Cyberjack (1995) poster

Cyberjack (1995)


aka Virtual Assassin

USA/Canada. 1995.


Director – Robert Lee, Screenplay – Eric Poppen, Producer – John A. Curtis, Photography – Allan Trow, Music – George Blondheim, Digital Visual Effects – The Magic Camera Co (Supervisor – Angus Bickerton), Special Effects – Paller Special Effects (Supervisor – Gary Paller), Makeup Effects – Gitte Axen & Shawna Magrath, Production Design – Linda Del Rosario & Richard Paris. Production Company – Everest Entertainment/Fuji Eight Co Ltd/Prism Pictures/John A. Curtis/Catalyst Films International.


Michael Dudikoff (James Nickolaus), Brion James (Nassim), Suki Kaiser (Dr Alex Royce), Duncan Fraser (Dr Phillip Royce), Topaz Hasfal-Schou (Meghan), Gavin Cross (Numb), Dean McKenzie (Reef), Jerry Wasserman (Neil Jervis), Alvin Sanders (John), Jon Cuthbert (Devon), James Thom (Travis), Hiro Kanagawa (Kenji), John Tench (Shreck)


Terrorists break into a computer research lab to steal an artificially intelligent bio-linked computer virus designed by Dr Philip Royce and intended for use in protecting computer systems against intrusion. Just as they enter, Royce activates the virus’s self-destruct. The terrorist leader Nassim shoots Royce and takes the other employees hostage to force Royce’s daughter Alex to crack the self-destruct codes before the virus is destroyed. It is up to burned-out former cop James Nickolaus, working as the building’s janitor, to save the day.

Forget the science-fiction pitch that Cyberjack is sold with. For the most part, this only serves as a thin pretext for a film that has no other pretensions to be anything other than a cheap Die Hard (1988) copy that sits on the 50c video shelves.

As an action film, Cyberjack is singularly routine. Everything comes written to cliché – the burned-out cop improbably working as a janitor in a building just as it is taken over by terrorists. The action lacks anything more spectacular in scale than a laser cannon blowing up a stationary car. (The one cool thing about the film is Topaz Hasfal-Schou in a striking strapless Amazonian suit who goes through the routine moves with a vicious litheness).

As action, Cyberjack is dull and unimaginatively staged but as science-fiction it verges on the near laughable. It is clearly written by people who know next to nothing about computers. First, there is the idea of an artificially intelligent computer virus: “Please explain to us how you can make a virus think?” someone not unreasonably asks early on. “By merging it with neurological protoplasm,” comes the preposterously straightfaced answer.

By the climax, the film goes from the barely plausible – an artificially-intelligent computer virus – to the outrightly laughable with Brion James downloading the virus into his brain, becoming a megalomaniac, going crazy, shooting lightning bolts from his eyeballs and turning cops into zombies via their radio headpieces. Of course, the film’s pretensions are added to by Brion James in full OTT mode, made up as a goateed zombie and not taking a bit of it seriously, bawling out lines like [after someone accuses him of playing God]: “After tonight, God’ll be lucky if I even return his phone calls.”

Trailer here

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