Hard-to-find film is elusive no longer
Having not so long ago tracked down Nemesis on Hulu and checking it out for the first time and even reviewing it for Cinapse, I’m going to keep this round of Nemesis-talk fairly brief.
Long relatively hard to find as the careers of Albert Pyun and star Olivier Gruner have been largely forgotten by all but niche fans, Nemesis is experiencing a new era of availability for those who would seek it out. One can stream it as of this writing on Amazon Prime, and rent or purchase it on iTunes. But most importantly, one can now own it on Blu-ray, in a Special Collector’s Edition packed with bonus features no less!
Nemesis is probably the ultimate expression of director Albert Pyun’s desire to tell a cyberpunk story. Pyun is nothing if not prolific; having directed some 50+ films and counting, despite a recent dementia diagnosis that hasn’t seemed to slow him down one bit. Pyun came out of the gates in 1982 with hit film The Sword And The Sorcerer and was able to parlay that hit into a long and storied directing career. Often working in the realm of very low budgets where he was able to explore his then-niche passions for cyberpunk, heavy metal, and swords and sorcery, Pyun is truly “one of us” with deeply established geek cred.
Nemesis exists in a realm where the budget allowed for a solid cast of experienced actors, good special effects, and decent cinematography. Many of Pyun’s films do not exist in that budget range, so this is a bit of a treat. Nemesis’ plot is disjointed and feels like it took a back seat to Pyun’s interests in bringing us stylish shoot outs, killer practical gore and sci-fi effects, and overall just creating a kind of future-noir mood that’s pretty effective. Star Olivier Gruner is wooden, but chiseled as hell. The cast includes amazing turns from Tim Thomerson (Dollman), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat), Brion James (Blade Runner), and Thom Matthews (Return Of The Living Dead). Early appearances from Thomas Jane and Jackie Earle Haley are also welcome highlights.
Thanks to this packed out Blu-ray release from MVD, multiple cuts of the film are now available. I had thought that perhaps one of these cuts would be wildly different from the theatrical release because Pyun himself insists that final edit on Nemesis was denied him, and he doesn’t ultimately believe the true vision he wanted to create alongside producer Ash R. Shah made it to the big screen. However, the Nemesis 2.0 Director’s Cut available on this release was quite hard to watch as it only exists in an SD format and takes a bit of a Star Wars Special Edition approach, adding in CGI effects that have aged far worse than the practical and stop motion effects used in the original film. I love that a cut like that exists as it shows Pyun to be the endless tinkerer that he is, but Nemesis 2.0 is a huge downgrade from the experience of watching the theatrical cut in high definition. This release also offers a Japanese Extended Cut, available only on the DVD that comes packaged here.
There are simply hours of bonus features and treasures to be found here for Nemesis and Pyun fans. Extensive new interviews with Pyun and producer Eric Karson (whom Pyun essentially calls out by name as the producer he clashed with and whom he blames for changing his vision of the film) are the highlights here. A Director’s Commentary track is available but covers a lot of the same ground as the new interviews.
This disc is packed to the gills and brings the royal treatment to a niche sci-fi film that deserves that treatment but has never gotten it before. It’s a great day for genre film fans that what was once largely lost can now be found via the internet or via a home video love letter from MVD Rewind Collection.
And I’m Out.
Nemesis Special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray + DVD is now available from MVD Rewind Collection