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Wow! Fred Olen Ray outdid himself with the casting of Cyclone.
We get Russ 'Satan's Sadists' Tamblyn, Jeffrey 'Re-Animator' Combs, Martine 'Prehistoric Women' Beswick, Robert 'Count Yorga' Quarry, Huntz 'Sach' Hall, Martin 'Bela Lugosi' Landau, Troy 'I Know What You Did' Donahue, and Heather, er, 'Dukes of Hazzard' Thomas, all in one movie!
The story is ridiculous and the movie is unwatchable, but who cares!
When a movie shows two beautiful, sweaty women working out in a gym (with the camera emphasizing their arms and cleavage) BEFORE the opening credits are even over, it's on the right track. When it shows one of those women (the super-sexy Heather Thomas) kicking a$$ within the first 10 minutes, it deserves applause. Sure, the plot is so thin that it feels stretched-out even at just 82 minutes, and the "comic relief" of two inept cops is not very funny, but on the whole "Cyclone" is an enjoyable B action movie, with some spectacular car and motorcycle stunts (considering the budget). Also notable is the strong female presence, with no fewer than 4 women (2 good and 2 bad) getting into the action, and if you're thinking "there must be a Climactic Catfight"....you are right! Cult actors Jeffrey Combs and Martin Landau have fairly brief roles, Landau does get the last line in the film though (and it's a funny one). (**1/2)
The best thing about this move was Ms. Thomas's assets. She seemed to have
reprised her role fromtheold 'Fall Guys' Tv series, in that her wardrobe
consisted of, in order of their appearance, leotards, skin tight jeans and
spandex mini skirts. The plot was comical, while the fight scenes were
pretty good. I kept getting the impression the other actors wished they
some place else.
One particularly silly scene had Teri (Ms.Thomas) tied to a chair, being tortured by the villians to reveal the location of the Cyclone. The dialog is silly, and villians seem more interested in sneering and threatening than getting the information.
For a laugh it worth seeing, but for serious action fans, skip it.
Rarely does one find a movie so bad that it achieves the often-sought
paradigm of having so little redeeming value that that alone makes it
worth watching. "Cyclone," I am happy to report, is such a film.
I knew I was in for something good as soon as I found the videotape. I am at least its fourth owner: It has a "Used Movie Sale! $9.95" sticker on the front, and a yard-sale sticker for one dollar. I picked it up at a thrift store for fifty cents.
The Used Movie Sale! sticker covers much of the front cover artwork, meaning that what I see is a truly odd blended still of the front of the Cyclone super bike, a car flipping over on fire, and Heather Thomas, wearing Flouncy Eighties Hair with her mouth open in an expression that says, "I 'ave a 'ooth ache." I saw that and thought, "All RIGHT." The case, honestly, was enough ("with nowhere to turn and no one to trust, Teri is plunged headlong into a maze of danger and deceit"), but I surprised myself by actually getting around to watching it. I always make time for the really bad films. That "Fight Club" tape can wait.
Meet Teri. Teri is a stunningly well-crafted character, as we can tell from her introduction, in which she and her friend do exercises that highlight her breasts and, later, her legwarmers. Then Teri goes off to hook up with her boyfriend for the evening that goes horribly wrong. Before she knows it, Teri is driven "straight into a web of deadly double-crosses in CYCLONE." The VHS box tells it like it is.
Left out of the box summary - perhaps out of some faint hope that actual copies of this film would be sold - is how awful the acting is. It might have been just me, but I kept thinking I could read the characters' thoughts through their eyes. "This is dumb," thinks Heather Thomas. "I know," thinks Bad Guy with Too-Wide Mouth.
A driving force (no pun intended) for the second half of this epic picture are the car chases. Those were actually pretty good, although I'm inclined that gasoline doesn't need coaching on how to explode. What really impressed me is that, in all the chases, the streets were pretty much empty. It's like there are only twenty people in this huge city.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Gee Wilikers! I have to see this movie!" The sad thing, though, is that you can't find it. Oh no. "Cyclone" is a film that finds YOU. Just wait. Some day - perhaps during lunch, perhaps late in the evening, perhaps "when military scientist Jeffery Combs ('Re-Animator')is murdered by hired assassins" - you will hear the rustle of legwarmers, and know that it is time.
