Time Chasers (1994) (part 1 of 3)
In Time Chasers, amateur Vermont filmmaker David Giancola writes and directs a zero-budget homage to the Back to the Future trilogy, complete with an unorthodox time machine, jumps back and forth from the ‘50s to the near future, and a few instances of people meeting their past/future selves. It was made on the (really, really) cheap, the special effects are bargain basement, and the acting is (to put it mildly) laughable, but it isn’t nearly as bad as people might tell you. And by “people”, I of course mean MSTies.
This movie gained a reputation for being terrible thanks to an appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but if you watch the actual, unedited movie, you’ll find that Time Chasers is a surprisingly entertaining action film given its miniscule budget, with a few funny lines and an occasionally thoughtful plot.
Nick Miller is a dorky Vermont scientist with a horrifying brown mullet and Jay Leno’s chin. Using nothing more than an ancient PC and a Commodore-64, Nick has singlehandedly created a time machine that he calls “the Time Transport”.
For reasons never made clear, the Transport has been built into a small propeller-driven plane, and every time Nick travels through time he has to take off and land, as well as pass through a cheap special effect that looks like the feedback loop when you point a camcorder at its own monitor.
At the start of the film, Nick returns from a successful flight to the future, which is illustrated by him handing his mechanic friend a JFK half-dollar from the year 2041—though I don’t even think they still make these things now.
High on his amazing breakthrough, and fully aware that he is now officially the first human being to travel through time, Nick immediately… goes home to watch TV. And as he heads home, we learn that Nick Miller is a different sort of action hero. He doesn’t own a car, and he prefers to ride a bike. No, not a motorcycle. A bicycle. Which puts him in the same league as rough and tumble action heroes like Jupiter Jones.
During a commercial break in a late night movie, Nick sees an ad for a company called “Gen-Corp”, which features CEO J.K. Robertson talking about how his company is always on the lookout for new ideas from inventors.