1997 Movie Review: RETROACTIVE, 1997 (James Belushi)

Movie Reviews

Director: Louis Morneau

Starring: James Belushi, Kylie Travis, Shannon Whirry, Frank Whaley, M. Emmet Walsh, Shermon Howard

A hostage negotiator makes several jumps back in time to save a woman from her brutal husband.


‘Retroactive’ is one of those big studio films that went straight to video, but you wouldn’t understand why if I just gave you the plot, because it’s a damn good plot, unfortunately almost everything else lets this one down.

Karen (Kylie Travis) is stranded in the middle of the desert, her car has broken down and she ends up catching a lift with a strange weirdo guy (James Belushi) and his obviously suffering girlfriend. Even though fate gives her several opportunities to get away from this couple, who are obviously involved in some kind of illegal dodgy activities, she sticks with them until the jerk guy, Frank, shoots up a gas station.

Karen escapes and finds herself in a secret lab in the middle of the desert where experiments in time travel are being conducted. She is thrown back in time to when she was stranded. She tries to prevent the murders however each time she travels back she seems to make things worse.

It’s kind of like an action movie style version of ‘Groundhog Day’, just without the humour or good acting. Having said that though there are some good things about this film; as I said above the plot sounds interesting and probably would have been if it wasn’t for the acting. It would be interesting to see someone remake this film to see if they could make it work.

Another plus is that the time travel is pretty well thought out, considering the continuity errors which seem to occur throughout the film, it’s clear that the script writers were more vigilant than the director or continuity person, if there was one. It’s such a simple idea for a plot but it is the kind of plot that can end up being very complex to write, film and edit. So I give the film makers an ‘A’ for effort.

I have nothing against James Belushi or Kylie Travis, but I’m not really fans of either one of them. But both have acted in film and television before and after this film and quite obviously with a bit of success. But in this film it was as if they were just going through the motions.

With minimal effects and not a lot of different scene locations there isn’t that much a part from the plot to keep your attention. Which isn’t a bad thing but there are also too many points where you feel like the plot is being lost by the actors and so we as the audience get lost.

Someone should really remake this film, it needs it more than any other film. Although as I stated above it is such a simple plot and not that original so I look forward to the day when someone remakes this film accidentally. Then I will be able to say; ‘for once, this is better than the original.’


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