Albert Pyun Dead: ‘Nemesis,’ ‘Cyborg’ Cult Filmmaker Was 69

Albert Pyun, a genre filmmaker whose extensive oeuvre includes such cult favorites as “Cyborg,” “Sword and Wizardry,” “Nemesis” and 1989’s “Captain America,” died Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev. He was 69 years old. years old.

Pyun was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and dementia a few years ago. In recent months, his wife and producer Cynthia Curnan has periodically shared updates on his condition. Most recently, she asked fans to share personal messages with the director after his health began to decline.

Curnan confirmed Pyun’s death via Facebook, writing: “I sat with him as he took his last breath, which sounded like he was letting go of the weight of the world.”

Working mostly on low budgets for the direct-to-video market, Pyun developed immersive dreamlike lighting, post-apocalyptic decay and surreal, balletic action that found an enthusiastic fan base among genre film audiences over the years. In a filmmaking career spanning four decades, Pyun has collaborated with true action icons including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Christopher Lambert and Burt Reynolds, as well as collaborators such as Snoop Dogg, Charlie Sheen, Ice-T, Lance. Henriksen, Ronnie Cox, Kris Kristofferson, James Coburn, Rutger Hauer and Dennis Hopper.

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Born on May 19, 1953 in Hawaii, Pyun was raised as a military child, living on bases around the world before his family settled back in the Rainbow State. After watching one of his short films, Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune invited Pyun to work as an intern in the production of Akira Kurosawa’s 1975 film Derzu Uzula. After Mifune withdrew from the project, Pyun instead worked on the production of one of the actor’s TV series, under the tutelage of Kurosawa’s resident cameraman Takao Saito.

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After returning to Hawaii to film commercials, Pyun came to Los Angeles. He started his film career in 1982 with the high fantasy epic “The Sword and the Sorcerer”. Working on a $4 million budget, the feature was an unlikely commercial success, grossing $40 million at the box office.

Building a close relationship with Cannon Pictures, Pyun was appreciated for his ability to create inventive productions with a quick turnaround. He directed more than 20 feature films in the 1990s, including his four-part Nemesis series and 1990’s Captain America, the first live-action adaptation of a Marvel Comics superhero.

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After the turn of the millennium, Pyun began to self-finance his own projects, producing films such as Road to Hell, Bulletface and Invasion. Late in life, the director continued to develop and pursue creative endeavors while maintaining medical care.

According to his wife, Pyun was working on two unfinished features before his death, hoping to turn the projects into a six-episode series. “For Albert, failure was never an option,” she wrote.

Pyun is survived by his wife, Cynthia Curnan.



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