"Now it's time for Mark Hamill flick number two: "Time Runner." This is one of those time-travel dealies where the world is about to be destroyed by aliens in the year 2022, but an astronaut, played by Luke Skywalker himself, goes through a "vortex wormhole"--don't ask, okay--he goes through this "vortex wormhole" and lands on a farm in the year 1992, which happens to be the year the movie was made. For some reason guys from the future always land on farms.
And he's a little discombobulated because it's one day BEFORE the day he was born. And he has to figure out what to do to save the Earth from being destroyed 30 years from now, which is not 30 years from now for him, it's today, but he has to act like he doesn't know what's gonna happen in 30 years and some of the people he meets are aliens, but you can't tell which ones, because they can disguise themselves as sensitive human beings, and . . . I never can figure out these things, because if you're in the future and you come to the past and you change the past, then you've also changed the future, and so the future you came from is messed up already, but you don't know that because you've already experienced it, but now you've got to experience it again, so if you keep jumping around like that, you could have four, five different movies going on at the same time, like instant reincarnation -- I'm zoning out here.
This is really cool. I just understood the meaning of the universe. Oh. Sorry. Anyhow, let's take a look at those drive-in totals. We've got:
Sixty-five dead bodies.
One alien missile attack.
Exploding office buildings.
Exploding space station.
Nine gun battles.
Two motor vehicle chases.
Exploding army base.
Spike through the chest.
Check it out, and I'll be right here.
[fading] I feel like Stephen Hawking. You know that guy dumped his wife for his secretary when he started having an affair with her? This is the buck-toothed scientist in the wheelchair with the computer voice box. And he gets ALL the babes--you know why? He understands the mysteries of the universe. Chicks dig that."
"Time Runner" Commercial Break #1
"Okay, I'm confused. There's a war going on in the year 2022, right? And everybody in the space station gets exploded except this one guy, Mark Hamill, who spirals through a wormhole and lands in Oregon on a farm and starts seeing holograms and rubbing his head a lot and staring into the future, only it's not REALLY the future for him, because he should be in the year 2022, so he's really having flashbacks, but he sees the white-haired guy shoot this old lady--but it didn't really happen, it's something that's GONNA happen--and then the next thing you know he's a hostage, but he talks his way out of it and then the white-haired guy comes and crunches the farmer's head, and meanwhile we've got the whole Rae Dawn Chong subplot, where she's running around trying to figure out what's up. See, this movie was made by guys in Canada. It's the same guys who made "Project: Shadowchaser," which ALSO didn't make a lick of sense, but we're gonna give it a chance.
I'm gonna try to map this one out for you. Oh yeah--there's also five guys in a missile silo somewhere, trying to fight off the invading aliens in the year 2022 and yelling at one another a lot. "Dammit, where's Murphy!" Stuff like that. Does that about sum it up? I hope so. Back to the flick.
[fading] All this sci-fi time-travel stuff started with "Terminator." Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger gets dumped nekkid on the street, and he's the evil hitman from the future? So they're thinking, "We'll do the CANADIAN version of that story, with Luke Skywalker. Better not have him nekkid, though. THAT could get ugly."
"Time Runner" Commercial Break #2
"Doesn't Mark Hamill look like he just got over a three-day drunk in this movie? No wonder he's been hidin out in voice-over work. But he turns up every few years in these B movies. I thought maybe he'd get better pictures when they re-released "Star Wars." I think he's pretty good. But he kinda disappears for long periods of time, and then he turns up . . .as the time-travelling astronaut in a Canadian sci-fi cheapie. My kinda actor. Okay, Rae Dawn Chong is ONE OF THEM. Is she settin Mark up or not? Let's find out, in the movie that's always on the verge of making sense, "Time Runner."
[fading] They did another one of those hologram dealies where he sees his future. I hate those things. I hate flashbacks period. Even though that's not a flashback, it's a flash-forward. But it's a flash-forward within a flashBACK, which makes it doubly obnoxious, cause you're startin at point A, flashin back to point B, flashin back to point C which is somewhere BETWEEN point A and point B, and then you flashback FROM the flash-forward to point B again so you can continue to point A without passing through point C, because point C is something awful that he's gonna try to avoid. So you take the square of the hypotenuse and it equals Mark Hamill mumbling a lot. Does that about sum it up? What did I just say?"
"Time Runner" Commercial Break #3
"What just happened? Okay, we're back in 2022 now, and the aliens are taking over Washington and the President is being a weenie about it. Let's keep it going before I lose track.
[fading] What would Clinton do if they told him the aliens were taking over? He's say, "Any of em cute?"
