CYBORG 2087 (1966) Blu-ray
Director: Franklin Adreon
Kino Lorber Studio Classics

A low-budget science fiction entry with a surprisingly intelligent and innovative story, CYBORG 2087 helped cement actor Michael Rennie’s perpetual association with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and the alien invasion cycle. This time, the aging stalwart plays a visitor from the future, a human with robotic parts sent on a history-changing mission. Never before available on home video in the United States, Kino Lorber presents CYBORG 2087 on Blu-ray, and it’s a stunner of a presentation.

In the futuristic Earth year of 2087, a government controlled-world makes freedom of thought illegal. A band of “free thinkers” decide to rebel, sending Garth A7 (Michael Rennie, ASSIGNMENT TERROR) in a capsule back to the year 1966, with government agents trying to interfere. When Garth makes it back to the swinging 1960s, he is determined to meet top scientist Professor Sigmund Marx (Eduard Franz, THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE) and stop him before he can publicly reveal a breakthrough that will change the course of mankind. Garth doesn’t make contact with Sigmund right away, getting into a number of mishaps even though his intentions are clearly peaceful. Arriving in an old ghost town, Garth (dressed in a light jumpsuit, silver Ziggy Stardust boots and a work glove covering his non-human hand) aims his stun-gun at an old hillbilly (Chubby Johnson, that’s right, Chubby Johnson!), his nephew and their barking German Shepherd, stealing their red jeep. He makes his way to the suburbs (where the stolen vehicle is identified by a gas station attendant) and nabs an overcoat and hat before breaking into Professor Marx’s lab.

As Marx is away giving a lecture, Garth is greeted by his associate, the lovely Dr. Sharon Mason (Karen Steele, MARTY) who of course doesn’t believe his time-travel plea, so he uses telepathy and a wired-up headpiece to convince her that he’s a “free thinking” cyborg from the future. Now Sharon is in full support of Garth (later falling in love with him, despite the fact that he has no emotions) and takes him to colleague Dr. Carl Zeller (Warren Stevens, FORBIDDEN PLANET), who is hesitant to believe his story until he shows off his mechanical parts. Zeller helps Garth with an operation and a needed charge at an electrical power station(!) but our visitor has been tracked by two time-traveling destructive cyborgs known as “Tracers” (veteran stuntmen Dale Van Sickel and Troy Melton) who look to be dressed in the same kind of green army costumes you’d see schoolboys garbed in and playing in the backyard (only with oversized open-faced wristwatches and fancy silver straps). Will Garth defeat the Tracers and supply Professor Marx with the proper knowledge and convince him to keep his discovery a secret in time to save mankind?

CYBORG 2087 was part of batch of films made by United Pictures Corporation (others being CASTLE OF EVIL and DESTINATION INNER SPACE) with the intention of quickly selling the product to television in the days when stations were looking to purchase color feature films. B-grade sci-fi writer and occasional-director Arthur C. Pierce (THE COSMIC MAN, BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER) concocts an intelligent screenplay, and if it seems similar to THE TERMINATOR (made almost 20 years later) that’s because it is. There’s nothing fancy about showcasing the futuristic and technical aspects here (think army surplus and plastic furniture), but it’s more about ingenuity and imagination, making it a fun little film with Rennie playing up his “Klaatu” persona to the hilt. For all its camp mixed with sophisticated sci-fi, the film has a nice range to it and isn’t as studio-bound as a lot of other UPC productions (making use of such notable California locations as Griffith Park), though you get the feeling they only used the ghost-town set since they had access to it (cause for an endless fight scene in a barn, it does seem out of place with the rest of the picture) with the sets of the infamous Producers Studios standing in for most of the interiors. The music is credited to Paul Dunlap, but much of it is stock cues found in numerous other movies and TV shows, including NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

The cast of CYBORG 2087 is made up of a lot of movie veterans and future stars including Wendell Corey (THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES) as the grumpy sheriff, Adam Roarke (HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS) as his young deputy, Harry Carey Jr. (ONE MORE TRAIN TO ROB) as a nosy reporter named Jay C, John Beck (ROLLERBALL) as one of the dancing kids at a square house party, MISSILE TO THE MOON star Richard Travis as a general, and an impossibly young Jo Ann Pflug (MASH) as the control room operator responsible for sending Garth on his time-travel mission.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents CYBORG 2087 on Blu-ray in 1080p HD in its proper 1.85:1 theatrical ratio. Colors are significantly vibrant here, and detail is sharp with good black levels throughout. Texture and grain are also handled perfectly, giving a pleasing film-like appearance, and the source material is in excellent shape, resulting in a terrific, clean transfer. The English DTS-HD Master Audio track has good range and clear dialogue (no subtitle options are available on the disc). An audio commentary is included with writer/filmmaker Chris Alexander, who ties things in with the time he caught it on late night local TV with Rennie being the main reason he tuned in; he calls the film “flat” in terms of direction, but raves about the script and shares as much production history, trivia and general info that can be stretched into 85 minutes. There’s no trailer for the film included, but there are trailers for THE SATAN BUG, THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING, CHOSEN SURVIVORS, PANIC IN YEAR ZERO and THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT. (George R. Reis)