Albert Pyun - the director of Sword & the Sorcerer, Cyborg, Captain America, Nemesis, and more – passed away on Saturday. He was 69.
Vanity Fair has just called him the ‘auteur of the VHS era,’ and I cannot agree more.
Pyun worked with legends Burt Reynolds, James Coburn, and Kris Kristofferson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Charlie Sheen, Courteney Cox, Ice T, Highlander's Christopher Lambert, Salinger, Blade Runner’s Rutger Hauer, Andrew Dice Clay, and more.
Albert Pyun was my friend. I caught his very first movie when it came out in 1982.
Come 2018 I had reached out to him after he put out a call for movie soundtrack composers. It looked like he was working with Christopher Lambert and I couldn’t resist.
Come 2021, I had provided Albert with 40 or so minutes of soundtrack material that we then carved down to about 20 minutes for his latest film – Cyborg: Rise of the Flesh Eaters.
I cannot tell you how inspiring it was to be working with a hero of mine – one I had been following since I was four years old. He would send me Hans Zimmer clips and Tangerine Dream type stuff for points of reference. Right in my wheelhouse.
I must have played the ‘Michael Caine recognizes Christian Bale scene’ at the end of Dark Knight Rises a thousand times for reference.
He sent me an early cut of one of his last two flicks. More dialogue driven than most of his work.
Last year Albert also gave me invaluable feedback on the first Sukunka trailer editing as well, just as he was picking up a lifetime Legacy award from the Hawaii International Film Festival.
Pyun’s Sword & the Sorcerer is arguably the best sword and sandal film of all time with the exception of Conan the Barbarian. Pyun was in on the ground floor of so many genres.
Albert’s 'Pyuniverse' is also firmly entrenched in the same sci-fi field as Blade Runner with his works Nemesis and Cyborg.
Pyun worked with American Ninja Michael Dudikoff as well as Van Damme; also a Lois Lane and Bond girl - all before they all caught on - that says something.
In the mid 1980s Albert was in production on a Spider-Man film about 15 years before Sam Raimi and Tobey. He had a direct sequel to Masters of the Universe and He-Man going long before Hollywood and Kevin Smith started adding to it.
He made a Captain America flick 15 years in the 1990s before the Russo Brothers did with Kevin Feige. That’s cutting-edge man.
As Quentin Tarantino was bringing back David Carradine with Kill Bill 1 + 2 – Pyun was also shooting with the same Kung Fu actor. Pyun worked with Burt Reynolds a full 20 years before Tarantino cast him in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Speaking of filmic needle drops and music usage - Pyun ranks with Tarantino.
If you haven’t caught any of Albert Pyun’s work – you should. He made 52 movies. Some great, many good, some otherwise.
Albert Pyun was my friend.
He has two more movies that he was working on when he passed. Let’s get on those and morte to extend the Pyuniverse beyond Albert. I bet he’d get a kick out of that.
Learn more about him - ALBERT