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Directed by Albert Pyun
Released in the US in 1993.
The film stars Olivier Gruner as a disillusioned police assassin named Alex Rayne. During an adrenaline charged opening chase on a mission for the futuristic LAPD, he kills several freedom fighters from a group known as The Red Army Hammerheads. Nearly killed by the surviving leader, Rosaria (Jennifer Gatti) where we learn: "Eighty-six point five percent is still human."
After his medical treatment, he tracks her to Old Baja and kills her. After which his handlers arrive, led by his former lover Jared (played by Marjorie Monaghan), who is an android. Alex decides he has had enough and tries to leave the LAPD, becoming a freelance hustler and triggerman, doing odd jobs in the underworld. However his LAPD bosses are just letting him run free for a while, and when they need him, they get him. His old boss Commissioner Farnsworth (played by Tim Thomerson) has him ambushed and kidnapped.
They bring him back for one last mission: to find his ex-lover Jared. Recounted to him by the smug and pompous Germaine (played by Nicholas Guest) she has taken vital security information of an upcoming international summit and must be stopped before she leaks the plans to his old adversaries, the Red Army Hammerheads. Commissioner Farnsworth's lieutenant, Maritz (played by Brion James) tells him she has escaped to a remote island in the Pacific. Alex is uninterested, even when Germaine shoves a pistol in his face, cooly warning him: "Pull it and you better use it," before easily disarming and knocking him senseless.
We learn it is a trick, the freedom fighters are not fighting against government control of people’s lives, but for humanity’s future. A new design of android is infiltrating the high elements of human society, copying the minds of powerful leaders into synthetic bodies, completely loyal to the cyborg cause. Farnsworth is among them.
Alex has added incentive when they reveal to him a bomb was implanted in his heart during his latest series of repairs. His mission is to find his former lover Jared, who is planning to meet with the leader of the Red Army Hammerheads, Angie-Liv (played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). After flying to the island of Shang-Lu along the Pacific Rim, he is turned loose as bait for Jared.
Burnt out, Alex has no desire to help the agency, hoping Jared is successful in her plans to hurt LAPD. He is intercepted by Julian (played by Deborah Shelton), who is a cyborg fronting for Jared. She tells him he is being shadowed by an LAPD strike team, led by Commissioner Farnsworth himself, waiting for the opportunity to hit the Hammerheads and Jared.
Jared, we learn had been fatally wounded in her escape from LA, requiring her memory core to be salvaged from her body. After removing a surveillance device implanted in his eye, she injects his arm with a digital scrambler that will prevent the bomb from being remotely detonated. She gives him Jared's memory core, enabling him to talk to her. After a wild shootout with the strike team in the hotel he is staying in, Alex and Jared, trading banter along the way, eventually join forces with a young local woman, Max Impact (played by Merle Kennedy) who claims to be a tour guide. She is actually a scout for the Hammerheads.
She is also the sister of Rosaria, the woman he killed in Old Baja and wants Alex dead. He is brought to the Hammerheads and decides to join their cause, leading to another shootout and chase through the rundown city and jungle. In the escape, he saves Max several times, eventually earning her forgiveness. In a final confrontation with Farnsworth, Alex shoots him with a grenade launcher, blowing him up.
Alex and Max arrive at a secret hanger where Yoshiro is waiting (played by Yuji Okumoto) turning out to be one of the Hammerheads after first appearing as the quirky hotel manager. While making their escape in an aerodyne, the cyborg Farnsworth, who survived but is reduced to his mechanical endoskeleton, attacks. Alex fights him off aboard the aero and after being severely wounded while killing Farnsworth, it is revealed just how much of him is cybernetically enhanced.
The cyborg Farnsworth is defeated and the aero flies off. The movie ends with Alex seeing Jared to another Hammerhead compound where they will be able to locate and destroy the labs that are being used to duplicate people. It means stripping her memory, in effect, killing her. Heavily bandaged and temporarily blind, Alex is forced to say goodbye.
Sneaking into LA and hunting down the synthetic agents, Alex corners the pompous and smug Germaine on the helipad of agency headquarters. Shooting him down, Alex replies: "See Germaine, when I pull it, I use it . . ."
Before she died, Jared told him the real Commissioner Farnsworth left him a letter at an old spy dead drop. In it, his former mentor apologizes for his sometimes rough treatment of him, reminding him that they all have to do what is right regardless. Alex knows only he can stop the cyborgs in their plans.
A new man with a new mission, Alex walks off with Max, now his partner and they joke about how they are going to smuggle his synthetic body through airport customs. Grinning, Alex answers, "Piece by piece, Max . . ."
- The movie was followed by three in-name-only sequels, none of which contain Olivier Gruner’s character.
- The “shoot through the floor” trick Olivier Gruner used in this movie was later used in the 1995 action film Judge Dredd and in the 2003 action film Underworld, and was also parodied in the Family Guy episode “Brian Goes Back to College.”
- In the opening chase and shoot out Alex is ambushed by a gunman and is forced to slide down an embankment while returning fire. This was duplicated by a conspicuously obvious stunt double for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the opening alpine chase in the 1994 James Cameron film True Lies.
- In a small part of the movie, Rayne travels to a futuristic and bleak Rio de Janeiro (in Brazil).
- Nemesis won a Global Film Critics Award for Best Art Direction.
- The scene of Alex' interrogation was shot at the Yuma Territorial Prison.
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