Philadelphia Experiment II
Reviewed by Scott Murdock
Rating: 9 Beans
t's all the fault of one Carlos Miguele Allende. All it takes is one man to start a rumor, stir up the attention of conspiracy theorists, and BOOM, we suddenly have a really really dumb and boring movie on our hands.
I won't go into detail about the Philadelphia Experiment itself, there are plenty of sites listed in Yahoo! that can fill you in on the details if you are clueless. However, some background from the original "The Philadelphia Experiment" movie is needed: a sailor from 1943 is accidently transported forward in time to 1984 due to some freak characteristic of his DNA that makes him sensitive to temporal distortions.
Now it's 1993 and the sailor, David Herdeg (Brad Johnson, whose filmography includes an awful lot of crap but at least he was in "Always" with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter), lives in a nice little all-American town near an Air Force base where he is routinely experimented upon. He has a little boy named Benjamin (John Christian Graas, one of the little kids from "Kindergarten Cop"), but he's not a very good father because he can't keep up with life in the 1990s.
Back at base we have Dr. William Mailer (Gerrit Graham, who may be better known for his guest appearances on "Star Trek Voyager" or "Babylon 5" than any of the crap movies he's been in), a man who paces back and forth throughout most of the movie. He is obsessed with perfecting invisibility in order to salvage his family name after his father's dismal failure decades earlier. (His father, also played by Gerrit Graham, was one Friedrich Mahler of Germany.)
Bored yet? Well, consider yourself lucky, because you have now experienced the first third of the movie.
Feeling that the process is perfect, and ignoring the advice of fellow scientist (and friend of David) Professor Longstreet (James Greene, who you'll either recognize as Harry on TV's "Men Behaving Badly" or Reverend Kern from 1975's sci-fi loser "Bug"), Mailer conducts an unapproved experiement in which he attempts to turn a stealth bomber, fully loaded with nuclear weapons, invisible. Instead, he accidently transports it to 1993 Nazi Germany, where it just so happens to land in the vicinity of Mailer's father.
Suddenly our hero David finds himself in an alternate version of 1993 that transforms around him. The Nazis have won World War II and only Alaska remains as a safe haven. The Nazis have established a totalitarian regime where all citizens are tattooed with bar codes that track and catalogue them and determine how they are put to use. Only David is aware that anything is out of the ordinary.
Fortunately, David's appearance in this alternate 1993 was predicted by Professor Longstreet after his extensive study of the Philadelphia Experiment, so he sent a group of freedom fighters led by Jess (Marjean Holden, a name you may not recognize but you will definitely remember either from her role as Sheeva in "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" or as the girl who gave the oral report about Anne Boylen in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"... 'Let them eat fast food'.) She of course eventually becomes the love interest as she escorts David to Professor Longstreet.
Meanwhile, William Mailer (in this version of 1993) is now a Nazi and in control of the city. He continues to pace back and forth a lot, but also wants to capture David as soon as his presence is discovered. Not because Mailer is aware he is in an alternate 1993, but because David's DNA holds the key to Mailer's own research into time travel. You remember the stealth bomber? Well, Mailer's father Friedrich Mahler claimed it as his own invention. In a surprise attack the Nazis flew it across the Atlantic and dropped its payload of bombs onto Washington, DC. Of course they had no clue what a nuclear weapon was or what 50 kilotons meant, so in addition to the 15,000,000 American people destroyed we also lose one Nazi pilot and one stealth bomber. When Mahler was unable to build a new plane, he was disgraced even more so than he was in the original timeline. So, Mailer now wants to travel back in time and warn his father how to adjust the flight path so that the plane will not be destroyed in the nuclear blast, thus repairing his tarnished family name.
Though Professor Longstreet expects to meet David, he also does not realize that the timeline he knows is not the correct timeline. But when David tells him of the correct 1993 in which the Nazis had been defeated and all was quite a lot better, Longstreet fills David in on Mailer's time travel experiements. David realizes he must travel back to 1943 to stop Mailer and Mahler.
Confused? Don't worry about it. This movie is about as idiotic as they get and makes very little sense at all. Granted, time travel movies are very difficult to write because there are so many factors and paradoxes to consider. But this movie's leaps in logic are ridiculous. It is utterly stupid and dull. About the only thing that makes any sense is the ending, since it is one of the most predicatble endings in cinematic history.
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