Greetings Movie Fans,
welcome, to the crevasse of my brain that resembles that dank room from the newsagents of your childhood where all those crazy video tapes used to dwell, eagerly waiting for your chubby little digits to pluck them from the shelf and obscurity so you could take them home and freak out your Gran, please do come in and pull up a chair I have such wonders to show you.
We live in an amazing time to be a fan of film, we are being inundated with countless ways to watch movies, be it through online streaming services, on demand and pay per view TV channels or at countless multiplex cinemas who in turn have IMAX and iSense size projections screens bombarding our eyeballs with dazzling effects be it in the regular 2D or in brain melting 3D. Technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the last two decades and it’s a beautiful thing and the movie industry embraces this wholeheartedly.
Along with all the choices on how to see new titles, studios have been delving deep into their vaults and re-releasing old classics on shiny Blu Ray discs with some sweet extras. Some of these titles have been the obvious special anniversary editions, like the Jaws blu ray release last year, and the upcoming 40th anniversary release of the Exorcist, but not all of these re-releases are big titles or cult classics, some are films that may have never seen the inside of a movie theatre, instead they found fame during the much beloved home video era of the late 70s and right through the 80s, films that by all rights don’t belong on a blu ray disc but when they surface they give the films a whole new lease of life and a brand new fan base, and these are the titles ladies and gentlefolk will be movies I shall be reviewing in this series of articles. So without further a do strap on your High tops and your stone wash denim and lets do this thing. Oh and just in case you weren’t already aware…this here article contains spoilers… you have been warned!
The first movie I have chosen is the wacky time travel tale, Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann, starring hard luck action hero Fred Ward. Some of you lovely folks might remember him Troy McClure style from such films as Tremors and Remo Williams: The Adventure beings. Mr Ward starred in some pure cheesetasticly awesome movies during the 80s. Movies that all seemed to be the part one of a franchise that unfortunately never made it past their first instalment. This was the case with both Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann and Remo Williams: The adventure begins. The latter was based on an excellent set of adventure books called The Destroyer series which I believe is around one hundred and forty books plus mark the last time I checked so Ward would’ve had a nice long outing as Remo Williams if that had paid off, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. Timerider on the other hand was written for the screen by the most unlikeliest or authors. Michael Nesmith, better known as Mike Nesmith from the 1960s pop group The Monkees wrote the tale of Lyle Swann and his time traveling scrambler bike that seems to run forever on one tank of petrol.
The movie opens with our fearless hero racing in the Baja 1000, an off road race that takes place in the Mexican desert. All the folks who are hanging around in the clouds of desert dust stare into the distance (in different directions) asking who that rider with the mad skills is, and then answering themselves with “Must be Swann”.
It is at this point that we get the blink and you’ll miss it cameo from former Monkee and scribe of this tale. While the officials are drooling over Swann’s mad skills out in the Mexican desert a group of scientists are preparing for an experiment, dials are turned, knobs are pushed and the face of a slightly worried monkey flutters quickly across the screen…this seems ominous, cut back to Swann skidding into a pit stop and pulling off his helmet to unveil the craggy face of Fred Ward, his leather like skin and matted hair gleaming in the Mexican sun.
Swann starts to give a blow by blow account of how awesome his bike is, describing all the dials and tubes and how fast this little beauty can go. Then we abruptly leap back to the scientists and their discussion of the timing being just right for whatever dastardly myth they are about to bust, this is a bout to get real.
So Lyle takes off at break neck speed straight into a montage so awesome that is on a par with the cheesefest chase scenes from the likes of the Dukes of Hazard or Knight Rider, but this montage has one thing those shows didn’t, a guitar shredding electronic score by none other than the mad maestro that wrote this craptastic adventure. Yes the uber talent that is Mike Nesmith also wrote all the music for this epic tale of epicness (seriously this dude is my gorram hero). So there is Lyle montaging through the desert with the greatest of ease, we cut back to the mysterious group of scientists and their cryptic talk of precise measurement and delicate calculations then back to Lyle, who seems to have gotten lost quite easily for an experienced rider. He consults his map and then heads of in no particular direction straight into the vicinity of the Science experiment. One blinding flash later and unbeknownst to our courageous hero we have been transported to the old west, 1877 to be exact….those dastardly Scientists!
So that is the opening of the film, I will not spoil the rest of the film just in case you lovely folks wish to go out and experience its beauty for yourselves. We are all set for a rollicking ride of what is pretty much a retelling of a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, albeit this time round it’s a Dirt bike rider in Mexican mission, but what started out like a fun filled romp was about to take a few turns towards the dark side passing through WTF-town before eventually arriving at Crazy Ville for the finale. I don’t know if this was meant to be a slightly messed up story but it certainly plays out like one.
Lyle’s adventure through time and madness sees him cross paths with the three stooges of Cowboy villains, a Sexy and mysterious Woman who is the lone protector of a holy mission and a gun toting nymphomaniac with a mysterious secret that could alter Lyle’s very existence and, two Texas rangers who start off normal and then turn into ninja wire wielding maniacs, this all leads to a finale so mind-bendingly mental that you’ll think you’re actually having a bit of an embolism. 80s time travel cheese has never been this much fun.
Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann is available to order on Blu Ray now.
[Words, Wayne Talbot]