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TIME RUNNER - 1 Slime
Rated R
Copyright 1992 Excalibur Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 31 December 2000

The Characters:  

  • Raynor - Mark Hamill! Heroic commander of the space station until it is destroyed by invading aliens. Mysteriously transported back in time, he might be able to prevent the invasion from ever taking place. You will not find out though, the movie fails to resolve that basic issue.
  • Karen - Rae Dawn Chong! Turns out that she is one of the aliens, but disagrees with their plans of conquest.
  • Arnie - Freaky conspiracy nut that helps out Raynor. Makes the funniest faces when firing a weapon.
  • Carl - Partner to Karen (he is human) with an interesting taste in shirts. Killed by Freeman for fashion crimes against humanity.
  • Caroline - Raynor's girlfriend or wife, she dies right after the opening credits finish.
  • Three Sweaty Guys - Their saga plays out in the future, they are working on a futile plan to fire a nuclear counter strike against the aliens space armada.
  • Colonel Freeman - Savage member of the aliens covert team, he seems to be in charge of their UFO investigation branch. Riddled with bullets by a grimacing Arnie.
  • Neila - Brion James! Alien leader with designs on becoming the world president. Vanishes from reality after Raynor knocks a similarly dressed stuntman (who has a bit more hair than Brion James) off a tall refinery catwalk.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Time travel is something that man has theorized and dreamed about. A lot of intelligent thought has gone into the subject, plus no few number of movies. Notice how I used "intelligent" as an adjective describing "thought" and not "movies." For some reason time travel movies end up being painful exercises in science for me, namely how much punishment the psyche can take before going critical.

We begin in 2022 with the Earth under attack by alien starships, enormous battlecruisers raining a fusillade of energy blasts onto our cities. Hiding out in a bunker somewhere are the three sweaty men. They are trying to do the impossible: get other jobs acting after this movie. I mean, find the launch codes for antiquated Soviet missiles and return fire on the alien bastards!

Aboard the space station things are looking just as bad, an alien ship is unloading everything it has on the base. Now, we just watched these weapons pass through miles of atmosphere and cause spectacular explosions, but a space station is nigh invulnerable? Not that it isn't taking damage and it does eventually explode. Let us just say that if mankind ever makes war in space the challenge will not be taking hits, it will be avoiding them in the first place.

Raynor heroically flees in an escape pod just before the station blows, then the pursuing battlecruiser's photon cannon (or whatever it is) causes a wormhole to open. Nobody ever explains why the blast caused this, nor do we find out why the beam weapons mysteriously explode at a certain distance from the ship like a flak gun. The escape pod flies into the wormhole, narrowly misses an aircraft carrier (just kidding), and lands in Washington state. The year is now 1992.

Investigating the unidentified crashed object are Karen and Carl, though its occupant is nowhere to be found. They have precious little time to study the craft before Colonel Freeman's goons show up and take control.

Where did the main character go after the escape pod landed? Why, he stumbled away and fell asleep in a barn only a short distance from the crash. Nobody found him either, isn't that fortunate? *Groan* This is going to be a reoccurring theme, Raynor is the luckiest bastard who ever lived. He must be ta'veren or something. The number of times that the aliens could have ended everything by just shooting Raynor is going to drive you insane. If you are the only obstacle to me conquering your planet I am not going to talk to you or gloat over your demise. I am going to shoot you, very quickly and with no fanfare.

As the movie plays we are treated to updates on the rapidly worsening situation of the three sweaty men. Alien troops (they sure look human to me) have entered the complex and are overrunning the defenders! One of the absolute jaw droppers here is seeing a dozen attackers charge down a hallway as the security personnel blaze away with automatic weapons. Not one of them is hit! What in the hell? Can anybody in this film shoot straight or are they using blanks? There is one word to describe a firefight involving automatic weapons in a narrow corridor and that is "Carnage," with a capital "C."

