Rob Bricken of io9 is right, there was a time when a director could make a quick and easy buck by creating a movie with a cyborg somewhere in it that was either the hero or the villain and had a semi-decent back story. But in the 90s fans were still pretty discerning since they wanted their cyborgs to either be extremely badass and have some kind of acting skill, or at least belong to a story line that was already well-developed. Sadly a lot of them didn’t even have one of these two traits and went straight to video where they were instantly forgotten. But some of them featured cyborg characters, of a sort, that were instantly recognized as great or at least worth remembering and therefore became a few of our favorites. You can find your own favorites on Flickchart or you can look elsewhere since those listed below are our own ideas of the best cyborg characters from the 90s.
Here are a few that you might remember from back in the day.
5. Johnny Mnemonic
This was a very forgettable movie with a promising cast that wasn’t used in a manner that came even close to its potential. Johnny is mostly human, but as a courier he’s given up a good chunk of his brain so as to be able to carry various bits of information for his clients. The only problem is he takes on too much information and has to find a way to dump it before it finally ends him. With names like Dolph Lundgren and Ice T in the mix you’d hope that this would be a good movie, but even their reputations couldn’t bring this back to even ground as Johnny Mnemonic, for all that it had a chance, kind of just faded into obscurity. Also, technically-speaking a couple of the characters on this list are androids, but they were too good to be left off without some consideration.
A lot of cyborg-based movies in the 90s seemed to flop due to same reason: development. There was either too much or too little and no healthy balance in between. Andrew was a robotic assistant that aspired to be more than he was due a glitch that manifested as what could only be called a soul. He didn’t react like other robots and eventually aspired to become even more. At one point he had ‘skin’ and ‘organs’ that were finally allowed to become complete when he made the last transition towards being human that would bring him as close as he could possibly be. It wasn’t Robin Williams’ best, but it was a touching story all the same.
Mario Van Peebles was just about everywhere he could be and to be honest he’s not a horrible actor but he does seem to attach himself to movies that aren’t really that great. Solo was supposed to be the ultimate war machine in his own right, a weapon that was state of the art and could decimate anything or anyone tossed in front of him. But like all cyborgs seem to do at times he started to malfunction and grew a conscience when he was ordered to kill non-combatants simply, well, because he was ordered to. When he went against his programming and his handlers all-out war broke out and a new cyborg was created to take him down. But the cool thing is that you just don’t mess with the original since they’ve earned their place in the world and know a few things that newbies don’t.
This was a flat out creepy and disturbing movie since the sentient intelligence that came down from space and lodged itself in the electrical system of the Russian ship wanted human beings for spare parts that could somehow give it a body that was more complete. The ultimate weapon that finally came about at the end was like a nightmare from some twisted metal/butcher shop cooked up by a horror master experiencing a bad LSD trip. It did have potential and there was something that could have been done with it, but like usual something went awry and the director seemed to throw their hands up in the air and say ‘go nuts’.
It’s kind of nice to hear that Terminator: Dark Fate will be going back to the drawing board and following this movie instead of all those that have come along. The T-1000 was an absolute nightmare to even think about since it could take on the form of anyone it came in contact with, could assume various different forms, and could mimic a person perfectly. When pitted against the outdated model this was no contest really save for the fact that the T-800 still had plenty of surprises that it could unleash that the T-1000 didn’t seem to think about. But if the next movie is going to have anything similar it might be that the T-800 will have finally met its match for good.
Cyborg movies are fun, but only so long as they’re not bogged down by their own lack of development. Don’t worry we didn’t forget about Russell Crow’s Sid in Virtuosity. But was he really a cyborg? More like a computer generated life form.