“Truth is twisted, who’s responsible?”
Justin’s rating: Beam me up, Nazi Scotty!
Justin’s review: One easy way to go with sequels is to reverse the plot of the first movie to make for pleasing symmetry. So if your first movie involves shooting a Navy warship forward in time from World War II into the ’80s, the second should do the reverse. Except maybe with a plane instead of a ship.
Philadelphia Experiment II picks up nine years after the events of the first movie. It’s 1993, and squinty time traveler David Herdeg (Brad Johnson, taking over the role from Michael Paré) continues to struggle to fit into the era of MC Hammer and his magical hammer pants. He’s also experiencing strange sensations as of late that might be a sign that something’s not quite right in the timestream.
Sure enough, the government’s been experimenting with the Philadelphia Experiment technology, this time attempting to teleport a loaded F-117 bomber into enemy territory. But whoops, they accidentally sent it back to Nazi Germany as an early Christmas gift for Hitler.
With Germany able to bomb Washington into submission, the whole timeline changes — and David wakes up in a very different 1993, where the swastika flies over California and minorities are being shipped off to concentration camps. Courtesy of a resistance cell, David gets a tour through this dystopian land, which both is and isn’t as interesting as you might hope. There’s a dash of 1984 and Big Brother, some Third Reich propaganda, but Man in the High Castle, this is not.
Now, David and an evil German scientist are racing to head back to 1943 to alter the course of the bomber — with the former trying to stop it and the latter attempting to preserve it.
Philadelphia Experiment II has a solid concept and a stoic enough leading man in Johnson, but there’s absolutely no spark or cleverness to this film. Too many long scenes take place in uninteresting rooms where people tell you stuff about this alternate timeline that would be so much more interesting to see… if the budget allowed, which it does not. They seemed to have enough funds for a single truck, a projector screen, and a model of a Nighthawk bomber, but not much else. So everything takes place at night, because otherwise you’d have to show things, and that’d unmask the whole poodle.
You’ll also get a headache if you try to make sense of the causality, paradoxes, and infinity loops that this plot sets up and then fails to address in any satisfying way.
Other than a lame Syfy remake in 2012, this marked the end to a franchise that got obsessed with lobbing military hardware across the decades. Out with a whimper, as it were.
- “They have my blood. Tell them I’ll hang on to my soul.” SO COOL.
- “Acoustical tracking system” sounds so fakey
- Terminator kills Predator kills Robocop — or is it the other way around?
- And all the Superman and Wolverine talk, this is a nerdy movie
- “Gratitude is the disease of dogs.”
- That helicopter obviously lacks a rocket launcher, so how’d it blow up the house?
- Do the Nazis use 8-track?
- He uses her spit to wash off a decal? Why?
- “Nazi cowboy music” is not a phrase I ever thought I’d type, but here we are
- Nazis don’t like condoms I guess
- 15 million people died in the bomb blast… ouch. And the bomber got destroyed in the explosion.
- The trumpet soundtrack really annoys me after a while
- “This country was buried there. Six feet under.”