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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonably fun (albeit bumpy) TimeRide..., 11 May 2004
This review is from: Time Rider [1982] [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I remember going to see this at the local ‘plex with a friend when it first came out, and I rather enjoyed the experience. Now, after seeing it again for the first time in almost two decades, I found it to be a fairly standard western/time-travel adventure with a smidge of romance, and a dollop of fish-out-of-water comedy thrown in for good measure. Our hero (Fred Ward), a famous Baja racing motocross biker testing out a few high-tech tchochkes (well, they tried to make the tchochkes look high-tech, anyway, but like the “futuristic” gadgetry seen in the original “Star Trek” show, they ended up kinda dated), somehow manages to stumble into some time-traveling experiment out in a remote part of the desert, and gets transported back to the old west. All the while he never seems to know that he’s gone back in time, despite several cues & clues thrown at him during his stay.
The aforementioned fish-out-of-water comedic elements are occasionally amusing, but most of ‘em are a bit too subtle or are not pulled off quite as effectively as they could have been (the director acknowledges this problem in the commentary track). Fortunately, the main heavy and his two bumbling henchmen pick up the levity as they set out to take the “futuristic” dirt bike for themselves. In the meantime, the hero manages to get a little action with a surprisingly assertive woman, which sets up the tried-and-true travel movie gimmick known as… well, that’s be givin’ away too much if ya ain’t seen this yet, so I won’t discuss this particular point any further. All in all, I found “TimeRider” a not-half-bad waste of an hour and a half, with the nostalgic angle enhanced by the early 80s adventure film rock music soundtrack that relied heavily on synthesizer keyboard melodies. Even the old west scenes have this kinda music, only more old west-y in sound… if that makes any sorta sense. It ain’t no “Back to the Future”, but it’ll do in a pinch…
But wait, there’s more: what is a movie DVD without the obligatory theatrical trailer or two? In this instance, they threw two trailers in as well as several TV spots. BTW it was the TV spots that got my seven-year-old brain thinkin’ to myself, “Hey, that movie looks kinda cool! Maybe I can harangue my older friend who lives a cross the street to go see it with me at the local multiplex!” Which is what I eventually did…
Then there was the big surprise: a feature-length commentary track by the movie’s director! Never in a million years did I ever think “TimeRider” would have a commentary track devoted to it, but there ya have it. Anyhoo, he goes over the usual technical stuff, talks about certain scenes and moments he felt could’ve been done a little better, and shows his penchant for nepotism by pointing out the various relatives he used as extras in some of the scenes. He also discusses the lessons he learned shooting the movie, which was his first feature film as a director. Ya know, the kinda stuff you usually hear in a commentary track…
Post Script: Please note that the Region 1 DVD release of this movie is missing a scene near the end that I recall seeing in the theatrical release and on cable TV. Lest you think you’re actually getting the entire movie here…
‘Late!
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