PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT 2 is a solid followup to its unjustly neglected predecessor. An imaginative "what if?" thriller, it maintains a fast pace despite dialogue thick with techno-babble.
In 1943, seaman David Herdeg (Brad Johnson) was sole survivor of a temporal/spatial experiment conducted on the USS Philadelphia, a radar invisibility trial that killed his fellow crew members and thrust him forward in time. Although he adjusted well enough to marry, have a child, and survive
becoming a widower, he questions scientist/mentor Longstreet (James Greene) about his rash of recent migraines. Unbeknownst to Longstreet, his colleague Dr. Maller (Gerrit Graham) has pushed the dormant time-space demonstration out of the realm of talk and into actual practice. The son of a German
nuclear physicist named Mahler (also Graham) who made similar tests in 1943, Mailer plans to rewrite history for the Nazis.
Experiencing headaches because of Mailer's time machine tinkering, Herdeg finds himself propelled into an unfamiliar America, circa 1993; the USA is now a gray, military state. Aided by rebels, Herdeg eludes capture and tries to figure out a way back to his son and the world he remembers in the
'90s. While Mailer manipulates his military regime, headed by Decker (Cyril O'Reilly), a confused Herdeg encounters Dr. Longstreet, who tells him Mailer plans to travel back to 1943 Germany to tell his father that the radar-proof nuclear stealth bomber destroyed in the A-bomb blast needn't have
been destroyed; its demolition prevented Mahler from becoming a hero capable of creating more 1990-ish bombers for 1943 Nazi Germany.
While Longstreet and his guerrillas plot the downfall of the current regime, Herdeg begs for the chance to go back and twist world history into a more palatable shape. Allowing himself to be captured, Herdeg follows the demented Mailer back to Nazi Germany. At a German airport, Herdeg is wounded
but manages to ignite the nuclear bomber, foiling the 1943 bombing of Washington D.C., pushing Mailer into a time sink-hole, resurrecting America as we know it, and returning Herdeg to the '90s in time for his son's Little League game.
Full of slam-bang action, PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT 2 compensates for its hard-to-follow plot with a three-dimensional protagonist, who has real human frailties; by firmly establishing the character of Herdeg as early as the pre-credit sequence, the film lays a solid foundation for his
mind-boggling adventures in a time-and-space wonderland. Confusion never stops the film cold, because it dazzles us with one thrilling chase sequence after the next, pausing only for the hero to contemplate inter-racial romance with a beautiful rebel leader. When all else fails, state-of-the-art
hardware diverts our attention. Crossing the fine line between comic menace and overbearing campiness, Graham is not as memorable an archfiend as the movie deserves, but if you can hold on through the wilder configurations in the plot, you'll be rewarded with a double dose of thrills. Not only do
we get to cheer as Herdeg restores the world to normalcy, but we also get to experience the high of defeating the Nazis in WWII all over again. With its visual panache and high-tech gadgetry, PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT 2 successfully crossbreeds the John Wayne war adventure with an H.G. Wells time
machine fantasy. (Violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT 2 is a solid followup to its unjustly neglected predecessor. An imaginative "what if?" thriller, it maintains a fast pace despite dialogue thick with techno-babble. In 1943, seaman David Herdeg (Brad Johnson) was sole survivor of… (more)