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Past Perfect

video review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Past Perfect

Starring: Eric Roberts, Laurie Holden
Director: Jonathan Heape
Rated: R
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: January 1996
Genre: Action


*Also starring: Nick Mancuso, Saul Rubinek



Review by Dragan Antulov
½ star out of 4

School shootings and similar incidents that shocked America in late 1990s created impression of modern society rapidly descending into mindless violence, unprecedented in all previous era. However, things can get even worse, at least if we are to believe the authors of PAST PERFECT, 1996 Canadian science fiction thriller directed by Jonathan Heap (and distributed in 1998). The future society is going to be so overwhelmed with the rampaging hordes of violent criminals that the forces of law and order would have to adopt the most bizarre and drastic methods to solve this problem. In present-day Seattle police detective Dylan Cooper (played by Eric Roberts) encounters this solution while trying to bring down the gang of vicious gun dealing teenagers. When the gang members start turning up dead, apparently being the victims of execution-style murders, Cooper is intrigued and wants to protect the last surviving member Rusty Walker (played by Mark Hildreth). His efforts would lead with confrontation with the team of time travelling assassins, led by psychopathic Stone (played by Nick Mancuso), who were sent from the future in order to eliminate murderous criminals in their youth, thus preventing their future crimes. While dealing with this problem, Cooper would not only have to make some tough moral choices, but also to confront some ghosts from his own pasts.

Unstoppable cyborg assassins, time travel, gun battles involving teenagers and American industrial wasteland - all that would give impression of PAST PERFECT being nothing more than a cheap imitation of THE TERMINATOR. However, the script by John Penney at least tried to do something more - to seriously explore the causes of juvenile delinquency in modern world and give his opinion in the millennia-old debate between proponents of pre- determinism and free will. Unfortunately, Penney's answer to this question comes in the form of convoluted plot elements that suddenly appear half way through the film. Credibility of PAST PERFECT is further diminished by Penney's refusal to deal with the issues of time travel paradox. Finally, any serious meaning in this film is drowned by the cheesy special effects, obligatory car chases, explosions and gun battles and generally bad direction by Jonathan Heap. The cast is, on the other hand, strong for this kind of films and, apart from always underrated Eric Roberts, features respected character actors like Nick Mancuso and Saul Rubinek. Newcomer Laurie Holden (who would later become the star in TV shows like THE X-FILES and MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) does her best to put some humanity in a thankless stereotypical role of our hero's female partner. However, young Mark Hildreth is simply terrible as Rusty and his role is even worse compared with acting talents mentioned above. And this impression can be made about almost every other element of this film that deserved its obscurity.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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