"Cyclone" is a decent dose of escapism from reliable B movie veteran Fred Olen Ray, ostensibly a vehicle for gorgeous, glamorous TV star Heather Thomas. She plays Teri, a young woman whose boyfriend Rick (Jeffrey Combs) has designed an ultra cool looking motorcycle for the government. Soon, bad guys have murdered Rick and Teri is forced to take it on the lam. Among the rich assortment of villains are Martin Landau as slick, evil businessman Bosarian, legendary stuntman Dar Robinson (to whom the film is dedicated) as an albino thug, and Dawn Wildsmith as his gal pal. You know you're in for a good time when in addition to these people, the others who turn up are Troy Donahue, Martine Beswicke, and Robert Quarry as federal agents, Huntz Hall as bike shop proprietor Long John, Bruce Fairbairn as a police detective, and an uncredited Russ Tamblyn. Overall this is a fairly slight movie - you won't really remember it after it's over - but it's still pretty entertaining while it lasts. The action scenes are competently done, the pacing is efficient, and there are some hilarious moments to let us know that Ray and screenwriter Paul Garson are keeping their tongues in their cheeks and just having fun with the genre. Among these moments are the final scenes for both Quarry and Robinson. The motorcycle itself is pretty damn nifty, and the helmet that goes with it is amusing itself - it shoots lasers! David A. Jackson composes the catchy, appealing electronic music score, and there's one priceless sequence featuring an act named Haunted Garage (fronted by Michael Sonye) performing the song "Devil Metal". The actors are enjoyable to watch, with Thomas making for a tough and feisty heroine, and the equally fetching Ashley Ferrare engaging as her friend. It's a treat to see Combs of "Re-Animator" fame in a romantic role, and Robinson (who died after filming) is the most fun out of the antagonists. The ending is not terribly satisfying (revealing the fate of a specific character in a rather perfunctory manner), but in general this is fine entertainment for schlock fans. Some of them may bemoan the fact that the one gratuitous shower scene is over so soon, though! Seven out of 10.
Teri Marshall (Heather Thomas) finds herself in a world of nefarious Government and bad guy types after her inventor boyfriend Rick Davenport (Jeffrey Combs) is murdered. Seems everyone is after his invention Cyclone, a $5 million dollar motorbike with stealth technology. Of course, Rick expected this and delivers a post-death message to Teri to get the motorbike to the only G-man (Troy Donahue) he can trust. The big chase is on with CIA agents Waters (Martine Beswick) and Knowles (Robert Quarry) and baddies Rolf (Dar Robinson) and Hanna (Dawn Wildsmith) in pursuit. And Martin Landau figures in here somewhere as the main bad guy. More Fred Olen Ray madness here and this film is a marked improvement over his earlier stuff. By that I mean it looks like an actual film with decent cinematography. It is still pretty low budget though with cheap sets and a almost-but-not-quite futuristic bike design. The leads are decent and I noticed Combs - like Peter Cushing before him - has an insane talent for making techno-babble sound 100% believable. You also get a gaggle of ex-stars who mostly likely were around for a few days in supporting roles. Donahue has one scene while Landau gets three. All of the big action is saved for the finale and there are two really cool car stunts there. Of course, the film's biggest leap of faith isn't the stealth bike. My friend Marty summed it up best when he said: "As implausible as this thriller is, the biggest stretch is that sexy blonde Thomas, first seen hitting the Nautilus machine in a bust-bursting Spandex outfit, would be dating dorky scientist Combs."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are more villains than you can shake a stick at in Fred Olen
Ray's fast-moving action flick, CYCLONE about a souped up futuristic
motorcycle with extra firepower and uses energy from hydrogen instead
of fossil fuels. Everyone from crooked fed Robert Quarry to ruthless
businessman Martin Landau want to get their hands on the motorcycle, in
possession of murdered scientist Jeffery Combs' girlfriend Heather
Thomas. I found it amusing the odd coupling of supermodel Thomas and
nerd Combs, how she's more masculine and tough while he's the cerebral,
non-violent type..this as normal a character as you are liable to ever
see Combs play, and while I enjoy him in strange, irreverent roles, it
was, I must admit, nice to see him as the tragic victim instead of the
diabolical fiend. Thomas, to be honest, wasn't exactly hired for her
acting chops, but boy does she look mighty nice in a tight pair of
jeans. The real star is obviously the titular star vehicle everyone
covets, with Thomas caught in unfortunate circumstances..I mean she
isn't even truly able to grieve for her loss because her life is
immediately threatened, not to mention there's no one she can
trust(even someone she thought was her friend betrays her). As an arms
dealer, Landau has foreign clientèle, and a certain, special
transformer, worth a valuable amount, is of top priority to a
high-paying buyer with demands to have it at a specific time..the
transformer itself is of more value than the motorcycle, although the
device was created for the vehicle. Martine Beswicke is a good fed who
lends Thomas some much needed support.
