Albert Pyun: Wikis


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Albert Pyun
Born 1954
Hawaii, U.S.
Years active 1982 - current

Albert Pyun (born 1954) is a American film director best known for having made many low-budget B-movies and direct-to-video action films. He frequently blends kickboxing and hybrid martial arts with science fiction and dystopic or post-apocalyptic themes, which often include cyborgs.




His career has had a number of different phases. His early work in the early-to-mid-1980s was marked by imaginative, if uneven fantasy films such as The Sword and the Sorcerer, Radioactive Dreams and Vicious Lips. Radioactive Dreams marked a collaboration with John Stockwell (Blue Crush, Into the Blue, Turistas) who would go on to write and act in Dangerously Close (1986) for Pyun. Radioactive Dreams is also notable as the second collaboration with Oscar-winning Special Make Up Effects guru Greg Cannom (Dracula, Van Helsing), with whom Pyun would work steadily into the 1990s, and as the first film editing for Oscar winners David Brenner (Wall Street) and Joe Hutchings (Born on the Fourth of July).

Pyun's first film, "The Sword and the Sorcerer" remains his biggest hit to date. According to, the, released on April 23, 1982 in 233 theaters, eventually grossed more than $39,000,000 dollars in the United States. Its widest opening on April 30, 1982 resulted in a gross of $4,100,886 which ranked the film #2 that week in America [1]. It remains the 7th highest grossing sword and sorcery film of all time and the 26th highest grossing fantasy film of all time even at it's unadjusted for inflation gross numbers.

Pyun's career took a slightly more mainstream turn with the acclaimed thriller Dangerously Close, which he followed with a romantic adventure film, Down Twisted, starring Carey Lowell, Charles Rocket, and Courteney Cox.

The late 1980s found Pyun making some of his most interesting if poorly-received movies, such as supermodel Kathy Ireland's acting debut in Alien from LA, a PG children's fairy tale, and Cyborg which starred, "The Muscles from Brussels," Jean-Claude Van Damme, then at the start of his career. During this era, Pyun made his three-day cult classic Deceit for $25,000. It is still consider one of his best experimental efforts. In 1989 he began the ill-fated Captain America which was severely hampered when the financing fell out. The film limped to completion a mere shadow of the film it was intended to be.

Cyborg opened as the #4 highest grossing film in America on April 7, 1989[2]. Cyborg is ranked as the 26th highest grossing cyborg/robot/android film of all time and the 86th highest grossing martial arts film of all time.

As reference, Pyun provides detailed background informations on Cyborg, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Captain America and his other films from past interviews posted at the filmmaker's Facebook fan site: Albert Pyun Movies / Facebook. Pyun has also created a comprehensive website that provides insight to his past films and their productions[1].


The 1990s found Pyun moving from film to film with very little in the way of personal cinema. The exceptions were his minor sci-fi success Nemesis (film), starring Olivier Gruner, with a young Thomas Jane; his offbeat love story Brainsmasher... A Love Story (1993) with Teri Hatcher and Andrew Dice Clay; and Mean Guns (1997) with Christopher Lambert and Ice-T.

Nemesis opened in theaters on January 29, 1993 [3] and remains the 36th highest grossing cyborg/robot/android film of all time.

On June 14, 1991, Kickboxer 2, written by David Goyer (Ghost Rider, Blade, The Dark Knight) and directed by Pyun opened in theaters. Kickboxer 2 ranks as the 29th highest grossing sequel in history.[4]

Having trained under the legendary Akira Kurosawa, he has been acknowledged for squeezing dramatic cinematography into otherwise low budget productions. Japanese superstar Toshiro Mifune and Kurosawa's cameraman Takao Saito were among Pyun's mentors. His most successful works include The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), Cyborg (1989), and Nemesis (1992). His low-profile 1985-movie Radioactive Dreams won The Golden Raven at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film. A few of his films have gained sizeable cult followings.

Pyun founded the Filmwerks production company in 1994, which he left in 1999. Although Pyun has been long considered a direct-to-video king, several of Pyun's films managed to secure release US big-screen cinemas: The Swords and the Sorcerer, Radioactive Dreams, Dangerously Close, Down Twisted, Alien from LA, Cyborg, Kickboxer 2, Nemesis and Adrenalin...Fear the Rush. His work has featured a large number of stars, such as Charlie Sheen, Rutger Hauer, Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Christopher Lambert, Teri Hatcher, Courteney Cox, Thomas Jane, Dennis Hopper, Tom Sizemore, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Burt Reynolds, Rob Lowe, Mario Van Peebles, Nas, Natasha Henstridge, Big Pun, Fat Joe and Kris Kristofferson.