The Raynor faction keeps ahead of things, assisted by the fact that sometimes strange visions manifest around him showing relevant future events. In fact, the special effect is used to move the plot in whatever direction necessary. Forget imagination, the screenwriter has a bona fide way to do whatever is necessary right here. Faced with that prospect the bad guys should have shot themselves, though they probably would have missed.

There are a number of glaring mistakes, including a mysteriously repaired car window. My favorite has to be the cameraman though. As the assassin arrives at the home of Raynor's mother you can clearly see a shadow in the bottom left corner, that would be the cameraman on his little platform. Wave to him! A casual observer will also notice that many of the filming locations are probably inside and around the same refinery or factory.

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the special effects at the beginning, this film soon spurns them. You'll spend a great deal of stomach acid wondering if you could travel back in time, thus preventing yourself from seeing this movie. Even Mark Hamill talking in a throaty voice, one that would make most female porn stars envious, couldn't reverse my opinion.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Advanced aliens can construct starships able to cross the stars, but they are terrible shots.
  • Time travel causes migraines.
  • It might take seventy years, but someone will finally invent a product to replace Bactine.
  • Conspiracy freaks have their uses.
  • Laboratory scientists all carry side arms.
  • It is possible to use a heavy machine gun freehand.
  • Childbirth is more painful than a bullet wound.
  • Shooting a rifle is just like playing pool.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - It's a set of office furniture set up in the basement of some refinery!
  • 10 mins - I've seen that laser light show before.
  • 11 mins - Actually, 64-bit processors were around in 1992.
  • 23 mins - Freeman must have set up a resonance between his hand and the poor man's skull which caused massive hemorrhaging. Yeah, that's it. What are you looking at? You have a better hypothesis?
  • 26 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A NAPKIN DISPENSER!
  • 27 mins - But, but, but... ...we saw the passenger side window shot out! Why is it there? Did they go back in time and fix it?
  • 46 mins - All those rounds being fired and not one attacker is hit, not even the idiot driving the construction vehicle.
  • 56 mins - How did the escape pod record the launch from that perspective?
  • 78 mins - Say that it's a girl! Hehehehe!

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note timerunner1.wav Soldier: "Sir! Andrews has been completely destroyed, along with NORAD and SAC. We could be overrun at any moment."
Green Music Note timerunner2.wav Raynor: "This is the way it all started, isn't it? Freaks like you infiltrating, scouting out the lay of the land, and then you move in for the kill. I'm seeing history in the making."
Green Music Note timerunner3.wav Karen: "What was that? Was that actually a look into our future?"
Raynor: "Possibly, it's got something to do with the effects of time travel. It centers around me, but affects anyone near me."
Green Music Note timerunner4.wav Karen: "You're not going to get this baby!"
Neila: "Yes I am, I'm going to deal with both Raynors today. The future and the present!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptimerunner1.mpg - 2.4m
Check out how many times the aliens miss with their advanced weaponry, they should avoid using the railgun when playing Quake. Also, what idiot installed a steam pipe with a row of evenly spaced holes on one side? Or is that supposed to be battle damage?

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Time Runner
Reply #1. Posted on April 10, 2001, 08:09:36 PM by Melanie
   I saw Time Runner a little time back and I thought that it was a very differnt movie.  But thats just me.
Time Runner
Reply #2. Posted on September 24, 2002, 12:27:18 AM by david
A truly, unbelievably bad movie. I salute you.
Time Runner
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by JT
I saw the movie a long time ago & thought it was ok, but I rented it so I didn't have to keep it. Some lines & the 'special effects' were lame. The plot would have been interesting if the writting had been better.
Re: Time Runner
Reply #4. Posted on November 18, 2007, 07:21:44 PM by keldor
One of the greatsest B movies if seen starring Mark Hamill.
Re: Time Runner
Reply #5. Posted on January 22, 2008, 01:27:50 PM by Geenoh
Just saw this last night via Netflix direct view. I kept watching thinking it has to get better than this, but that didn't happen. Well, at least I know it wasn't me, based on the reviews posted here!
Thanks!
Next time I'll check here first!!!
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