This is the finale of a tiresome effort by low-budget producer Charles Band to revive the old-fashioned movie serial in the modern form of direct-to-video installments. But compared to its quicksilver ancestors of the 1930s and '40s (which wisely confined themselves to half-hour chapters
or less), the JOSH KIRBY series is a bore--a real "serial" killer.
In the first five episodes, it was assumed that ordinary teenager Josh (Corbin Allred) had been swept up in adventures through time and space by 25th-century good-guy scientist Irwin 1138 (Barrie Ingham), in pursuit of the evil Dr. Zoetrope (Derek Webster), who was supposedly bent on destroying
the universe once he assembled an alien device called the Nullifier. But, in truth, Zoetrope is a freedom fighter who invented the Nullifier to counter the Decimator, the actual doomsday gadget that allows a far-future dictator to rule Earth. Irwin is the tyrant's stooge, collecting Nullifier
components from throughout time so he can scatter them again but do a better job of it. The tyrant goes back to his lab, leaving his duped allies marooned with Zoetrope.
But Josh has a rare genetic ability to manipulate time, and he, Zoetrope, alien creature Prism, and warrior girl Azabeth Siege (Jennifer Burns) try leaping to Josh's original hometown of Green Oaks just before he initially encountered Irwin. They land in the neighborhood 14 years too early, when
Josh is just an infant.
Two Joshes in one place cancels out the teenage Josh's superpowers, so Zoetrope, Azabeth and Prism sacrifice themselves to propel Josh forward to 2420 to face Irwin. The boy induces Irwin's armor and weapons to rapidly age and decay, leaving the villain helpless when the heavily-fortified Zoetrope
makes his entrance, but to save humanity, not threaten it.
When Josh awakens in his own bed, he treats everything that happened as a dream. But, at school, he meets Azabeth, incarnated in a tough new student who chases away the bullies tormenting him.
To quote from the previous episode, JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR!: JOURNEY TO THE MAGIC CAVERN: "Have courage Josh. The ordeal is almost over." There's a slight sense of BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) and its sequels in Josh revisiting events from prior movies and seeing them in a whole new light. But
there's even more useless padding of the story line to distend what should have been a brisk 40 minutes into a dull 90-minute feature.
The main extraneous subplot puts Josh in 1980, conveniently invisible, to muse mournfully over the ill-fated young mother he never knew. Meanwhile, Irwin 1138's flight through clips from the previous Josh Kirby chapters chews up additional screen time at no extra cost. The hero's confrontation
with Irwin, despite grandiose billing as the "last battle for the universe," also is impressive only in its chintziness.
History may not remember the JOSH KIRBY...TIME WARRIOR! series along with such other noble, monumental follies as Erich Von Stroheim's seven-hour GREED (1924), David Lynch's five-hour original cut of DUNE (1984) or Abel Gance's never-filmed continuations of NAPOLEON. But an attempt was made to do
something a little different, even if the filmmakers' approach doomed it from the start. (Violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: PG
- Review: This is the finale of a tiresome effort by low-budget producer Charles Band to revive the old-fashioned movie serial in the modern form of direct-to-video installments. But compared to its quicksilver ancestors of the 1930s and '40s (which wisely confined… (more)
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