Thursday, 27 March 2008

Timelock



TIMELOCK (1996)

Directed by: Robert Munic
Screenplay: Joseph John Barmettler & J. Reifel
Starring: Maryam d’Abo, Ayre Gross & Jeff Speakman

Timelock is about as low rent as low rent sci-fi action movies come. Shot in the mid nineties in what appears to be a series of abandoned warehouses, flicks like these were a dime a dozen and clogged up the video store shelves and cable channels throughout most of the last decade. Shot in almost perpetual darkness, featuring special effects that make the original Dr. Who look awe inspiring and with hammy overacting a plenty, Timelock is quite obviously: brilliant. I’ll make no bones about it; I love these kinds of movies. Sci-fi and action movies that feature former or once promising A-list stars which were all shot in and around the same industrial estate in Los Angeles. They have a cheap and cheerful charm and when the budget couldn’t stretch to the ambitions of the director and his crew, they just jammed in as much action, nudity and ludicrous leaps in logic to amp up the entertainment factor.



It’s something like 2251 and a giant asteroid floating through space is doubling up as a maximum security prison for the universe’s worst. On its way to this asteroid is a ship piloted by former Bond girl Maryam d’Abo, who is eager to drop of her cargo of new prisoners. Amongst them is petty thief Riley (Gross) wrongly sent to this deep space prison and Villum (Jeffrey Meek), who along with his accompanying gang of crooks have other dastardly plans once they get to the asteroid. Which they promptly set about doing, releasing evil mastermind, McMasters (Speakman). What follows is the usual prison takeover, shoot-outs, ridiculous monologues and good space pilot and petty thief reluctantly joining together to thwart the bad guys.



So along with cheap special effects and a good dose of grime (what’s with the heroes always ending up in the garbage or chained to toilets?), Timelock has its fair share of action, nudity and ludicrous leaps in logic. Actually it doesn’t feature any nudity which is unfortunate but it does have loads of action and ludicrous leaps in logic. The action: all shoot-outs, dudes set on fire, heroes stuck in trash compactors a la Star Wars and a samurai sword fight in space. That’s right, a samurai sword fight in space. You just have to see it to believe it. Which brings us to the ludicrous leaps of logic which also include weapons from the 20th Century still being the norm in the 23rd or whatever century it is, despite spaceships and asteroid prison planets being thick on the ground; Speakman’s 4-minute recovery from god knows how many years of cryogenic freezing (seriously, he just shakes it off as if it was nothing); that samurai sword fight and quite possibly the whole plot of the movie.

To be honest, these are some of the fun factors and the flick is saved by the often witty banter shared between d’Abo and Gross. There is even the obligatory cameo from low budget action movie stalwart, Martin Kove, which almost gives the flick a recommendation in itself. It’s a shame Jeff Speakman, who showed much promise when he first burst onto the action scene with the likes of The Perfect Weapon, ended up in space garbage like this but he sure seems to be having fun playing the bad guy. This is what I had watching it, fun, and have now no doubt written the longest review this film has received. Did I mention the Samurai sword fight in space?

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