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Friday, March 27, 2015

Back to the Stone Age: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Book Review

When we last left our intrepid heroes David Innes had been rescued from the clutches of those nasty Korsars and Tarzan and crew of the dirigible 0220 were heading back to the surface world but Jason Gridley refused to leave a man behind and vowed to stay in Pellucidar until missing crewman Wilhelm von Horst was found. That is how Tarzan at the Earth’s Core ended but for some bizarre reason at the end of this book we find out that Jason was apparently convinced by his crewmates to return with them to the surface and let David take of up the pledge to find von Horst. I have no idea why Burroughs thought this was a good idea as it makes Jason out to be a complete dick.

After a recap of how the search party got separated by a stampede and a horde of sabre-toothed tigers the book then follows its new main character Wilhelm von Horst. Things look bad for von Horst as he is alone and lost in the middle of a prehistoric world where almost everything is trying to kill him. He actually manages to run into the Tarzan’s Waziri warriors. The day is saved. Sadly von Horst is a bit of a moron, as once the Waziri take a nap in a cave leaving him on guard duty he decides to wander off and hunt up some grub. He is quickly lost again. Idiot thy name is von Horst.

This leads to one of the most interesting sections of the book where von Horst is snatched up by a Trodon, a pterodactyl like creature that has a type of marsupial pouch to stuff its prey in. He is flown to a large crater but just before being dumped in, the Trodon stings him in the back of the neck. The sting delivers a toxin that leaves our hero paralyzed from the neck down and left to be food for the soon to be hatched Trodon eggs. Von Horst finds himself lying next to a native by the name of Dangar who helps pass the time by teaching von Horst the local dialect all the while watching as Trodon eggs hatch and their progeny crawl out to eat the nearest paralyzed prey. The dread and horror of the situation is well realized as days go by as the row of “dinner guests” are gruesomely eaten alive until eventually Dangar is next on the menu.  As luck would have it, when von Horst was stung the stinger had to go through the thick leather collar of his jacket which limited the depth of the sting and the amount of poison administered to him. Just as a baby Trodon is about to snack on Dangar, von Horst gains enough mobility to reach his gun and kill the little bastard. With a little ingenuity von Horst rigs an escape from the crater and is able to rescue not only himself but the still paralyzed Dangar as well.

Von Horst and Dangar run into another native of Pellucidar by the name of Skruf with the standard Burroughs introduction by saving him from a nasty creature that was about to eat him. Skruf was out hunting tarags (sabre-toothed tigers) to pay a bride-price for the beautiful slave girl La-ja back at this village. Skruff tells von Horst and Dangar to come back to his village and that they will be treated as friends. When they are attacked by a tarag the cowardly Skruf runs and hides while von Horst and Dangar kill it. This does not prevent Skruf from taking credit for the kill when they reach his village or for betraying his friends and seeing them enslaved by his people. With a name like Skruf they really should have seen that coming.


Von Horst is able to pull off a Spartacus and leads a slave rebellion that also puts him into conflict with La-ja who when he orders her about during this slave revolt she takes umbrage to this as she is the daughter of a chieftain. She eventually forces von Horst to knock her unconscious just so he can get her to safety. This is the crux of this books love story; La-ja says she hates him and von Horst slowly falls deeper in love with her. Of course it is later revealed that she has been madly in love with him from the beginning, but back home there was giant of a man who had laid claim to her as mate and La-ja feared that von Horst would be killed if he went back with her. Ah, the perils of prehistoric love.

mammoth men

The other key element of this book, and certainly more interesting than the “Will they won’t they” love story, is when von Horst comes across a mammoth that had gotten trapped in a type of punji stick trap. Not able to see an animal suffer von Horst risks life and limb and approaches the massive beast and one by one pulls out the sharpened sticks from its padded feet. They become friends and travel together for a while and later when he is captured by the Mammoth Men it is this noble beast that saves him from captivity. All these exciting adventures and more conclude with von Horst being made chief of La-ja’s village and the eventual arrival of David Innes.

frazetta cover bttsa

Once again we are treated to some wonderfully constructed races and creatures of Pellucidar; from the strange paralyzing Trodons to the bizarre animal headed bison-men. Originally released under the title “Seven Worlds to Conquer” as a six part serial in 1937 this installment in the series is a worthy entry if one can look passed the standard multiple kidnappings of this books damsel.

Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) - Review

There is certainly no shortage of Star Wars rip-offs, but in the case of 1983s Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn we get a Star Wars/Road Warrior combo rip-off so it gets points for that.


With this offering, director Charles Band tried to cash in on the 3D craze of the 80’s but with his limited budget and an even more limited screenplay audiences found themselves watching a film that made little to no sense for its entire running time. Hell, even the movie’s title has practically nothing to do with the movie. At no point does metal form into hurricane, tornado or even a metal squall, and the movie is also lacking in any kind of destruction of bloody Jared-Syn!

michael preston 
The indestructible Jared-Syn.

The movie is apparently about this space ranger by the name of Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) who is trying to track down an intergalactic super criminal named Jared-Syn (Michael Preston). Dogen has followed Jared-Syn to the desert planet of Lemuria where he has become some kind of cult leader among a group of mutant looking dudes called “One Eyes”, who in a fight would certainly have a disadvantage when it comes to depth perception.

Survival Tip: To avoid a Cyclopian just stand a little to the left.

Do you like seeing people drive around in the desert? If so this is the movie for you as its 84 minute running time mostly consists of people driving or walking around in the desert. Occasionally an action scene will break out where a “skybike” will attack or the hero will have to ram a blockade resulting in your standard A-Team car explosions, but overall it is a surprisingly boring movie for an action film.

The optical effects here prove that tens of dollars were spent on this movie.

Now the film implies that this is some space saga but as we never leave this crummy desert planet I call bullshit. It’d be like if Han Solo and Luke just decided to drive around Tatooine in their landspeeder and occasionally shoot at Tusken Raiders but never get on board the Millennium Falcon to go anywhere. Charles Band would have been better off making this a straight Road Warrior rip-off and keep the setting as a post-apocalyptic Earth, leaving out all the space fantasy stuff that never pays off.

I am gravely disappointed. Again you have made me unleash my dogs of war.”

The damsel in distress in this film is Dhyana (Kelly Preston), the daughter of a crystal miner who was killed by Baal (R. David Smith) for mining in the Cyclopians Forbidden Zone. Baal is the cyborg son of Jared-Syn and is this film’s stand in for Darth Vader. Being that his sole power seems to be squirting hallucinogenic green goo out of his robot arm, he isn’t all that imposing.

Metalstorm baal 
Zombie Vader

Dogen teams up with Dhyana and the two of them soon encounter Baal again, where Dogen gets the goo sprayed on him. Unlike Dhyana’s father, Dogen and Dhyana’s combined will is too strong and he is able to resist Jared-Syn’s evil power.

“The Force is strong with these ones”

Syn reveals a new power, having the ability to teleport Dhyana away to his mountain hide-out and then teleport a monster for Dogen to fight. You would think a power like that would be one of your go to tactics as it almost guarantees victory in a fight. You magically yank your enemy from wherever he is hiding and then plop him down in front of a firing squad. Then you pop a beer and enjoy galactic conquest.

Beam me up!

Instead of this obvious ploy, Syn dispatches some electric monster to take care of Dogen but it is easily defeated when Dogen lasers up a puddle and tricks the creature into stepping in it and getting short circuited. We are not to ask questions like, “How does a laser blast create a well spring in the middle of the desert?” because that’s science!

He got a charge out of it.

To find the lair of Jared-Syn, rescue the girl, and save the galaxy, Dogen goes to a seedy mining town to locate Rhodes (Tim Thomerson), a washed-up ranger who apparently knows the location of the Lost City that Syn is holed up in.

I made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.

Rhodes reluctantly agrees to help and soon the buddy duo are bopping along desert roads, bashing through more blockades, swiping sacred alien relics, and fighting noble Cyclopians warriors, until finally Dogen is able to face off against Jared Syn inside the sacred Holy City.

They even have their own burning bush.

Dogen is able to convince the Cyclopians that they have been duped by Jared Syn by telling them that he plans to enslave them all once his magic crystal have sucked in enough life forces. Realizing the jig is up Syn jumps on a skybike and flees with Dogen in hot pursuit. For some reason Dogen puts on one of the Cyclopians helmets which only allows for one eye to see through so it’s no surprise that Syn escapes through some funky star gate.

It’s full of stars.

So the day is saved and our hero gets the girl, but then you ask, “Wait, wasn’t this movie subtitled The Destruction of Jared Sin?” Yes, this movie does seem to lack any kid of destruction of the villain and for the simple reason that Charles Band hilariously thought he had a franchise on his hands. Sadly we never got “Jared-Syn Strikes Back” or “Return of the Jared.


