This review is going to have some hefty, major SPOILERS in it, so don't read on if you plan on seeing it.
You're immortal. You have sat through every type of bad movie imaginable and are still alive and kicking. You are still strong enough to watch more bad movies. Nothing can keep you down; you keep popping back up for more, thus nothing can harm you. You pop `Time Burst: The Final Alliance' into your VCR, sure of your ability to survive anything AIP can hurl at you. It isn't until the first fifteen minutes are over and the plot has begun to unravel itself when you start to question your own invincibility --- indeed, your own sanity --- and whether or not you will have enough strength to operate your VCR ever again. At least these were my thoughts when I, like a slobbering idiot, decided to watch this movie.
The `plot,' as it is, concerns a man named Urbane (David Scott King, having no other film credit). We first see Urbane forcing information out of a rich businessman on board a small plane. Then the plane crashes but Urbane walks away from it with nothing more than a small case of amnesia. He wanders about a bit, only to be hounded by guys in suits that work for `the agency.' He is also pursued by a woman, Jane (Michiko, wisely not using her real name). Through a series of flashbacks in the first half hour, we learn that Urbane is a few hundred years old. Seems that he was an Englishman that had gone to Japan (though I complained to the screen that Japan had closed its borders to foreigners during that time period) to be a student of The Master (Gerald Okamura) and gain his wisdom of immortality. This happens, so here we are now a few hundred years later, and Urbane remembers that he worked for `the agency' and is trying to get ancient artifacts that explain the secret of immortality, which is now in possession of The Master, and give it to the evil agency guys. But having tagged along with Jane and having his memory temporarily erased has made him realize how wrong he is, so he vows to protect The Master and the secret. Question: If you have been alive for centuries and have had all that time to learn vast knowledge and amass a little fortune yet, like Methuselah, you accomplish nothing, doesn't that make you the stupidest person alive?
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that a movie about an immortal man in modern times is a great idea. They could make a string of good movies about that! Heck, we can even turn it into a hit syndicated series! And I would totally agree with you on this thinking. The problems here is that it has already been done. The franchise was called `Highlander.' Come on, Peter Yuval, did you think we weren't paying attention? Actually, I thought the plot similarities were a coincidence until The Master, presumably tired of being alive, requests for Urbane to kill him. For an immortal to die, The Master explains, his head must be chopped off. Just like in the Highlander franchise! I was about to lose it until, a few minutes later, The Master instructs Urbane to kill him, only he doesn't chop his head off. Question: If you're an immortal martial arts master and you tell your protege the only way to kill you is beheading and you have him disembowel you instead, doesn't that make you the second-stupidest person alive? Oh but the fun(?) doesn't end with such idiocies. The villain that wants the secret to immortality (couldn't actually figure out if he himself was immortal) has a high-tech laser gadget that apparently is the second (or maybe third) way to kill an immortal. Most of the end action takes place inside The Master's old home, and the villain has a bunch of business-suited thugs chasing Urbane through the house armed with nothing more than regular guns. Question: If you are a bad guy and you want to kill an immortal, and you know the only way you can do it is with your laser gizmo, but you instead send your men to kill him with regular guns that have no effect whatsoever on the immortal, doesn't that make you the third-stupidest person alive? To top it off, the movie doesn't exactly have an ending. Urbane and Jane get away, sure, but the villain is left standing and I lost track of what happened to the secret of immortality. I know this much, though: if being immortal means watching movies like this for the rest of eternity, than I can't wait to die.
I don't blame the actors because all of them, with one exception (the guy playing the head coroner, who was just awful in the movie's worst scene), were as good as they could be with a script like this. It is they alone that saved this movie from getting a 1 from me. The person to blame is firmly Yuval. I liked Yuval's `Shooters,' a lot, but cringed at his disastrous `Firehead.' But even `Firehead' had some big named actors and cheesy effects, of which `Time Burst' has none. Question: If you find a movie called `Time Burst: The Final Alliance,' and realize fifteen minutes in that you are heading for a train wreck, but you don't shut it off and instead watch it to the end anyway, doesn't that make you the fourth-stupidest person alive? It sure feels like it. Zantara's score: 2 out of 10.
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