Included is something I always enjoy in an action movie from time to time, Thomas kicking the asses of some punk douchebags giving her a hard time. We even get to see Thomas engaged in fisticuffs with Ashley Ferrare, not your typical catfight(not hairpulling and rolling on the ground between these two). Solid car chases/crashes and explosions..some impressive stunt work. Most of the weaponry on the motorcycle is animated: visible electric bolts which destroy whatever is targeted. The helmet is even rigged with bolts that blast targets selected(a phone book is pulverized and a victim is set on fire)! Combs' part may be too minor for his fans..this is a star vehicle designed for Thomas. Landau has pretty much a glorified supporting role(probably ten minutes, but he makes the most of his time on screen as does the always reliable Quarry). Dar Robinson and Dawn Highsmith have colorful heavy roles as Landau's hired assassins; they really enjoy their work. I must admit that there's a nostalgic value attached to this movie as I used to watch it on HBO as a kid so maybe CYCLONE works for me in that regard. I don't think it is as bad as many others do, and consider it a rather accomplished Fred Olen Ray vehicle. Maybe the special effects are a bit dated, but it was 1987 after all. Seeing Beswicke firing a machine gun while trying to evade Landau's stooges in a station wagon is worth the price of a rental alone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cyclone is the tale of a radically awesome motorcycle and the people
that want to get their hands on its secret energy source. Jeffrey Combs
plays Rick Davenport, a nerdy, scientific type who has developed the
multi-million dollar "Cyclone", and even its helmet, which shoots
lasers. For some reason, this dork's girlfriend is Heather Thomas,
who's the hottest thing on two legs. When evildoers kill Rick (not a
spoiler because it happens so early on in the film), it's up to Teri
Marshall (Thomas) - presumably no relation to Joe "Samurai" Marshall of
Samurai Cop infamy - to protect the "clean energy" source. Everyone
wants this thing, and there's a conspiracy that goes all the way to the
top - the big boss causing all the conflict is one Bosarian (Landau),
the man sending out all the goons. Will Teri ride off into the sunset
on the Cyclone? Director Fred Olen Ray assembled a major cast for this
one - besides the aforementioned Thomas, Combs and Landau, we also have
Martine Beswicke as a police chief, Troy Donahue as Rick's old contact,
and they even dug up the legendary Huntz Hall, whose extensive career
goes back to the thirties. Tim Conway, Jr. and Michael Reagan are
teamed up as two of the dumbest cops in movie history. I wonder what
their fathers would have thought. Bruce Fairbairn is on hand as Lt.
Cutter, while Dawn Wildsmith plays one of the female baddies.
A standout scene occurs when Rick and Teri pay a visit to the Lava Club to see a band called Haunted Garage. A lot of funny dancing is seen, as well as Teri's memorable outfit. The band doesn't seem that talented musically, but they are able to crank out their signature tune, "Devil Metal" with aplomb and it will be stuck in your head for days. Speaking of the music, Joe Pizzolo provides the moody anthem "Are You Too Tough" as well as the memorable "Riding on the Edge of Night", which provides the soundtrack for Teri riding the Cyclone down the streets of L.A. This guy could easily be the next Robert Tepper.
Because some of the themes in the movie revolve around clean energy and leaked information, Cyclone seems pretty ahead of its time. But really, it's just comic-booky good fun and not meant to be taken all that seriously. It appears fairly tongue-in-cheek in the classic Fred Olen Ray way. Thomas carries the movie on her looks alone, but she is amply supported by an army of B-movie names in this somewhat fluffy outing.
It ends with some impressive stunts and explosions, after the prerequisite chase scenes. I think there's even a "NOoooooo!" somewhere in the mix, but the beeps and lasers coming from the soundtrack/Cyclone are pretty distracting.
Lastly, the film is dedicated to Dar Robinson, the legendary stuntman and actor. His final acting role was as Rolf in this film.
For the cast and to see Heather Thomas, Cyclone is worth it. Also helmet lasers.
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Although I am a fan of Heather Thomas and I have a few of her old bikini
posters around here somewhere, I can honestly say that if the only movie I
had ever seen her in was "Cyclone", I would never be able to guess why she
had made it as far as she had in show business.
Directed by Fred Olen Ray (about as good an omen as seeing buzzards circle over head in the desert), this tale of a woman (Thomas) who must protect a high-tech motorcycle from unscrupulous types is about as "B" movie as it gets (or in Fred Olen's case, "B minus").
The cast itself should tell you something. It's not every movie that combines Thomas with actors the calibre of Beswick, Hall, Combs, Donahue, Tamblyn and Landau (!!). If you're lucky, very few movies do. And even though they seem to be having fun, shouldn't some of that fun be passed on to the audience? I vote yes, seems they voted no.
Of course, if you ever wanted to see Heather deliver an uppercut to another woman, use the "F" word and get hooked up to battery cables, you've probably been looking for this one. Myself, I'll be content with old "Fall Guy" reruns.
One star, given in hopes that when another "Cyclone" hits town, Heather runs for shelter. I know I will.
(57%) A very 1980's mid-budget sci-fi actioner featuring the very lovely Heather Thomas in a role that sees her take on criminal Martin Landau using her boyfriend's (Jeffrey Combs) super high-tec motorbike equipped with a laser-beam armed helmet and some rockets. And that's it for story. But this is still an enjoyable watch as the pacing is brisk and there aren't many fun action movies like this with a female lead. There are some quite cool and well handled moments, and the action is never below normal decent standards. Anyone in the mood for some long forgotten, yet still very watchable entertainment from the 1980's should give this a go.
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