Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on backyard wrestling, softcore Iraq war porn and lesbian prison camp anime, and now it’s time to do it again.
Time Runner (1992)
Starring: Mark Hamill and his hilariously sketchy attempt at facial hair.
For kids of a certain generation, Mark Hamill taught us a lot. He taught us that sometimes old men that your parents warn you to stay away from are pretty cool to hang out with, and that it’s okay to make out with your sister now and again if she’s as hot as coked-up Carrie Fisher. And in 1992, he taught us that sometimes you accidentally spend all your Star Wars money on pure Colombian blow and need to take a job in a straight-to-video ripoff of Terminator until that Batman: The Animated Series voice acting check comes in.
Hence: Time Runner.
Yes, if you’ve ever watched Terminator and thought “Hey, enough of this Arnold Schwarzenegger, I want to see more Michael Biehn,” then this is the movie for you, as they actually managed to rip off the Terminator without the Terminator.
Instead, we get the story of Luke Skywalker – sorry, Michael Raynor, who has the misfortune to be stationed on the Space Station “Friendship” when the planet is attacked by alien invaders whose lasers sound just like the blasters from Star Wars. And honestly, I can’t decide if cribbing sound effects from Star Wars in a movie that actually starred Mark Hamill is incredibly stupid or just ballsy enough to earn my respect.
The lightsaber that I swear I heard during one of the gunfights, however, was pushing it.
Anyway, Michael escapes from the space station just in time to be rocketed to the year 1992 for reasons that the filmmakers don’t even attempt to explain, where he almost immediately runs into Rae Dawn Chong, who is secretly an alien. Also secretly an alien: A government agent that’s more or less standing in for the T-800, who can kill through the power of sensual massage and appears to be played by Malcolm McDowell’s stunt double.
When you get right down to it, Raynor’s plan for saving the future is essentially just to ride around in stolen vehicles getting shot at (which eventually works after a sidetrip to seeing his own birth), and while that’s going on, the movie intercuts scenes from the future as the President of the World, who Raynor is looking for in the past, tries to keep the men of the future from blowing up the aliens with Ukranian nukes.
He’s doing this, of course, because he is also an alien, a fact that the movie tries to play up ad a big reveal even though–in the absolute stupidest thing in an already stupid movie–they have actually given him the name John Neila.
So the next time you see someone demanding that the President show his birth certificate, keep in mind just why they’re doing it: So that Luke Skywalker won’t have to come back in time to team up with the girl from Commando so that he can raise himself after his mother dies giving birth to him.
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|