Nemesis 2: Nebula Blu-ray Review


Albert Pyun’s Predator Rip-Off

After hitting sci-fi cult success with Nemesis, director Albert Pyun returned with Nemesis 2: Nebula in 1995, a movie practically unrelated to the first movie. Now set in a war-torn African country, it’s a time-travel adventure with cyborg bounty hunters and plenty of explosive action fights on a limited b-movie budget.

None of the cast from the original Nemesis return. Starring a female bodybuilder named Sue Price picked entirely for her shredded physique, this sequel epitomizes low-budget, sci-fi filmmaking re-purposed into the usual action formula of the decade. If the first Nemesis took cues from smart sci-fi like Blade Runner, Nemesis 2: Nebula rips off action films like T2: Judgment Day and Predator.

Decades after the events depicted in Nemesis, humans have lost the Cyborg Wars and they are now slaves to their cyborg masters, tossing out all plot development from the first movie. Rebel scientists have developed a new mutant strain of DNA which will produce genetically gifted humans able to fight back against the cyborg menace.

After giving birth to one of these designer babies, a woman in this dystopian future steals a cyborg ship and is transported back in time to East Africa in 1980, hoping to avoid the cyborgs and give her baby a chance. The mother is soon killed but the baby survives, ultimately getting raised by a local African tribe of warriors.

…low-budget sci-fi with an action twist

Twenty years later, a cyborg bounty hunter named Nebula (Chad Stahelski of John Wick fame) eventually locates the baby, now a grown woman going by Alex. Female bodybuilder Sue Price plays Alex, a genetic freak with bursting muscles. She’s stronger and faster than any normal human, capable of amazing athletic feats. It’s b-movie lunacy at its finest having a muscular blonde woman with dreadlocks running around Africa, playing action hero with a variety of weapons. Supposedly raised by the African tribe, Alex has perfect command of English.

Pyun pulls a neat trick with his villain Nebula, cloaking his suit of armor for most of the film in a shimmering effect. It’s a play on the technology seen in Predator. You realize late in the movie why Nebula’s costume remained largely hidden from view. His costume looks like a cheap rubber suit when finally revealed.

Nemesis 2 has guns, explosions, lots of tribal warriors running around in loin clothes, and general action cheese that filled out many direct-to-video action romps in the 1990s. There’s a nebulous civil war happening in the background of the main action, as Alex gets caught up in it while dodging Nebula’s pursuit. There is a very convincing battle that takes place between Alex and Nebula, probably the movie’s signature moment.

Cutting out credits, the movie barely runs eighty minutes. You also need to see Nemesis 3 to find out how the story ends because Nemesis 2 ends on a cliffhanger with little resolution. Thankfully, MVD has included the admittedly poor third and fourth sequels on this disc. This is direct-to-video action fodder by Albert Pyun with a few interesting ideas and enough fun action. You could do worse with your time if you enjoy low-budget sci-fi with a focus on action.

By far the best of the franchise’s sequels, Nemesis 2: Nebula is eminently watchable if a tad disappointing for Nemesis fans.

Video

Released as part of a Nemesis sequel set by MVD covering movies 2 through 4, AVC compression issues aren’t an issue in Nemesis 2. A touch of macroblocking perhaps in darker material, but nothing substantial. All three movies share a single BD-50.

The direct-to-video sci-fi movie offers ample clarity, if a bit washed out and overly bright. The colors and contrast could have been tweaked for a little more life. The low-budget cinematography wasn’t really filmed with razor-sharp definition in mind outside of the best-looking exteriors and close-ups.

The film elements are in decent shape with few visible flaws. A white scan line seems to run at the upper edge of the 1.78:1 frame, largely unnoticeable if you are using overscan. The heavy usage of optical mattes introduces minor specks of debris strewn throughout select scenes.

It’s a serviceable film transfer that is mostly film-like. Certainly not the image detail of a 4K film scan, but a fairly recent transfer from clean elements in respectable condition. A German Blu-ray release presents the film at 2.10:1, which may be closer to Pyun’s intended aspect ratio.

Audio

The three included movies all come with adequate 2.0 PCM soundtracks in clean fidelity. Nemesis 2: Nebula has a decent stereo presentation with wide separation and well-defined bass. The score is nicely mixed in volume with the heavy explosions and dialogue.

There are no subtitles provided.

Extras

Having already released Nemesis in a special collector’s edition as part of MVD’s Rewind collection, it made sense for MVD to put out the franchise’s three less popular sequels as one set. Despite sharing the Nemesis name, these sequels are only barely related to the original Nemesis beyond director Albert Pyun’s involvement. Fanatic Nemesis fans may want to hunt down the region-free German Blu-ray from DigiDreams with Nemesis 2: Nebula shown in its intended 2.10:1 aspect ratio.

What you get here are Nemesis 2: Nebula, Nemesis 3: Time Lapse and Nemesis 4: Death Angel on one disc in serviceable HD transfers. Most people will be picking it up for Nemesis 2, the only decent sequel in the franchise, as Nemesis 3 actually recycles some footage from part 2. Nemesis 4 is a slow and odd movie that reaches into soft-core territory to make up for the lack of everything else.

#16 in MVD’s Rewind Collection, it comes with a slipcover and fold-out mini-poster of the cover art.

Albert Pyun talks Nemesis 2 (30:39 in SD) – An extended featurette and commentary with the director discussing specific technical aspects making the film, from camera work to lighting. Pyun is candid and fairly revealing when discussing problems, including working with star Sue Price and her issues.

Albert Pyun talks Nemesis 3 (17:00 in SD)

Albert Pyun talks Nemesis 4 (19:38 in SD)

Original Theatrical Trailers for all three films (HD)

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Nemesis 2: Nebula
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

Albert Pyun re-imagines Nemesis into a brawling sci-fi action slugfest set in Africa for this almost entirely unrelated sequel starring Sue Price.

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