Even by shoddy Star Wars rip-off standards this movie is bad, it has no idea how to provide any sense of world building, we are just given snippets of crap about soul crystals and people who mine them but with no understanding of the why or how this works, and then we are saddled with a hero dressed like Mad Max but with the personality of Galapagos Island Turtle. Even in three dimensions this guy had no depth.

Special shout out to Richard Moll as the Cyclopian leader.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sleepaway Camp (1983) - Review

If any one genre of films dominated the 80’s it would be the slasher film. It just wasn’t a good time to be a teenager, as your chances of living to the end credits was very slim indeed. While Jason was out stalking his victims in 3D, director/writer Robert Hiltzik decided to take a stab at the genre with Sleepaway Camp.


As a child I was never sent to summer camp, but going by all the “Lord of the Flies” activities I’ve seen depicted in the movies I can’t say I’m all that sorry to have missed out on the experience. Having a large group of unruly kids being looked after by a smaller group of unruly teenagers seems like a recipe for disaster, and that’s not even taking the serial killer factor into consideration.

camp leaders 
And with these two in charge, what could go wrong?

A key ingredient to this type of movie is setting up the tragic backstory that must contain at least one wrongful death that will turn out to be the root cause of the film’s death toll. In the case of Sleepaway Camp a single father (we assumed widowed as I can’t see an 80’s judge granting custody to a gay man over the mother even if she was Lizzie Borden) along with his son and daughter are in a tragic boating accident where a distracted idiot girl runs them over with her boat.

Teen stupidity was the number one cause of death in the 80’s.

We then get the standard time jump “eight years later” and are introduced to our two leads; Ricky Thomas (Jonathan Tiersten) and Angela Baker (Felissa Rose) who are being sent off to camp by Ricky’s wacky mother Dr. Martha Thomas (Desiree Gould). Angela was taken in by her Aunt Martha after her father and sibling were killed in that boating accident. Her cousin Ricky has been to the camp before, but this is Angela’s first time, and after watching Aunt Martha for two minutes I can’t believe she hasn’t tried to flee home years ago.

Wacky Aunt 
Oh, that just wouldn’t do.”

At the camp things don’t go too well. It turns out that Angela is an extremely shy introvert, one who apparently goes the first three days of camp without talking or eating, and with most her free time filled up with being bullied by her fellow campers. Now you may think this is impossible, what kind of people running this camp would allow that? But once you see cigar chewing camp owner Mel Costic (Mike Kellin) and uberbitch Camp Counselor Meg (Katherine Kamhi) at work you quickly come to the conclusion that this camp is far from top notch. I haven’t even mentioned that the camp cook is a pedophile that tries to molest Angela in the walk in cooler.

pedo alert 
Pardon me while I whip this out.

Lucky for Angela her cousin Ricky walks in and interrupts the cook before things get out of hand, but not so lucky for the cook who later gets a giant pot of boiling water poured over him by a mysterious intruder. I’m assuming that the filmmaker’s reason for only showing us the killer’s hands is to hide the fact that Angela is the killer and that maybe it is protective Ricky who is killing anyone who antagonizes or attacks his cousin, but after repeated scenes of Angela just creepily staring into space one can’t help but realize she’s our only real suspect.

Killer Stare 
She’s got… lifeless eyes. Black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.

The movie then follows a pattern of someone being mean to Angela and then that someone dying horribly. The pedophile cook is only unbearably maimed, but everyone else who even looks at Angela sideways gets the axe, and in the case of several small children who flung sand at her, they get it literally.

dead kiddies 
Sleeping bag massacre.

Mel at first tries to cover up the deaths  for the obvious reason that if word got out he’d have to close the camp, but eventually after a couple more deaths parents start pulling the kids from the camp, which leads us to believe that the parents of the kids who stayed must have really hated their children.

Tommy was always a bit of a wash out.”

The two defining elements of a good slasher film are its killer and its cruel and unusual deaths. Felissa Rose as quiet sociopathic murdering Angela is really quite convincing, and for the most part we can enjoy her revenge fueled killings… well, that is until she rams a curling iron up her cabin mate’s vagina and the aforementioned murdering of little kids with a hatchet. These kills would even give Jason Voorhees pause. Hats off to the make-up effects guys who do stellar work here for a low budget movie.

