Wednesday 18 November 2020

VHS Wednesday - Cyclone (1987)

Heather Thomas - Cyclone (1987)

Are you tired of all the VUCA shit at this end of the timeline? 

Tired of Covid, the fires, the riots, the murders, the murder-hornets and the lies?

Do you long for a simpler time, a time when nothing surprising or awful ever happens?

You do!?

Well, MERCENARY invites you to travel back to 1987, to a movie in which only one* surprising thing happens. 

Well, two surprising things happen if you count the mildly surprising murder of the protagonist's geeky boyfriend, but if you read the back of the VHS box you already knew that was coming.

That's not to say that Cyclone doesn't raise any questions. Indubitably no! It raises many questions.

Questions such as, why can't a 400 horsepower motorcycle outrun a XL600 on knobblies? If you have a motorcycle equipped with laser blasters and rear facing rocket launchers, why wait 'til the very end of the movie to use them? And the big question, what the fuck is going on with all these betrayals and double crossings? 

Cyclone, a 400 horsepower Superbike, failing to outrun a Honda XL600

Apart from being unsurprising, Cyclone has a couple of other things to recommend it. It has the same sort of production values as an episode of the A-Team  or Nightrider and it's shot in and around LA so it will be deeply familiar to anyone who grew up watching American TV shows in the '80s.

However, Cyclone's single biggest attraction is Heather Thomas. Heather Thomas is probably best known for playing Jody in the TV show The Fall Guy and she plays a similar character here (Teri).

Teri's geeky boyfriend has built a 400 horsepower combat motorcycle in his secret lair cleverly hidden behind a retractable panel in his apartment. The bike has radar resistant paint, laser blasters and rocket launchers but none of that is very important because the machine's real killer app is how it is powered. It can run on regular gasoline, or alternatively by tapping hydrogen in the atmosphere using a free energy device called the Transformer.

Why is it called the Transformer when that name has already been taken by y'know, transformers? Why is the geeky boyfriend fucking about with motorcycles at all when clearly this technology has a much wider application? Disappointingly, these questions aren't addressed and the Transformer is just a MacGuffin that the various back-stabbing parties are trying to get their hands on.

Just as the geeky boyfriend is about to finish the motorcycle he is unsurprisingly murdered in a moderately discomfiting, apparently random, punk-rock-club murder. Teri, who was deeply in love with the geek is now understandably upset. But she's a trooper, so she returns to the secret lair where the geek has presciently left instructions on a VHS cassette on how to finish the motorcycle, arm the various weapon systems, install the Transformer and hand off the finished bike to a secret government agent, who is the only person that Teri should trust.

Heather Thomas adorably plays in Teri in Cyclone (1987)

Teri makes arrangements to meet the secret government agent, whereupon he too is murdered by punk rockers. Teri finds herself alone in the industrial wastelands of LA, forced to survive, armed with nothing more than her wits. And a 400 horsepower motorcycle with laser blasters and rocket launchers.

The rest of the movie unfolds in a blur of motorcycle chases, kidnaps, crosses and double crosses before Teri finally deploys the laser blasters and the rocket launchers in a coup de grâce that pretty much wraps everything up. Except the Transformer, which Teri later casually discards into a very shallow puddle causing the thing to self destruct.

This raises the final unanswered question of this movie - Why didn't the geeky boyfriend manufacture this world-changing device to at least IP66 standard? I mean, it was installed on a motorcycle FFS!

Heather Thomas really shines in this movie and without her, it would be entirely forgettable. She rides motorcycles, takes out a trio of LA rednecks (!?) with a tyre iron, bravely resists torture and spits in the eye of evil. She is by turns funny, sassy, gutsy and sexy. In short, she's adorable.

Essentially, this movie is Heather Thomas, the familiarity of 1980s TV, and a low stress, made for VHS story-line. It's deliciously nostalgic, unchallenging and fun.  

In these Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous times, this just might be the movie you need.

Heather Thomas stars in Cyclone (1987) - DVD Cover

#HeatherThomas #Cyclone #TheEighties #VHSWednesday #VUCA #VolatileUncertainComplexAndAmbiguous #XL600 #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage

*SPOILER ALERT - The only real surprise in this movie is the first betrayal where Teri finds her gym trainer is not who she purports to be. I'm still reeling from this revelation so I just thought I'd put that out there in the interest of reducing anxiety.

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