Time Chasers, or Tangents, is yet another IMDb Bottom 100 movie that can attribute most of its popularity to Mystery Science Theater 3000. Personally, I don’t think it is nearly as bad as most of the other movies on the IMDB Bottom 100. I actually enjoy it as a movie pretty well, despite the film’s obvious shortcomings.
The biggest flaw in Time Chasers is that the film-makers clearly didn’t have the capability to execute the vision of the script. Ultimately, I think that almost entirely came down to a lack of funds. Overall, I am impressed at the product that they did manage to create given their limitations. It creates some humorous moments as they improvise a number of their sets, but they put more effort into it than some other similarly-cheap movies. I think that the film also falls victim to the times in retrospect, as the special effects that are used in the time travel sequences look incredibly cheesy now, not to mention the fashion.
The MST3k riff of the movie focuses a lot on what they see as a miscasting of the lead character. The actor certainly doesn’t strike as a typical film lead, but his character isn’t supposed to be an action hero. He is a physicist and a hobbyist pilot, so why would it be necessary for him to look like a movie star? I also imagine that the film couldn’t afford experienced actors anyway (I’m assuming that from the dialogue delivery), but that “flaw” isn’t something I hold against the movie. The fact that none of the actors deliver lines very well is another matter. Again, I think they were making due with what they had available. I’m impressed that the whole movie is as watchable as it is given the circumstances.
Despite the poor acting, mediocre (and over-reaching) script, and low budget, Tangents is a thoroughly watchable movie. It is by no means fantastic, but it did a pretty good job of keeping my attention. Their future segments come up very short due to their limitations, but bringing in American Revolution reenactors actually served them pretty well in creating their 1777 setting towards the conclusion.
As with any movie like this, a good hammy villain goes a long way in making the final product entertaining, and Tangents really lucked out there. The antagonist is a great corporate CEO bad guy, who seems to get progressively more evil as the movie goes on. The whole movie picks up whenever he is on screen, and he almost makes up for the dull romantic aspect of the plot.
In general, I can recommend this as an enjoyable “bad movie” watch. It isn’t on par with a legitimate release by any means, but it has enough going on to be both watchable and enjoyably incompetent, and the pacing never slows down to a crawl like many poorly made amateur films do. The incompetencies are mostly compartmentalized into areas that make the movie more entertaining, which is a pretty rare occurrence. The MST3k riff is a pretty good one, but this is a case where I don’t think it is necessary to enjoy the movie. If you want a slightly more obscure pick for a bad movie night, this is a swell candidate.