Monday, December 22, 2014

When Time Expires (1997)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

When Time Expires is one of those movies that I’d always manage to catch the last third of on TV.  I was always curious to see how it started. It seemed like I could never find it on Netflix.  It seems that the movie, by itself, was only released on VHS.  I had to wait for Netflix to get the DVD double feature that pairs this movie with Tell Me No Secrets.  (I’ll be watching that in the near future.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.)

Richard Grieco stars as Travis Beck.  Beck works for some sort of intergalactic planetary federation or something.  There are two main ministries.  One makes predictions about the future.  The other sends people back into the past to make calibrations.  Beck’s job is to put a quarter in a parking meter.

You’re probably thinking that this is a menial task, which it is.  Apparently, Beck used to work for the other ministry and made some sort of big mess.  (Actually, he didn’t make the mess, but he was blamed for it.)  Now, he’s sent to some remote town to do some small task.  He’s given what’s called an Interface as a partner.  The Interface hooks up to a cable-ready TV and captures a human image, which it then takes as its own so that it can communicate with the human that it’s partnered with.

Around the same time that Beck shows up, two hit men also arrive in town.  Beck doesn’t learn of this until later.  What raises Beck’s eyebrow is the arrival of his ex partner, Bill Thermot.  (Bill Thermot is played by Mark Hamill.)   Considering how hard it is to go back in time, it can’t be a coincidence.  Even among the Interfaces, no one really wants to deal with Beck after what he supposedly did.

Beck just can’t shake the feeling that something more sinister is up.  This feeling is reinforced when he learns that there really are hit men out to get him.   He has his Interface do some digging and sure enough, something is up.  No, I won’t ruin it for you.  It is an interesting movie and I would recommend it to people.

For those that are whining about not liking science fiction, I will say that this isn’t your typical sci-fi movie.  You don’t get any technical stuff about time travel or people from other planets.  I got the impression that Beck isn’t human, but there’s no talk of how they go about taking on human form.  (We do learn that it’s a popular model, though.)  I’m actually surprised that he has a human-sounding name.

The acting is at least decent, even if the picture quality isn’t great.  The only attempt at any sort of special effects is someone disappearing when they die, which is at least done well enough.  The dialogue is a bit cornball at times.  It was a made-for-TV movie from 1997, so I don’t think that you can really expect much on any particular front.

According to Netflix, both movies on the disc are actually made-for-TV movies.  I’ve never heard of the other movie, which follows the pattern that I’ve noticed with these bundles.  I’ve usually heard of one movie, yet have absolutely no interest in the other.  (In this case, the other title doesn’t sound familiar at all.)

If you can rent the movie from Netflix or at your local rental place, I’d say go for it.  If you happen to catch the whole thing on TV, it’s worth watching to the end.  I don’t think I could really recommend buying it as I don’t think it would have much replay value except to lend out to someone.  I’d give the movie three stars. 

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