Sunday, August 7, 2016

Timebomb (Avi Nesher, 1991)

If you listen closely, you can still hear the crowds outside the theatres that were screening Timebomb way back in 1991 chanting: "What do we want? More Tracy Scoggins!!! When do we want her? Now!" over and over again. What's that? You say they were no crowds chanting anything of the sort outside the theatres that were screening this action-packed, early 1990s thrill ride? That's weird, I could have sworn there were crowds. But then again, my Tracy Scoggins-soaked medulla oblongata might have just conjured up these so-called crowds out of thin air out of frustration over the fact that there wasn't enough of her in this movie. Playing Ms. Blue, the lone female assassin in a group of brainwashed super-assassins with colourful code names, Miss Scoggins' icy turn as a ponytail-sporting government killer is, no pun intended, to die for. Sure, we might only get, oh, let's say, maybe half a dozen scenes that feature Tracy's slinky assassin character. But trust me, each one is worthy of a thousand ill-conceived sonnets. Despite the fact the picture I'm currently painting seems to be that of a film that lacks the horse sense to give Tracy Scoggins more screen time, Timebomb is actually a top-notch slab of filmed entertainment about, get this, a watchmaker who rides a bike to work.

Of course, there's more to it than that. But still, I like the idea of an action film that boasts a bike riding watchmaker as its central character. And it gets better. The watchmaker is played by Michael Biehn.

I know what you're thinking. And Patsy Kensit's blandly cute Dr. Anna Nolmar is thinking the exact same thing. When Dr. Anna walks into the vintage watch repair shop where Michael Biehn (Deadfall) works, you can tell right away that she wasn't expecting to find someone so youthful fixing antiquated time pieces. To be fair, Michael Biehn, whose character's name is "Eddie Kay," thinks the exact same thing about about Patsy Kensit when he finds out she's some kind of psychotherapist. Given that both "Eddie Kay" and Anna are in professions that are typically reserved for those who are a tad on the older side, you would think they would stop what they're doing and fuck... heterosexual style. But, surprisingly, they don't... fuck... heterosexual style. No, she gives him a watch to repair, and leaves. Though, she does hand him her business card. I know, it's so he can call her when the watch is ready. But deep down these two definitely have the hots for one another.

Anyway, after a long day of watch fixing, "Eddie Kay likes to unwind at Al's Diner, and... Hey, would you look at that. The waitress working behind the counter is played by none other than Julie Brown. I know it's early, but I like this movie already. I mean, Julie Brown and Tracy Scoggins? This is going to be good.

After awkwardly flirting with Julie Brown (who looks sultry as all get out in her waitress uniform), an explosion in a building across the street shakes the entire block. As the ensuing fire begins to spread, it's obvious that some people are still trapped inside. Without giving it much thought "Eddie Kay" runs into the burning building and saves a mother and her probably stupid baby.

As you might expect, Eddie Kay's heroics make the news. And that's when things get real for Eddie Kay. You see, the people who brainwashed Eddie in the 1970s are still out there. And some of them watch the news. One of these "people" turns out to be Col. Taylor (Richard Jordan), who immediately ensembles a team of assassins, including Tracy Scoggins' Ms. Blue and Mr. Brown (Billy Blanks), and starts making plans to murder Eddie's ass.

The only problem with this plan is that Eddie is also a trained assassin. The twist, however, being that Eddie is the only one who doesn't seem to know this. The scene where Billy Banks attempts to stab Eddie to death while he slept will no doubt remind some of viewers of The Bourne Identity. The look of surprise on Michael Biehn's face as he manages to stave off Billy Banks' attack is similar to the one Matt Damon sports after he subdues those Swiss cops in the park. Now, before you start accusing Doug Liman and the Bourne producers of ripping off Timebomb, you should remember that The Bourne Identity is based on a book that came out in 1980 and was also made into a TV movie in 1988 (Richard Chamberlain plays the titular Bourne).

The same goes for accusing Quentin Tarantino, and his film, Reservoir Dogs, of ripping off the idea for having characters with colour-themed code names. That idea originally came from The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.

After each attempt to murder him goes awry, Eddie Kay slowly begins to realize that he's a bona-fide badass. The scenes that have Eddie Kay dragging Dr. Anna around L.A. will probably remind some of people of Michael Biehn's Kyle Reese from The Terminator, as both are desperate men fighting against overwhelming odds.

My favourite out of all the murder attempts that go awry has to be Michael Biehn's confrontation with Tracy Scoggins in the underground parking garage. (Why?) Oh, I'm sorry. I was just thinking about the slit on the back of Tracy Scoggins' skirt. So, yeah, I liked the way the slit enabled Tracy to move more fluidly as she tried to fuck Michael Biehn's shit up. And, of course, the multiple leg-friendly camera angles and the way her ponytail looked when it was bathed in shadowy, ponytail-enhancing darkness.

The shoot out at the most luxurious porno theatre ever (a porno theatre with stadium seating and a balcony?!?) was pretty great, too. Sure, Tracy Scoggins isn't in this scene, but I did enjoy the sight of Jim Maniaci's Mr. Grey crawling around on the sticky floors with a machine gun. In fact, I would put Mr. Grey's love of guns just behind Tracy Scoggins' Ms. Blue and Billy Banks' Mr. Brown in terms of things I loved about this movie.

Wait, did I say, "just behind"? Let's get real, people. Mr. Grey and Mr. Brown are miles behind Ms. Blue when it comes to delivering the awesome . If I had my way, I would have made Ms. Blue the focal point of the entire film. And, on top of that, I would have made her character a cyborg. (How do you know she wasn't a cyborg?) Excellent question. After all, the brainwashing process did look kinda cyborgy (it's like Tetsuo: The Iron Man meets Ghost in the Shell). As I was saying, I would have kept Billy Banks (he has great screen presence in this), but I would have given Tracy Scoggins more to do (way more).

And I definitely wouldn't have put her in a pair of jeans for her final scene. I mean, she wears skirts for the entire movie, but to then have her wears jeans all of a sudden? Outrageous! Maybe I ain't hooked up right, but the sight of Tracy Scoggins in jeans made me physically ill.

Despite the jean fiasco (Jeans?!? For God's sake. What were they thinking?), Timebomb is a slick action thriller with cyberpunk undertones that proves yet again that some the best movies from the 1980s were actually made during the early 1990s.


  1. Once again, I have to thank you for finding something straight up my alley (far more efficiently than any Amazon algorithm). Thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep it up! I don't always post comments, but I try to read every post. Again, thanks and hang in there!

    1. I'm trying, but it's tough. I mean, I'm getting my ass kicked over here. Anyway, I appreciate the support. :)

  2. Wow. I totally forgot about this one. I mean Robert Culp, Julie Brown (whatever happend to her??) and Tracy Scoggins. I am sure I saw this, but given the date it was out I am equally sure it was late at night and I had been drinking.

    1. In 2012 Julie Brown was a guest judge on Ru Paul's Drag Race.