Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, Garikayi Mutambirwa, Robin Thomas, French Stewart | Directed by: Jonathan Frakes | Produced by: Gale Anne Hurd, Julia Pistor | Written by: Rob Hedden, J. David Stem, David N Weiss | Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director Jonathan Frakes (“Star Trek: Next Generation”) has created a fun film for the entire family in “Clockstoppers”. Based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, this latest time travel spin explores again the area of hyper-time (which also received decent exposure in “Lost in Space”). As is expected, “Clockstoppers” is your classic good-guy-creates-invention and bad-guys-wanna-use-it-for-evil plot. This is also a classical biblical scenario in a way: God creats and says that it is good, while Satan (who cannot create) takes God’s creation and tries to use it for evil.
“Clockstoppers” is a lot like the hit “Spy Kids”—it’s fun for the family, though geared more toward teens (like “Wargames” or “The Manhattan Project”). Four screenwriters bend their craft together to give a decent time-bending story, and Frakes even takes the time to work in a “Star Trek” gag.
“Clockstoppers” tells the story of Zak (Jesse Bradford) who loves bike stunts and selling stuff on E-bay (who doesn’t love E-bay?!). He’s saving up his dough to buy a used Mustang (always a smooth choice). But Zak soon changes his entrepreneurial pursuit to chase after a Venezuelan exchange student, Francesca (Paula Garces). Then there’s also Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa), Zak’s best friend who hopes to soon be discovered an up and coming Rave DJ.
Zak’s father (Robin Thomas) is helping a former student with a science project, though he’s clueless as to the reality of what he’s working on. The special watch (which speeds up the body’s molecules) accidentally falls into Zak’s hands. Wouldn’t you know, it provides the perfect timing for our hero to win the heart of the beautiful Venezuelan and play a few high school pranks in the process.
The baddies who want the watch are led by Henry Gates (Michael Biehn, “Megiddo,” “The Terminator”). Our villains also have the power of Hyper-time and our story quickly becomes an episode of Spy vs. Spy.
There are some neat special effects in this 94-minute feature. An absence of sex, gratuitous violence, and language mixed in with plenty of action and suspense make “Clockstoppers” an enjoyable ride for most.