Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nemesis (1992)

I was actually planning to wait to rewatch Nemesis until the new version was out, but I just couldn't stop myself. Don't you think that the secret dream of Albert Pyun is to be able to go back in time and shoot noir-thillers with Robert Mitchum? I'm just sure of it. Nemesis is a perfect example of neo-noir, or my cyborg-noir. There's tons of action, but it never forgets what it is. But first of all, Nemesis is a truly original movie. Some details are inspired my other movies, but as a sci fi-noir it beats snoozer Blade Runner with miles and miles. Where Blade Runner goes boring, Nemesis just becomes more and more spectacular and entertaining. 

Every time I see it I also realize that Olivier Gruner is the perfect choice in the lead. He might be lacking the instant charisma like Van Damme has, but as an actor and character he grows more and more. He's just a more subtle actor in a way, with out underplaying the character. He kicks ass in the action, and maybe gives us the single best performance in a low budget action-flick ever. Yes, I'm serious. He has this sad face, at the first glance without feelings, but under those eyes there's something moving. I'm not sure he's been better than in this movie, but I would love to see him again in something bigger and bolder. Something far away from the typical DTV-movies, like this excellent example. 

Pyun is a visual director and tells a story with camera movements and explosions, but he has a good and effective script to work with. A script with layers and interesting characters. It was written by a woman, Rebecca Charles, and that might have been the best choice ever in a movie like this. It don't lack the fist- and fire-power, but both the male characters and the females are written in a different way. There's a sensibility in both Alex and Julian, two of the toughest good characters in the movie, and when Julian dies you feel for her. This brings me to one of the most interesting details of the movie. The names.

Almost all characters has has either a name that is opposite their gender or is unisex. Jared, Julian, Max are all women, and Michelle and Angie is men. Typical unisex-names like Alex and Marion is men too. I have on idea why, but it actually feels damn fine. You get away from those typical macho names when it's men, and the typical "sexy" names on women, because it's the opposite. Another thing is the frequent nudity of men. Nothing wrong with that, but it's almost more nude men than women - which I guess is also a result of a female screenwriter. Here we have some fun casting too, no other than Thomas Jane as "Billy" (which also can be unisex), who spends his scenes completely nude all the time!

But the main selling-point is of course the action. I've always said that Nemesis must have been the first non-Asian movie to be (or at least feel) inspired by Hong Kong-action and heroic bloodshed. The first action sequence is simply astonishing, and could be one of my favorite sequences ever. It's so beautifully shot and edited, with tons of great angles, camera moves, stunts, squibs and explosions. And it's probably the first movie that make that location seem expensive and big too! When the action movies to Hawaii we're getting some stunning set-pieces in the jungle... but the scene we're all thinking about is the famous shoot-out in the hotel. It still amazes me. It's short, but so well made and cool that it will define coolness for many hundreds of years in the future. The scene where Oliver shoots himself through the floor has been copied several times after this, but this is still the best version of it. 

Maybe I'm hyping it as usual, but I've done than since I first saw the movie in the early nineties. Nemesis is one of my favorite action movies ever. It's up there in the top ten of awesome action-scenes, cool lines, cyborg-noirs. It was also the movie that introduced me to the Pyuniverse, and I'm looking forward to many more flicks from the Pyuniversal Soldier!


lizzardking said...

What kind of new version is comming? Do you have any info about it so please tell me :D

Ninja Dixon said...

Lizzard: Well, according to Pyun he just got the new, upgraded version of Nemesis. I guess in correct ratio, new visual effects and stuff. Here's a test-promo:


Alex Bakshaev said...

No, you're not overhyping it, dear Fred.
NEMESIS really IS that amazing.
It's a great example of pacing, action and style all coming together on not such-a-huge budget and producing a dtv classic.
One of Pyun's finest.
Love it love it love it

Alex Bakshaev said...

..and I forgot to say - some nice tits + cyborg violence:)

Tobias Thuresson said...

Pyuniverse is actually pretty clever. :-)

David A. Zuzelo said...

One of my favorites and rightfully earns the title of Best DTV Action / Cyborg film ever. Easily.

We are all Pyuniversal Soldiers!