Though I’d love to find out where Angela found those killer bees. Yikes!


Now we come to the big twist. While at the camp Angela had only one ally other than her cousin Ricky, and that was a sweet kid named Paul (Christopher Collet) who got along well with Angela until he tried to move to second base and was firmly rebuffed. When Angela later catches him kissing her bitchy cabin mate this results in the curling iron incident and leads to Paul’s grisly end. Angela lures Paul out to the beach under the pretense of a possible reconciliation and some heavy petting, but instead the police and surviving campers find a naked Angela holding a bloody knife and cradling Paul’s severed head.

she is a dude 
Also Angela is a dude.

In a flashback it is revealed that the surviving child was the boy, but that Aunt Martha already had a son and two boys “Would just not do”. So poor Peter was forced to become Angela to please his crazed aunt. What is not made clear is where Ricky fits into this crazed twist. It’s hard to believe he lived in that house eight years with his nutty mom and not find out his cousin wasn’t actually a girl. Some people believe that Ricky was actually in on the killings, and as actor Jonathan Tiersten was the on screen hands and silhouette of the killer there is some credence to that theory.

manly hands 
Such manly hands.

Director Robert Hiltzik went on to become a self-employed lawyer instead pursuing a career in the movies, which is a shame because his darkly twisted movie was easily better than half the dreck other horror directors were churning out at the time. It’s by no means a perfect movie, the endless and pointless baseball scene nips that claim at the bud, but it is entertaining and the cast lead by Felissa Rose all give credible performances, and that ending, oh my god that ending makes this movie a must see. I knew the twist going in and still that ending was a bit of a shocker.

Bonus Trivia: Actor Allen Breton who plays the local police officer left the production and shaved off his moustache and then when he returned to film the climax to Sleepaway Camp their solution to his missing moustache was less than convincing.

Can you spot the difference?


Tarzan at the Earth’s Core: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Book Review

bluebook coverBy now we take the idea of a “shared universe” for granted, but the idea of characters crossing over from one book series to another was not something done in the 20’s and 30’s when Burroughs was writing his books. In The Moon Maid he had Earth astronauts trying to reach Barsoom from the John Carter series and in Tarzan at the Earth’s Core Burroughs’ most famous creation travel to the prehistoric world of Pellucidar. If any authors were doing this sort of thing before Burroughs I’m unaware of it.

Tarzan at the Earth’s Core is a direct sequel to Tanar of Pellucidar and was first published in 1930. Though it is the 13th book in the Tarzan series, this is more a Pellucidar book than it is a Tarzan one. When we last left Pellucidar, David Innes had been recaptured by the barbaric and cruel Korsars while Tanar had escaped to alert Abner Perry to David’s predicament. On the surface of the Earth Jason Gridley had used his unique radio to contact the Perry, and after hearing of the startling events in Pellucidar he decided to mount a rescue mission. Now if you were to mount an expedition to the center of the Earth, where savage men war amongst prehistoric creatures, who would you enlist?

t Boris Vallejo - 1978 - Tarzan the Terrible 
Yeah, that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

Of course getting to the world at the Earth’s core is no easy thing, but with the knowledge imparted by Tanar about the polar openings a plan is formed and a remarkable airship is built for the journey. Tarzan would not take on such a journey without his posse, so on board are ten of his Waziri warriors along with Jason Gridley and the mostly German crew. There is a black cook onboard but with such scintillating dialogue as “Law, niggah!” he exclaimed; “you all suah done overslep’ yo’self” the less said about him the better.


When the special constructed dirigible 0-220 arrives in Pellucidar, Tarzan is the first to dash off into its foreboding jungles. None of the crew thinks anything of it as if anyone is capable of surviving alone in a hostile world it’s Tarzan. Unfortunately, our awesome ape-man steps into a snare and is captured by a group of the gorilla-like Sagoths. When he fails to return, Jason leads a search party consisting of the Wazir warrior and Wilhelm von Horst one of the German officers. Things get even worse for our intrepid rescuers.


The search party is torn asunder by stampede and the members are all scattered, lost among the wilds of Pellucidar. Jason makes it back to the 0-220 and then takes to the air with its small plane to try and locate his missing associates only to be downed shortly thereafter by a pterodactyl. With its constant noonday sun and no functional compasses (they don’t work at the center of the Earth) Tarzan and company all find themselves lost. This is especially embarrassing for Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.


