in 1996, this fourth picture begins with a tenuous truce having been called in the way between the humans and the cyborgs. Once again, we catch up with Alex Sinclair (Sue Price for a third time) as she works as a ‘cybernetically-enhanced assassin' in the future (at this point she's left nineties Earth behind). Her employer is a man named Bernardo (Andrew Divoff) and he pays her to kill off cyborgs that he wants done away with.
When Alex is given her latest job, she screws up and kills the wrong man-machine-cyborg-guy. Her target just so happened to be the son of a powerful and well-connected criminal. As such, before you know it, every bounty hunter on the planet is after her and she no longer knows who she can trust.
The law of diminishing returns applies once again. This one doesn't even hit the eighty-minute mark (and that's including lengthy opening and closing credits) and even at that length is pretty tough to get through. Price spends most of the film wearing very little, if anything, something that will appeal to those watching the movie for that reason but which really doesn't add anything at all to the plot aside from the site of an extremely muscular woman running around in the buff. She, again, handles the material fine but the material this time is pretty dire. Divoff's presence is welcome and he brings his usual amount of genuine charisma and presence to the role, but he can't help with the continuity errors, the bad pacing, the tricky writing and numerous other problems that makes this one, hands down, the weakest entry in the run.
All three of the Nemesis sequels are presented on the same 50GB disc, the first two framed at 1.78.1 and the third at 2.20.1, each in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The features take up a combined 44GBs of space on the disc so they aren't too visibly compressed but minor artifacts do show up in a couple of spots. Color reproduction is intentionally unnatural to a certain degree in all three films, there's some filtering going on in that regard. Black levels are quite good. Some artificial sharpening and edge enhancement is visible here and you can't help but notice some digital noise reduction having been applied to the image, smoothing things over just a bit. There isn't really any print damage to discuss, the picture is very clean, but there also isn't really any noticeable film grain. Detail definitely rises above what DVD would have been able to provide here but you have to keep your expectations in check, these are not reference quality transfers and leave plenty of room for improvement even if they are watchable enough.
Each film gets an English language LPCM 2.0 Stereo track. Quality is fine, if not all that remarkable. Dialogue stays clean and the levels are pretty well balanced. There are a few spots where dialogue can sound a tad muffled in the mix but these are few and far between. Otherwise, they sound fine.
The main extras are a trio of interviews in which Albert Pyun talks about the three films on the disc. The talk on Nemesis 2 runs half an hour and here speaks in a semi-garbled voice over standard definition interlaced footage from the film about shooting without the option of having much time to do the setups, trying to stay ahead of the schedule, the difficulty of the shoot and the conflict that arose with his first A.D., how much he enjoyed working with Price, some of the effects work and more. Oddly enough the levels fluctuate a lot in this piece (in fact, this is the case for all three featurettes). The talk on Nemesis 3 runs seventeen-minutes and here Pyun talks about trying to make a more story oriented film, bringing more actors into the film, some of the stunts in the film, his thoughts on the performances, how cooperative most of the cast was on the shoot, keeping the look and color palette of the same, trying to include more car/vehicle action in the film, working with a lot of local actors in some of the smaller roles, working with Thomerson and Price again and more. The talk on the fourth film runs twenty-minutes. In it, Pyun the film's very rushed shooting schedule, bringing Price back to the film and her thoughts on doing all of the nudity in the picture, the film's cyberpunk style, the difficulties involved in shooting some of the sex scenes, his thoughts on having worked with the Weinsteins in the past, bringing this in on a really low budget and a fair bit more.
The disc also includes original trailers for all three films, menus and chapter selection. The disc comes packaged with a fold out poster and a slipcover.
MVD's Blu-ray release of The Nemesis Sequel Trilogy will appeal to the fans that the franchise definitely has, and while none of the three films here are as much fun as the original, the first two sequels are worth seeing. Consider the fourth a freebie. The presentation is okay, not amazing but okay, and the interviews with Pyun are interesting. Recommended to Nemesis fans, but if you're not in that boat you might want to rent it first.