WHEN TIME EXPIRES (TV movie)
(director/writer: David Bourla; cinematographer: Dean Lent; editor: Mike Deprez/Bruce Wescott; music: Todd Hayen; cast:Richard Grieco (Travis Beck), Cynthia Geary (June Kelly), Mark Hamill (Bill Thermot, Beck’s Former Partner), Chad Everett (Walter Kelly), Tim Thomerson (Rifkin Koss), Joycyln O’Brian (TV housewife, Assassin’s Interface), Pat Corley (TV Car Salesman, Beck’s Interface), Ron Masak (TV Evangelist, Thermot’s Interface), Gary Lee Davis(Assassin #1), Rick Cramer (Assassin #2), Bill Rosier (Bartender), Matthew Mahaney (Tom Holtan, June’s Former Boyfriend), Eric Lawson (Sheriff Holtan, Tom’s Dad); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Larry Estes; Regent Entertainment; 1997)
“One must swallow a lot of hokum to still like this film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
David Bourla is the writer-director of this catchy B film sci-fi tale that was released as a TV movie and has almost no special effects. One must swallow a lot of hokum to still like this film. With a little more effort, its deadpan humor could have been further explored and with less contrivances it could have been a better genre story. Travis Beck (Richard Grieco) is a discarded and disgraced bureaucrat from outer space, who is a time traveller landing in the Nevada desert naked. Beck works for an intergalactic planetary federation at a low-level job as a planetary investigator. Assigned to the futuristic analyst department, his mission is referred to as a calibration exercise. Beck goes back in time to put a quarter in the parking meter at 8:01 AM, on the third day of his visit, of a senator’s car about to be ticketed, in the desert small town of Lanston, Nevada. We are led to believe that this act will prevent a worldwide nuclear annihilation. Also arriving in town is threatening fellow alien Rifkin Koss (Tim Thomerson), who is in charge of two other parole assassins (Gary Lee Davis/Rick Cramer). Also, surprisingly in town is Beck’s former space partner, Bill Thermot (Mark Hamill), who might not be the friend he seems to be. During these three days, Beck also finds the time to meet and fall in love with hottie waitress June Kelly (Cynthia Geary). Her rancher father (Chad Everett) like Beck is an alien, which doesn’t shock her as much as you would think when dad tells her the truth. Dad is the retired time trouble-shooter, who warns Beck about the danger he faces and reminisces with him about his days with the special ministry and the watches all alien agents wore so they heed protocol whenever their watches beep.
All time-travellers have an Interface, someone who helps them and can be found on TV with a cable plug. The car lot pitchman (Pat Corley) is Beck’s.
In a race against time, it’s up to our guy Beck to save the world by putting a quarter in the meter. Death here for the aliens means vanishing back in time and not remembering the future. The fun is in taking in the strangeness of this slowly evolving convoluted plot and seeing what you can make of it.
REVIEWED ON 4/23/2017 GRADE: B