"Time Runner" Commercial Break #4
"Did you know that this movie had SIX credited writers? Did you notice that in the opening titles? Six guys, all evidently working on different movies. Which is why, at this point, I'm totally confused. They just blew something up, right? Some kind of military facility. They had to steal an airplane to do that. There's some rummy named Arnie hangin around. Tanks are moving into Washington. Rae Dawn Chong is an alien--we knew that already--but apparently she's some kinda alien who hates her own people and so she sides with the humans. Are we supposed to think that she has the hots for Mark Hamill and that's why she's selling out the aliens, or what? I don't know. Let's just move this sucker along, okay?
[fading] Six writers. I still wanna know how that works. "All right, guys, listen up, I say we use a comma here. Fred, I know you love semi-colons, but I think you're outvoted." I mean, how is it possible? And this is a low-budget movie! What'd they get, twenty bucks each? Then they were OVERPAID."
"Time Runner" Commercial Break #5
"So the President is an alien. We already knew that, though, didn't we, because of the scene where Rae Dawn Chong calls up his name on the computer and it's "John Neila." The guy who's running for Senator in 1992 and then he becomes president in 2022. N-E-I-L-A. Neila. Get it? Backwards: A-L-I-E-N. That's just like those sneaky aliens. They knew we would never figure THAT out. You know what makes these aliens dangerous? They're the only aliens in the history of the movies that decide to take over the world through grass-roots politics. They decide they'll EARN their way into power by good ole solid democratic get-out-the- vote efforts. We'll elect our man to the White House! And THEN we'll kill all the humans. Six writers on this movie. Took SIX, count 'em, SIX writers to turn this baby out. Okay, back to "Time Runner."
[fading] I'm thinkin about applyin for one of those forest-ranger jobs. You know, you sit up in the tower, eatin ham sandwiches, call in every hour. "No fires today!" Count the bears. Every once in a while you pick up a Snickers wrapper. I gotta get rid of some of this stress."
"Time Runner" Commercial Break #6
"Okay, Mark Hamill's mom is about to give birth to Mark Hamill, but Mark is hangin around the day BEFORE she gives birth, because he came from the future, 30 years later, to make sure she doesn't get assassinated by evil alien political hitmen. But if she DOES get assassinated by evil alien political hitmen, what happens to Mark Hamill? Does he disappear? And if she DOESN'T get assassinated by evil alien political hitmen, what happens to Mark Hamill? Does he become TWO of him?
I gotta take Excedrin when I watch these things, cause I can NEVER exactly get the hang of it.
So anyhow, let's see how it turns out, in the thrilling conclusion to "Time Runner," one of the greatest "Terminator" rip-offs of the early nineties.
[fading] Would you wanna be watching your mom when she gave birth to you? YUK. Cause one of you's in there lookin out, and the other one of you's out there lookin in, and something about it is PERVERTED. Course, I like perverted."
"Time Runner" Outro
"So Rae Dawn Chong was an alien who turned against her fellow aliens and saved the human baby. Rae Dawn Chong who, by the way, in the movie they call her Karen Donaldson, but in the closing credits she's "Karen MacDonald." They REALLY couldn't make up their mind what they were doing in that flick, could they?
Anyhow, before we go, I wanna remind you that next week we have Mark Harmon as the promising law-student turned serial killer in "Deliberate Stranger," the Ted Bundy mini-series of 1986. All Ted, all night.
And that's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that it IS as bad as you think, and they ARE out to get you.
Did you guys hear the one about the lawyer in Texas who gets a call about an emergency that requires him to fly out of town for a few days? He doesn't have time to pack, so he calls home to tell his wife where he's going. The maid answers the phone, but is hesitant to put the wife on the phone. After some major interrogation, she tells him that the wife is upstairs in bed with another man. The lawyer is furious and wants to rush right home, but there's this emergency he has to take care of.
So instead, he tells the maid to go get the gun from the desk drawer and kill both his wife and the other man. She objects, but the lawyer tells her that under Texas law it is legal to kill your adulterous wife and her lover. Using his silver tongue, he finally convinces her to do it. She puts down the phone, and soon the lawyer hears the sound of two gunshots, a scream, some loud thumps, and finally, two splashes. The maid comes back to the phone, and the lawyers says, "Did you kill em?" The maid says yes. The lawyer says, "What'd you do with the bodies?" The maid says, "I threw em in the pool." There's a pause from the lawyer, and then he asks her, "Did you say the pool?" Maid says, "Yes! I threw them in the pool!" Lawyer says, "Uh, is this 555-8256?" Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] A Chinese couple gets married. She's a virgin. On the wedding night, she cowers nekkid under the sheets as her husband undresses. He climbs in next to her and says to her, "Darling, I know this is your first time, and you are frightened.
I assure you, I will give you anything you want, I will do anything you want. What do you want?" The bride says, "I want number 69." And the husband says, "You want beef with broccoli?"
Two and half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.