The late 1990s through 2004 found Pyun involved in uninspired films and with a succession of new, but highly dubious producers. The quality of his work plummeted when he parted ways with his longtime producer Tom Karnowski and cinematographer George Mooradian. Pyun directed and produced "TICKER" in May 2000. The film had a stellar B cast which included Steven Seagal, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper, Jaime Pressly, rapper Nas and Ice-T plus Chilli of the R&B group TLC. The film was made for Artisan Entertainment which had North American rights and Nu-Image which held rights to the rest of the world. USA Network pre-bought the US Pay TV rights. The film became Artisan's second most profitable film in their history after the Blair Witch Project and was awarded the VSDA's 2002 Best Non-Theatrical Independent Feature film.

Pyun was interviewed at length by genre site Planet Origo [2], where he discusses his long career and gives insight into the making of his movies and his filmmaking philosophy.]

Pyun is also in post production on an upgrade of his original Nemesis (1992). A promo for the upgrade was featured in a story on the QuietEarth website: [3]. This upgrade is being done even as Pyun announced his intention to make a sequel to both the Cyborg and Nemesis films, [4]

In 2002, Pyun put together two feature films shoot on the Big Island of Hawaii for Andrew Stevens and Phoenician Entertainment. Pyun co-directed one of the films. Both were financial but not artistic successes. In April 2002 Anchor Bay re-released his first film, "The Sword and the Sorcerer" on DVD in North America.

In 2002 and early 2003, Pyun worked with Chuck Norris and Norris Entertainment and NBC to try to establish a possible series for Norris concerning the Coast Guard in Hawaii. The series was never picked up.

In 2004 Pyun went to the US territory of Guam and, along with film producer John Laing, convinced the Guam government to put up a $800,000 loan guarantee to finance their film Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon. [5] In his effort to convince Guam officials to approve the loan guarantee, Pyun told them that he and his producer (Laing) had a "sterling financial record" and that neither he nor John Laing had ever defaulted on a loan. [6] In 2006 producer John Laing defaulted on the film's loan, and Guam lost its guarantee. According to a 6/13/07 article in The Los Angeles Times, Laing blamed Pyun for the failure of the film. The matter is currently in litigation, both in California and in Guam[7]. The loan recovery lawsuit in Guam Superior Court, which involves allegations of fraud, [8] goes to trial on 6/29/2010. Matt Borden, attorney for the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority, said: "The public interest factors are very compelling in that Laing and the Max Havoc film makers came to Guam with the specific purpose of defrauding the government and basically getting any kind of money they could out of the people, and they did. Then they left and didn't keep any of their promises. [9] In a number of interviews with both guam press, LA Times and websites such as Manifest Das Fimmagzin, Pyun explains his involvement [5]As of yet, Pyun has not been involved in the litigation, even though he played a large role in securing the $800,000 Guam loan guaranty for John Laing along with convincing Guam businesses to donate cash and services to the film in the amount of one million dollars.[10] One such Guam business, GUAMCELL Communications, was promised a promotional commercial by Pyun and Laing in exchange for wireless devices and services for the making of "Max Havoc", but received nothing. GUAMCELL president Mark Chamberlin said of his experiences with Pyun and Laing: "It seems like on the front end, they came into (Guam) and they want everyone to participate and they want favors, corporate sponsors. Once they got here and started shooting , it was 'me, me, me,'..." [11] Other Guam businesses who felt ripped off by Pyun and Laing include Outrigger Hotel, Payless Markets, and Triple B Forwarders [12]

His 2005 film Infection, was praised for its unconventional camera work and cinematography: 68 minutes in length, it is one uninterrupted shot from a surveillance camera mounted inside a police car. The film won Best Picture and Best Director at Spain's 2005 Estepona International Film Festival and was acquired by Lions Gate Films for release on December 18, 2007. It also screened at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film to great acclaim. The film was entered in more than 20 film festivals around the world. The title of the film was changed by Lions Gate Entertainment to Invasion so as not to be confused with an earlier Lions Gate release.[13]

After the success of Invasion Pyun increased his directing activity. The films Cool Air and Bulletface came in 2006 (winner of Best Experimental at the 2006 Northwest Projections Film Festival), followed by Left for Dead and From Beyond in 2007. In 2006, eight of his films were re-released, including his sole romantic comedy, Brainsmasher... A Love Story and in 2008, "The Sword and the Sorcerer" in Australia.

