Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982)


Lyle Swann (Fred Ward, Remo Williams) 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 era 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 Home Video. Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann certainly falls under this category — a B-movie 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.

Directed by William Dear, written by Dear and Michael Nesmith, 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. Fred Ward is endearing as the reluctant-hero. Cult character actor L.Q. Jones (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and A Boy and His Dog) is a delight as Marshall Ben Potter. The cast also includes Peter Coyote (E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial), Ed Lauter (Family Plot), the beautiful Belinda Bauer (Winter Kills) and Richard Masur (The Thing) as a baddie. 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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