Time Chasers (1994) — Some people should never time travel

“I never should have joined the physics club in high school.”

Justin’s rating: Castleton is my alma mater!

Justin’s review: If you — yes you — had the ability to travel through time, where would you go? What would you do? Well, if you were physics professor Nick Miller (Matthew Bruch), you’d immediately run to the most blatantly evil CEO on the planet and sell out.

It’s a bold move, Cotton. Let’s see how it works out.

Nick is the inventor of a time machine that just so happens to be put into a light aircraft. So yeah, he can fly forwards and backwards through time with the greatest of ease, which proves he’s a genius, but Nick’s common sense is not quite as prominent as his chin and fluffy mullet. He totally buys the so-called good intentions of a greasy haired CEO on a late-night TV commercial and agrees to hand his technology over to benefit all of humanity.

Weirdly enough, this ruins history itself, turning an idyllic (sort of) 2041 into a post-apocalyptic warzone. And wouldn’t you know it, but trying to talk the EvilCo executive down from using time travel to assassinate people after that fails to take purchase. So Nick and his reporter girlfriend (with whom he smooches most unconvincingly) go on the run, figuring that if they can get to their time plane, they can somehow change the past to stop Nick from being a dolt in the first place.

Of course, by now EvilCo has its own time plane too, and the chase begins! It’s not a particularly thrilling chase, mind you. But it does loop everything back to where Nick first went wrong, giving him a second chance to not be A COMPLETE IDIOT. Also, they stop in 1777 to muck around in the Revolutionary War for some reason.

Time Chasers is many things, but none of those are “talented” or “intelligent” or “SuperCuts discount hairstyles.” At one point, it blatantly nods to Back to the Future, all the while failing to being even 1/100th as exciting or well-constructed. It has extremely sub-part special effects and the time travel elements — the crown jewel of these types of movies — is so ho-hum as not to be worth your interest.

Yet you should definitely watch this, because it’s a hilariously entertaining movie for all of its bad acting, questionable plot points, and weird action. What had me in stitches is Nick himself, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more incompetent lead character. I’m not just talking about giving over time travel tech to the bad guys — although that’s not a great start — but the fact that Nick absolutely cannot fight, cannot drive a car, cannot kiss, and cannot outwit anyone. But he’s our hero!

In one of the movie’s best scenes, he’s on the run from the bad guys and sprints right into a gas station. There he steals a car and promptly (and I mean promptly) wrecks it, only to take a bicycle and start pedaling through the woods before cycling off of a cliff. This is the man who controls time. God save us all.

Didja notice?

  • Mullets and giant CRT monitors… oh yeah, we’re in the early 1990s
  • Drink in those delicious pixelated dissolves
  • That is the pointiest chin I’ve ever seen
  • 2041 is a vision of the future indeed
  • The Back to the Future poster in the altered future
  • The way too intense taxi driver
  • Yeah, what WOULD MacGuyver do?
  • Nick is terrible at hand-to-hand combat..
  • …but not as bad as he is at kissing

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