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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Reader Review

Time Barbarians

Posted by: Sam
Date Submitted: Saturday, March 20, 1999 at 03:45:25
Date Posted: Saturday, March 20, 1999 at 13:57:14

"Time Barbarians" can be considered a companion piece to "Eyes of the Serpent," as it's by the same company and, for the first half of the film, is so similar it's hard to tell them apart.

As in "Eyes of the Serpent," all the action takes place in a forest. Fog blows through so thickly and furiously and relentlessly they you might as well be able to see the fans and fog machines just off screen. The badguys are guys that run around the forest in stooped postures, wear hockey masks, and groan and growl illiterately. The fight scenes are executed so slowly and deliberately, it's impossible to convince yourself even temporarily that they might be real. It's even hard to suspend disbelief far enough to imagine the *swords* might be real.

The acting is atrocious, even for a bad movie. There's the hulking hero, who appears to be reading cue cards. There's the usual array of sultry enchantresses who overact so much they're off the scale.

The main villain -- presumably he got to be the lead badguy because he can speak both English *and* Grunt -- is possibly the funniest part, because he has no purpose, no ultimate goal. The script writers (if, indeed, this script was written as opposed to improvised) forgot to give him a motivation. He keeps running around saying, between gritted teeth, that he's going to do evil things and so on, but...WHY? What's he want to do? Even a simple "I want to rule the world!" would have given him a reason to be evil. But we don't get any explanation, and somehow he magically targets the hero as his arch-enemy, even though he doesn't know this person, this person never did anything to him, and this person has not ever posed a threat to him. It's hard to describe how funny it is in mere words, but in the movie, when he takes such drastic and inconvenient steps to crush the goodguy, even though he doesn't know him from Adam, it's hilarious.

Then, suddenly, out of the blue in this wooded fantasy epic, we cut to a cityscape, and the words, "Los Angeles -- Present Day," show up. The surprise knocked the sanity out of me, and I laughed hysterically. I was even looking forward to the change of scenery, because instead of relentless, repetitive, unconvincing fight scenes, I figured they might switch to something more entertaining. Nope. Once in Los Angeles, *NOTHING* happens for the entire rest of the movie. People meander around from place to place, and then the movie ends.

There's one classic scene in this half, though. The villain and his sidekick are brooding in a bar, seething and looking evil. They see the Hero on a news program on TV. And they get really worried. The villain looks concerned, and the sidekick panics and starts convulsing and jabbering, "He'll kill us! We're doomed! He's going to kill us!"

But the cool-headed villain stops him from panicking and breathes, in evil-guy tones, "Wait! I...have a plan...."

There's a glimmer of hope in the sidekick's eyes, and, surprised, says, "We have a plan? What's the plan?"

In evil-guy tones, the villain reveals his dastardly scheme: "WE will kill him FIRST!"

The sidekick is relieved and looks like his life was saved right then. He gets excited at this novel plan of action and begins snickering in evil-henchman tones, "Oooooh, yesss, we will kill him FIRST!" This is followed by manic badguy laughter.

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