The book then follows the adventures of Jason and Tarzan as each of them try and locate their friends, the narrative switching back and forth between these stalwart heroes. Jason rescues the beautiful Jana, the Red Flower of Zoram while Tarzan, travelling with Tar-gash, a Sagoth he saved from being killed by an angry Sagoth chieftain, rescues a Pellucidarian native named Thoar who turns out to be Jana’s brother. When Tarzan is carried away by a thipdar (that’s a Pellucidarian pterodactyl) and assumed dead Thoar and Tar-gash go their separate ways. It’s then that Jason, who due to the usual cultural barrier has pissed off Jana, is now alone and is able to rescue Thoar from a stegosaurus. Tarzan escapes the clutches of the thipdar and then rescues a young man from a cave bear. This young man is the son of the chief of a nearby village and when Tarzan goes back with this kid he finds Jana with them as she had been captured by these people shortly after she left Jason who she thought dead due to a flash flood.

Frazetta Tarzan

If that all sounds a bit convoluted, confusing, and almost like a primitive French farce, than I have partially done justice to this book. Burroughs deciding to have two heroes in this book not only allowed more variety in action, it did one thing a book focusing solely on Tarzan wouldn’t be able to do and that is provide a love story. Edgar Rice Burroughs provides fun pulpy adventure in a wild range of exotic locals but they all contain a love story of some kind, and with Tarzan there is the problem in the fact that he is a married man. Tarzan can’t run off to the Earth’s core and meet and fall in love with someone else without fans being outraged at a noble hero cheating on his wife. Thus we have Jason Gridley along to provide the standard romance fraught with misunderstanding and passion.

tarzan at the earths core

Burroughs Number One Rule of Adventuring: If you are going to rescue someone make sure it is either a beautiful maiden who will fall in love with you or at least they should be the son or daughter of a local chieftain.

Tarzan at the Earth’s Core is a very fun read and certainly chock full of the kind of action and excitement readers have come to expect, he will almost always slip in some clever ideas and a new cool race of people for our heroes to encounter. The only real criticism I have for this book is that the actual rescue of David Innes comes as almost an afterthought as if Burroughs reached the end of this awesome adventure story and suddenly realized, “Crap, I still haven’t rescued David yet and that was the whole point of this bloody story!”  So we get a very hurried chapter of the Pellucidarian Navy and the 0220 dirigible showing up at the Korsar capital demanding the release of David or be bombed into oblivion.  This they quickly do. The book ends with Gridley deciding to stay in Pellucidar and look for VonHorst the missing crewman thus setting us up for the next book.
Burroughs stories may follow a formula, and certain tropes will continue to pop up, but the worlds he creates are wonderful to visit.

tarzan at the earths core pb

Trancers (1984) - Review

I love time travel movies so it’s strange that I’m only seeing Trancers now for the first time. This story of a man from the future going back in time to “save the world” from an evil villain was certainly overshadowed by a much similar movie that came out the very same year, and let’s face it, a better movie, The Terminator. With an even lower budget, and dodgier script, Trancers had only stars Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt to compete with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Bien and Linda Hamilton.

Trancers poster 1 
And it didn’t have the world’s greatest poster.

Producer/Director Charles Band valiantly tried to step into the marketplace abandoned by Roger Corman, but unfortunately the marketplace no longer really existed and thus Charles Band became a straight-to-video producer and Trancers is one of those rare films of his that did get a little bit of a theatrical release.

Trancers 6 
Though it’s five sequels had no such luck.

The story starts off in the year 2247, where police trooper Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is checking out a local diner in the off chance there could be a trancer inside. A villainous psycho named Whistler (Michael Stefani), that Jack supposedly killed years ago, had the ability to turn weak willed people into murderous mind-controlled zombies and Jack has made it his life’s mission to track down and take out all those remaining trancers.

Tell me about your mother.

At the diner he finds a low life looking patron that Jack thinks could be a trancer, but it turns out that it’s the kindly old black waitress who is the trancer. We learn that when a trancer is triggered they go from mild mannered to zombie make-up applied psychopath in a heartbeat. So anyone is a potential threat.

Do not ask her about today’s specials.

After frying the trancer Jack is confronted by his boss McNulty (Art LaFleur) who orders him to get back to his regular job and to stop this one man war obsession with trancers. Jack does the only thing a rogue cop could do in this situation, he tosses his badge to McNulty and quits.

