Imagine the story conferences that gave rise to TIMEMASTER. The utterly disintegrated plot line gives one the feeling that the narrative merely went wherever sets became available, from a smoky biker bar to a mockup of the White House kitchen to a magnificent chalet platform in the mountains, suddenly invaded by commandos for a 007-style chase/gun battle...read more
Imagine the story conferences that gave rise to TIMEMASTER. The utterly disintegrated plot line gives one the feeling that the narrative merely went wherever sets became available, from a smoky biker bar to a mockup of the White House kitchen to a magnificent chalet platform in the
mountains, suddenly invaded by commandos for a 007-style chase/gun battle on skis.
In the year 2007 in "Palisades City, the Edge of the Universe," an advanced humanoid race bet their individual supplies of immortality elixir on virtual reality-style games with a difference: these contests truly do occur, on countless distant worlds whose unlucky inhabitants don't know their
disasters, wars and assassinations result from these beings' callous manipulation. "We have been playing Earth for a very long time," gloats the Chairman (Michael Dorn), adding that the goal of the latest match will be to make the humans nuke themselves. In a vast post-nuclear desert, the aliens
land and snatch the heroic Parker family for the games in Palisades City. Soon there are Parkers strewn up and down the timelines. In an orphanage, plucky Jesse Parker (Jesse Cameron-Glickenhaus) defies evil administrators by insisting that his folks aren't really dead. He's mentored by nearby
shack-bound eccentric Isaiah (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita), an alien in revolt against the cruel games, who sends Jesse back to the Old West. The whiz-boy helps his sheriff father recover from an outlaw's bullet (in truth fired by a game competitor), teaches a novice Billy the Kid how to shoot, and
acquires a pretty travelling companion (Michelle Williams) when he vaults to the future to fight with the Chairman's goons in a scrapyard filled with disused military hardware. Billy goes one-on-one against the Chairman and wins humanity a reprieve.
Morita reprises his KARATE KID persona, quoting Einstein rather than Confucius. Dorn is best known for playing "Star Trek"'s Klingon warrior Worf, and appears here out of makeup. Jesse Cameron-Glickenhaus is best known for being the son of schlock- action filmmaker James Glickenhaus (THE
EXTERMINATOR, SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS), and appears here out of luck. Even if young Cameron-Glickenhaus (and his small sister, also present) had any screen charisma, he would still fight an uphill battle against a sundered script that skitters through time and space more out of desperation than
invention, and hits low points with intermittent self-parody like World Wrestling Federation announcers "Mean" Gene Okerlund and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan ringside at Palisades City contributing color commentary, and a climactic quotation from Coppola's helicopter attack in APOCALYPSE NOW (1979).
POLTERGEIST actress Zelda Rubinstein also shows up in a cameo. Sole pluses are the special effects (especially Jesse floating through a collage of historical events captured in bubbles), production design, and of course the stunts, accomplished enough to make one wince at the wasted effort and
resources on a scenario that wasn't just written on a napkin, but evidently several napkins that got mixed up at the laundry. TIMEMASTER premiered on home video late in 1995. (Violence, profanity, substance abuse.)
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