Aug 1, 2016
Time Chasers (1994) (part 2 of 3)
After returning to 1991, Matthew wants Nick to personally demo his invention to the CEO of Gen-Corp, that smarmy J.K. Robertson guy from the TV ad. Cut to the demo, where Nick and J.K. have just returned from a journey through time. J.K. is impressed, and makes a deal with Nick right there on the spot.
Lisa has been taking pictures the entire time, but J.K. tells her the existence of the Time Transport is a corporate secret for now. She’s slightly pissed off, so J.K. offers her a position in Gen-Corp’s public relations department. Lisa is totally offended at receiving a job offer, and takes off in a huff.
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Later, Nick runs into Lisa at a local supermarket, and the two get reacquainted. He asks her out, and next thing we know, they’re taking off in the very same Time Transport that Nick was just told to keep under wraps.
That’s not all. For their first date, Nick takes Lisa to 1957. Because there’s nothing like using your godlike powers over time and space to impress a chick. We watch them wander through a neighborhood and then eat at a ‘50s-themed diner. Er, I mean, they’re in the ‘50s, and eating at a normal diner. Yeah, that’s what I meant.
As they head back through the video feedback loop, there’s a sudden and unsettling cut to them making out. Gah! You gotta warn people before you do that!
Just for fun, they decide to cruise on over to 2041. But once they get there, they discover the city is now a wasteland. They land and find themselves encountering armed gangs. Well, very white and clean-cut gangs, at any rate. Straight outta Burlington, yo.
They’re taken hostage by a gang that wants Nick’s Transport, but they soon run into a rival gang, and a shootout ensues, and Nick and Lisa use the chaos to escape. Along the way, Nick gets into several fistfights with gang members, primarily to establish his action hero creds.
Finally, Nick and Lisa meet an old couple who reveal that years ago, Gen-Corp sold the Time Transport to the government, which used it as “the ultimate weapon” to go back in time and win wars they had previously lost. Eventually, out of “greed”, Gen-Corp started selling the Transport to the highest bidder, and now paradoxes, or “time tangents” as they’re called in this movie, have ravaged society. The old dude says that the past changes every day now, though how he would even be aware of it is left a mystery.
Nick realizes that the future only changed after he showed the Transport to J.K. Robertson. So Nick and Lisa return to the present and head to Gen-Corp headquarters to inform J.K. about the nightmare future they just witnessed. Hilariously, every phase of their journey is shown, with a helicopter, a boat, and a limo all passing through the shot. Because if they had just cut to Nick and Lisa showing up at Gen-Corp in a limo, this movie would have made no sense at all.
They get to J.K.’s office, which is apparently located on a staircase landing inside a bank. They try to talk him out of selling the Transport to the government, but J.K. reveals he’s already built his own Transport (as you’d expect, also a propeller-driven airplane), and he’s already seen the future and is all too pleased with it. Because, well, he’s evil. So an angry Nick threatens to pull his “license agreement”.
Alas, J.K. points to a section in the contract that essentially says they own Nick’s ass, in perpetuity, throughout the known universe. He then has Nick and Lisa arrested as corporate spies. As they’re led away by security guards, Lisa gets in a funny line with, “Fire your lawyer.” As well as your barber.
But Nick, man of action, creates a distraction, which allows the two of them to escape. They hail a taxi, which is obviously just a normal sedan with a hastily spray-painted “TAXI” cardboard sign on the roof.
They have allegedly hilarious banter with the cabbie, played by a guy doing a very broad stereotype of a New Yorker. Because only people from New York drive cabs, I guess. Nick tells the cabbie to drive them back to Vermont, and it’s here we find out Gen-Corp headquarters is in Boston. It’s like 150 miles from Boston to the Vermont state line, but this cabbie is all too happy to make the trip once he finds out Nick is trying to fight the government, or as the cabbie calls it, “the Man”.
Nick gets back to his home airfield, only to find it covered with Gen-Corp goons. So he has the cabbie provide a distraction at the gate by asking a guard where he can find a Ben & Jerry’s. Wow. A Vermont joke. You don’t hear those every day. I think there’s a very good reason for that.
Now the cabbie is doing kung fu poses, and saying he’d “kill for some Chunky Monkey.” Why they thought this movie needed a comic relief character, I have no idea, because it’s not as if the rest of the movie is non-stop tension and suspense.
While all this hilarity is transpiring, Nick and Lisa sneak past the guards and head back to the hangar containing the Transport. Unfortunately, they find it guarded by half a dozen goons, leading to this exchange:
Lisa: What would MacGyver do?
Nick: Take a piece of gum and turn it into a nuclear device. And I’m out of gum.
Nick: Take a piece of gum and turn it into a nuclear device. And I’m out of gum.
Interestingly enough, “What would MacGyver do?” later became something of an internet meme and even spawned a book, though this movie indicates it was a saying long before the internet became popular. Or that Time Chasers somehow created an internet meme in 1991.
Lisa creates yet another distraction by getting on a plane’s radio, and contacting the tower and pretending she’s about to crash. All the goons scramble out of the hangar, leaving only two guards to duke it out with Nick, Man of Action.
Once inside the plane, Nick decides he and Lisa should travel back to the morning that Nick first showed off his Transport, and stop Nick’s past self from doing the demo for Matthew and the past version of Lisa. There’s a nice moment here where, with some sadness, Lisa realizes that if they do that, then her and Nick’s newfound romance will be completely erased from the timeline. It’ll be like all that sweet, sweet nookie never happened.
They persevere and return to the immediate past, but J.K. has already used his own Transport to fly there ahead of them. He shoots at them out of his cockpit window, George Kennedy-style.
To Nick’s horror, he turns around and finds that Lisa has been shot, and she’s died instantly from her wounds. But hey, don’t get too bummed out. With time travel stories being what they are, you can count on seeing her again.
The gunfire also causes Nick’s plane to crash, but he bails out into a lake just in time. And then some fishermen happen to come along in a motorboat to help Nick out. As he climbs out of the water, he spots J.K.’s Transport flying overhead, so Nick pulls a gun and tells the fishermen to get out of the boat. Wait, where the heck did he suddenly get a gun? And why is he stranding these poor guys in the middle of a lake? I bet you this is the last time they’ll be saving any drowning guys with huge mullets.
Nick speeds off in the motorboat, and eventually gets to the airfield, but finds the place already crawling with guys from Gen-Corp. Apparently, Future J.K. was able to get in touch with his goons here in the past, though I’m not too sure how all that works, exactly.
The goons chase Nick in a truck, so Nick pulls an old action movie standby and commandeers a guy’s car. But Nick somehow ends up actually flipping the car onto its side. He climbs out and explains to the car’s owner, “I don’t drive!” Yeah, and I don’t know how to fly a plane, but I think it would take me slightly longer than three seconds to crash one straight into the ground.
So Nick jumps on a bike instead. In a comedic highlight, the Gen-Corp guys actually get out of their truck, grab bikes, and take off after him. Well, that was really very considerate of them. Maybe they’re not such an evil corporation, after all. I mean, just think of how much they’re lowering this chase scene’s carbon footprint.
Nick gets away from them, but unfortunately, he’s arrived too late to stop Past Nick from showing the plane off to Gen-Corp lackey Matthew. But this time around, Matthew is alone for the demo. Lisa didn’t make it, because the crash of Future Nick’s plane has already caused a time tangent of its own.