1993 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #17
During the 80s and 90s Albert Pyun was prolific. He pumped out movie after movie in quick succession and barely stopped to breath. In my interview with him last year he discussed never having a proper day off throughout his career. No sooner had he made ARCADE he had delivered KNIGHTS. This was a return to familiar territory for Pyun with cyborgs being at the heart of this post-apocalyptic sci-fi action film. He also wrote the story, which deals with similar themes to other cyborg related movies he has made. The film stars Kris Kristofferson, Lance Henrickson, Scott Paulin and Kathy Long and is set on a future Earth landscape where cyborgs are running out of life-sustaining oil and a rogue marauding clan of evil cyborgs discover human blood to be a superior substitute. Lead by Lance Henrickson (sporting the most ridiculous robotic claw-arm ever) they prey on human travellers. This is classic Pyun. The acting leaves a lot to be desired but where it lacks in performance, it makes up for in aesthetic. Pyun's use of landscape is awesome and his action is creatively devised in a pre-CGI, 90s kind of way. Daring fights are staged treacherously on cliff edges and are shot from weird and creative perspectives. It would be easy to brush KNIGHTS off as low-grade video fluff but the keener sci-fi geeks will find more to it. Scott Paulin's animated performance is a real show stopper and is the key to appreciating the film's intentional folly. Albert had intended KNIGHTS to be a loose spin-off to CYBORG and intended to make two sequels. Unfortunately the film under-performed and the sequels never came to fruition. I personally think that the title played a part in that... "KNIGHTS" is a misleading name and doesn't summarise the movie the way CYBORG and HEATSEEKER did for similarly themed Pyun titles. Sadly, as far as I know, KNIGHTS has never been treated to a re-release. The only way to see it is on VHS (or dvd transfer) and while it's sad that the film hasn't been as respected as it should have been, there's something wonderful about watching it on an old-school format.