Rish Mustaine, John Sjoren
Action, Science Fiction
This is a popcorn and beer kind of film. An "American" film if you ask one of the main characters. It doesn't concern itself with being the most accurate; with being the most straightforward or visually appealing; or even leaving the cheese ball cliche nature of countless B movies behind it. It's a popcorn and beer film, not to be confused with a popcorn blockbuster in any way - and it also offers no apologies. You're either going to have some fun with this film or you're going to hate it. As they say... "Dead on Time... it's better than nothing."
In the movie, a couple of distinct players are tasked with retrieving a scientist and his concocted device. The first attempt is a failure leaving the scientist, Moshir, stranded in enemy territory. It's at this point, as Moshir is held captive, player number two enters the fray using an RV... gone are the days of the Humvee as joked in the film. It's Chevy Chase or nothing. As our second hero of sorts, Tom Bruise infiltrates and eventually rescues Moshir, you may think this film is getting close to the finishing point but in fact, it's only just getting started. Did I mention what it was that Moshir invented? No? Well here it is reader, a time machine. More specifically, a time-shifting machine - and honestly? This device not only serves up a great reason for Moshir to be hunted, but some good comic relief as well. If you can make it past the first twenty or so minutes of this film, you'll be in for a chaotic yet fun ride. Twenty minutes you ask? Yes, if you can manage to invest around twenty minutes into "Dead on Time" things get considerably better. It's around the second half of the film that elevates this movie to a three-star outing. Just enough time to settle in and have a few drinks.
I won't lie to you, the first bit really is the hardest. "Dead on Time" is a jumpy film with some weird transitions, a wonky pacing, and some really questionable use of color and contrast for a lot of the time. A lot of these issues get sorted as the film goes on... or I just got used to them and stopped noticing - but either way you slice it, the film eventually grows on you. I couldn't help but wonder if the film had been ten or so minutes shorter, some of the more glaring technical issues could simply have been removed... but that's neither here nor there.
What actually saves this film is its ability to take itself in stride, and not demand the audience overly think things. Well... that and the actual gags within the movie. Two of my favorite scenes involve a ridiculous rant about American people in general, and another involving Moshir beating the hell out of Tom over and over... and over. Then, he would jump back in time and repeat as needed until all his frustrations were under control. I laughed out loud during both parts. Although those two sequences were my favorite, they weren't the only ones. "Dead on Time" uses comedy to distract from the no-budget nature of the movie - and it works so damn well. Fans of the micro-budget genre will also have some fun picking out the stock footage mixed into the movie - perhaps making a drinking game out of the shots.
At the end of the day "Dead on Time" was a fun little film that has more good to offer than bad. Or perhaps the good is the bad - it's hard to tell. The average Joe may struggle at first but if they can stick it out, I'm pretty sure they'll agree that this is a fun little piece of indie filmmaking. An awkward but totally cool way to spend ninety minutes - three and a half stars.