On September 8, 2007, Pyun won Best Director for "Left For Dead" at the 8th Edition of the Estepona International Film festival of Horror and Fantasy. Victoria Maurette won Best Actress honors on November 1, 2007 at the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre International Film Festival for her lead performance in the film. On November 1, 2007 in Cape Town, Left For Dead received the Audience Award from the 2007 Horrorfest South Africa. The film was acquired for North America distribution in 2008 by Grindstone Entertainment, a division of Mandate Pictures.

On December 18, 2007 Invasion AKA Infection was released in the United States on DVD by Lions Gate Films.

"Invasion" opened at number four on the Rentrack rankings of direct to dvd releases for the week Dec 18-23. It was number seven the following week.[14]

"Left For Dead" will be released in North America on March 4, 2008 via Lions Gate Films and opened at number 6 in North America (DVD non-theatrical rental).[15]

In July 2008 Pyun directed "Road to Hell" starring Michael Pare', Clare Kramer, Courtney Peldon and Deborah Van Valkenburgh.[16] Official website is Film is currently in post production. It is screening as a work in progress at 2008's Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. According to, the picture has a release date of June 2010.

In September 2008, Pyun began production on his long delayed "Tales of an Ancient Empire". Shooting began on October 12, 2008 with Christopher Lambert and Kevin Sorbo. The film is scheduled to be released on April 23, 2010.[17]

He is reported to have begun pre-production on his sequel to his 1997 cult film "Mean Guns". No cast has been announced but it is suppose to begin shooting in November 2009 in South Africa.

Randall Fontana writes Pyun's current project Bulletface and will begin to shoot in spring 2010.[18] The thriller is an direct-to-video project which slated to release on 26 January 2010[19] and stars Victoria Maurette, Steven Bauer, Scott Paulin, Morgan Weisser, Assaf Cohen, Jenny Dare Paulin and Eddie Velez.[20] Initial reviews of Bulletface were positive: [6], [7]

On 02 January 2010 began his Upcoming 3D Vampire film "BITE!"[21], [22]

Selected filmography

  • The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)
  • Radioactive Dreams (1985)
  • Dangerously Close (1986)
  • Vicious Lips (1987)
  • Down Twisted (1987)
  • Alien from L.A. (1988)
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (1989)
  • Deceit (1989)
  • Cyborg (1989)
  • Bloodmatch (1991)
  • Captain America (1990)
  • Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)
  • Dollman (1991)
  • Nemesis (1992)
  • Arcade (1993)
  • Knights (1993)
  • Brain Smasher... A Love Story (1993)
  • Spitfire (1994)
  • Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)
  • Hong Kong 97 (1994)
  • Heatseeker (1995)
  • Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995)
  • Nemesis III: Prey Harder (1995)
  • Nemesis 4: Death Angel (1995)
  • Raven Hawk (1996)
  • Adrenalin: Fear the Rush (1996)
  • Blast (1997)
  • Omega Doom (1997)
  • Mean Guns (1997)
  • Crazy Six (1998)
  • Postmortem (1998)
  • The Wrecking Crew (1999)
  • Urban Menace (1999)
  • Corrupt (1999)
  • Ticker (2001)
  • More Mercy (2003) (V)
  • Final Examination (2003)
  • Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon (2004)
  • Invasion AKA Infection (2005)
  • Left for Dead (2007)
  • From Beyond (2007)
  • "Anomaly (2008)
  • Sweating Bullets (2010)
  • La Matanza (2009)
  • Left for Dead 2 (2010)
  • Bulletface (2010)[23]
  • "Road To Hell (2010) [24]
  • Tales of an Ancient Empire (AKA The Princess) (2010)[25]
  • H. P. Lovecraft's Cool Air (2010)
  • "Sorcerers (2011 film) (2011)
  • Untitled 3D Vampire Movie (2010)
  • "Mean Guns 2 (2011)
  • "Bite! (2011)
  • "Cyborg/Nemesis" (2011)
  • "Satomi Hakkoden" (in development)



External links

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