Story: Teri (Heather Thomas) loves to exercise, fist fight in parking lots, ride motorcycles, and go out dancing, but her boyfriend Rick (Jeffrey Combs) spends most of his time working on top secret experiments in his lab. His latest project is Cyclone, perhaps the most bad ass motorcycle ever constructed and as if the futuristic look wasn’t enough, this ride also happens to be decked with rockets and even laser blasters. One night, Teri is able to persuade Rick to join her out at the clubs, but he is stabbed to death right on the dancefloor. After Rick’s death, everyone seems to want to take over the Cyclone, but the late inventor left behind detailed instructions. Now Teri must keep Cyclone a secret and deliver the motorcycle to the one agent that Rick trusted, but with forces closing in on all sides, can she make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands?
Entertainment Value: Cyclone might not live up to the premise of Heather Thomas raising hell on a bleeding edge, weaponized motorcycle, but this is a fun b movie from Fred Olen Ray, who knows the b movie world inside and out. The story is fine, not going to dazzle anyone, but it allows for some action and some b movie vibes, which is enough in this case. The movie starts with some fun scenes in a gym, then some action, then cheesy romance, then more b movie vibes, but once Rick dies, the pace slows and the wackiness follows suit. The middle stretch of Cyclone always seems poised to pop off, as if an action set piece or some wild moment awaits, but it nearly always dials back. Which is a shame, as this could have been a blast with a more carefree, over the top approach, which you’d have thought would be the idea here. These slower stretches aren’t unwatchable, but I’m just curious why so much time was more or less used as filler, with so much potential right there. Things pick up again toward the conclusion, but I still wish we had more motorcycle mayhem from Cyclone. But there is a little sleaze, some bloodshed, gratuitous exercise, and an evil Billy Idol, so this still earns a recommendation.
The cast of Cyclone is impressive, so hold on to your hats as you witness what is easily one of Martin Landau’s worst performances. He seems to take phoning it in to a new level here, showing no energy or enthusiasm whatsoever in this wooden turn. I think it is hilarious however, as he is so bad and puts so little effort into his performance, it sometimes yields unintentional humor. He also comes off like a creep sometimes, thanks his lifeless, cold work here. On the positive side, Heather Thomas is immense fun and while I wish she was given more to do, she handles the b movie aspect of Cyclone with ease and shines when she is given fun exchanges. I love how she takes down the creeps toward the film’s start and I think she is a capable lead, just not fully utilized in this case. Jeffrey Combs is always fun to see turn up, but he has a small role here, so keep that in mind. The cast also includes Martine Beswick, Troy Donahue, Robert Quarry, and Ashley Ferrare.