A Movie A Day #199: Timebomb (1991, directed by Avi Nesher)

Recall Total Recall?

If you do, Timebomb will seem very familiar.

Michael Biehn is a mild-mannered watchmaker who surprises himself when he fearlessly rushes into a burning building and saves a mother and her baby.  After he shows up on the evening news and is hailed as being a hero, he is attacked by an assassin (martial arts legend Billy Blanks) and discovers that he instinctively know how to defend himself.  When he starts having disturbing nightmares and strange flashbacks, he sees a psychiatrist (Patsy Kensit).  They discover that Biehn’s problems go back to when he was a part of a military brainwashing experiment.  The man behind the experiment (Richard Jordan) now wants Biehn dead.  Pursued by another brainwashed assassin (Tracy Scoggins), Biehn and Kensit go on the run.

Like many action movies from the early 90s, Timebomb has an extremely cool premise but lacks the budget necessary to make the most of it.  After a good start and some surreal moments (including a scene where Biehn and Kensit visit the lab where Biehn was “created”), Timebomb ends up just being another shoot ’em up.

Luckily, Timebomb has a really good cast.  Richard Jordan is an effective villain and old pro Robert Culp has a small role as one of Jordan’s collaborators.  The always underrated Michael Biehn is a great hero, precisely because he’s not some huge, indestructible guy.  He’s not Stallone or Schwarzenegger or even Jean-Claude Van Damme.  (Timebomb was originally envisioned as a Van Damme vehicle.)  In Timebomb, Michael Biehn is the everyman action hero.  Plus, any movie that features Tracy Scoggins as a gun-toting assassin is going to be worth watching.

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