Jack Deth 
The year 2247 on a $1.48 budget.

Deth’s retirement is cut short when McNulty and some troopers drop by to interrupt his diving on the sunken remains of Los Angeles to tell him that Whistler is alive and targeting members of the council chairmen. This should be impossible, as the High Council is located in mountain fortress, but Whistler has used a drug that allows one to travel back in time and enter the body of one of his ancestors and then simply track down and kill an ancestor of a council member which will result in all of their descendants ceasing to exist. Once the council is out of the way, Whistler has an army of trancers ready to swoop in and take over Angel City.

The Council 
“Jack, he could also go back and inspire an Ashton Kutcher movie about the Butterfly Effect.”

Jack volunteers to take the drug that will send him back to 1984 where he will inhabit his great-great-grandfather, a journalist named Phil Dethton, while tracking down Whistler who is in-turn occupying the body of police detective named Weisling. Before Jack leaves 2247 he incinerates the body of Whistler so the sonofabitch will have no body to return to. This displeases his bosses who wanted to put Whistler on trial for already making one of the Council chairmen cease to exist.

Time lab 
I bet they end up drawing a penis on his face while he’s out of his body.

Jack finds himself in the bathroom of Phil Dethton who has just had a great night of sex with a punk rocker named Leena (Helen Hunt). Doing his best to cover for the fact that he has no idea who Leena is or how to navigate Los Angeles circa 1984 he takes Leena to her job as mall Santa helper. Lucky for Deth it turns out that Santa is a newly turned trancer and immediately tries to kill him, which aids in proving to Leena his crazy story about being a time traveling cop. I myself have tried, and believe you me it is a tough sell.

Santa trancer 
You’ve just made Santa’s shit list, Mister Deth.”

The rest of the film consists of Jack Deth and Leena wandering around Los Angeles trying to track down the ancestors of the two remaining council members before Whistler and his trancer flunkies can kill them. Overall, the fish-out-of-water element of the movie works well, as Tim Thomerson can pull off the world weary Dashiell Hammet character perfectly and Helen Hunt can easily handle her comic role as slightly ditzy punk girl (though we are talking very lite-punk rocker) and the action though of a low budget nature is effective enough.

Helen Hunt 
Helen Hunt is quite adorable in this film.

What does fail is any moment dealing with time travel. Now the idea of using a drug to send your mind back in time to an earlier ancestor is quite clever and nicely dispatches the need for a time machine, but what they fail to even comprehend (or apparently care about) is the cause and effect of time travel. When Deth is first hired to go on this mission to stop Whistler, Chairman Spencer (Richard Herd) describes his fellow councilman, as well as his descendants, as disappearing before his eyes after Whistler killed his ancestor. However, killing the man’s ancestors should result in the man never having been born, meaning no one should have any memory of him ever having existed. Killing someone in the past should have an immediate effect on the future, and the only way this would work is if Whistler left a bragging video explaining how there used to be three council members, and now there are only two.

zombie trancer 
Thinking of time travel makes my head hurt.

So the time travel element fails but then so do most of The Terminator movies, with only the first one’s closed loop holding up quite well. With a plot that makes little to no sense and with low budget’s cheesy effects this move should have been relegated to the video dustbins, but somehow the cast pull this off (I don’t give much credit to Charles Band here) as Thomerson and Hunt have great chemistry together, and the supporting cast with the likes of character actors Art LaFleur and Telma Hopkins as the time travel engineer gel beautifully.

tancers police squad 
Whistler and his trancer cops.

Science Note: Jack Deft has a cool watch that extends one second to ten seconds for the wearer and uses it a couple of times to save the day. First to evade a firing squad of trancer cops and then secondly to catch a falling Leena; that he should have taken the time out of evading the firing squad to put a bullet in Whistler gets a pass as the script has Leena ask Deth why he didn’t kill Whistler and he tells her he didn’t have time to save her and get Whistler. *bullshit* But I won’t let slide the fact that while time is frozen apparently gravity is localized. Jack should not have been able to slide down a wire to get under a falling Leena, because with time frozen so is gravity and thus would not allow Deth to travel any faster than how she was falling.

Now all its goofiness is available in Hi-Def!

As a time travel movie it doesn’t quite work, but as a fun 80’s action film it’s worth checking out.  Even with its plot and technical failings the cast do not hold back and all deliver terrific performances.