Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982)

Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982)


Lyle Swann (Fred Ward, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins) is a champion road racer who is accidentally sent 100 years back into the past by a time-travel machine.

Reaction & Thoughts:

The 1980s were the golden years for cult films. With the introduction of the VHS format, many films that were completely ignored during their original theatrical run found a new audience on video. Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann, written by William Dear and Michael Nesmith, directed by Dear, certainly falls under this category — an unpretentious little film that was almost completely ignored during its first theatrical run, but has gained a lot of fans over the years. With little money and a lot of heart, the filmmakers succeeded in creating a silly, but entertaining movie.

Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann is a very curious time travel film, using almost no special effects and avoiding most clichés — for once the hero never realizes the seriousness of his predicament. The film clearly succeeds in giving an old hat a new look. Using a talented cast (most of the now famous actors in the film were unknowns at the time the film was made), and shooting mostly on location, a far-fetched story becomes a fast-paced film with a sharp sense of humor.

While not a perfect film, Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann is a fun sci-fi & western hybrid that is destined to take many lovers of B-movies by surprise. The film has such a contagious and stimulating energy that anyone will feel inclined to forgive the film’s forced and abrupt ending.

The actors seem to be having fun. Ward is a charming hero. Cult character actor L.Q. Jones (A Boy and His Dog) is a delight. The cast also includes Peter Coyote (E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial) , Ed Lauter (Cujo), Belinda Bauer (Flashdance), and Richard Masur (The Thing). Director Dear and writer Nesmith have cameos.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Though not at the level of a film like Back to the Future, Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann is a fun movie from beginning to end. Those of you that have not seen the film should make an effort to check this one out — this is an original low-budget film with a lot of vitality. Color, 94 minutes, Rated PG.


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