Artisan // 2001 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 16th, 2001
When the countdown hits zero, you're dead.
Ticker has the misfortune of being released in a time when movies about terrorists don't seem quite as fun as they used to. However, I have the feeling that there's still an audience out there eager to see cars and buildings blow up via small plastic explosives. Starring a somewhat impressive B-movie cast (including Tom Sizemore, Steven Seagal, Ice-T, Dennis Hopper and Jamie Pressly), Ticker goes "boom" on DVD care of Artisan Home Entertainment.
The big city + fervent cops + obsessed terrorists = lots of things blowing up.
A mad bomber named Swann (who else but Dennis Hopper) is tooling around San Francisco blowing all kinds of things up. After the police arrest his girlfriend Claire (Pressley), the whack-job bomber decides to take out different buildings until they finally release her from custody. With the help of a Zen bomb expert (Segal), Detective Nettles (Sizemore) is on the case to stop a cold-blooded killer...and maybe exorcise the demons from his own tortured past.
Ticker is a few notches below a full-blown Hollywood action movie, yet is a few notches above most cruddy B-grade films. I enjoyed Ticker enough, though it's about as light and fluffy as a bag of popcorn. The story has absolutely no new twists or turns to give it an edge, and most of the explosions look like they were carefully constructed and set by trained pyrotechnic professionals. Yet I still thought this was enjoyable enough fare to warrant at least one single viewing.
The element that makes Ticker rise above the rest is the fact that there's a decent cast floating around the film. Tom Sizemore is always a lot of fun to watch (he was a grizzled detective in The Relic and a solider in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan). While his tough-as-nails character is by the book, Sizemore still injects more humor and pathos than is needed in a film like this. Steven Seagal once again looks slow and paunchy, spouting off New Age babble like some annoying self-help Chatty Kathy doll. Jamie Pressley looks sultry and sexy and nothing more, and Ice-T just kind of shows up and then disappears. Apparently, he was just doing the director a favor by appearing in the film.
There's not a whole lot left to be said about Ticker. While other action/mad bomber movies like Blown Away and Speed (which also starred Hopper as the nutball bomber) are certainly more thrilling, Ticker in its own little way is entertaining and fun. Like any other guy on the planet, I like watching things blow up real good. Ticker has a lot of these scenes, and for that it passes the test.
Here's a hint for all you single ladies out there: If you're ever sitting at a bar with a guy who looks like Dennis Hopper (and he's carrying a suspicious looking briefcase), you ask him his name, and he responds with "Soon the whole world will know who I am..."...this is your cue to get up and leave. Period. End of discussion.
Ticker is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. For a straight-to-DVD film I was fairly impressed with how nice this transfer looked. While there were instances of grain and dirt (as well as some edge enhancement and darkly lit scenes), overall this isn't a bad transfer. Colors looked generally bright with black levels usually solid.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround as well as Dolby 2.0 (both in English). The 5.1 track is mildly aggressive with directional effects utilized nicely. There were many instances of directional use in all speakers during explosive action sequences. The 2.0 soundtrack is, not surprisingly, sparse and not half as good as the 5.1 track. On both tracks distortion and hiss were non-present. Also included on this disc are Spanish subtitles.
Ticker includes a few extra features for the consummate B-movie lover, including an audio commentary with producer Paul Rosenblum and director Albert Pyun. Both of these men seem to be pleased with their efforts and the final film. The track is nothing special, though it is filled with lot of information on the production. As a side note, director Pyun's voice sounded a but like actor James Woods...very weird. Also included on the disc is a non-anamorphic widescreen theatrical trailer for the film, some extensive cast and crew information, and a few production notes on the making of the movie.
Ticker is nothing special, but it is harmless stuff that's best enjoyed with your brain on pause. It's standard B-movie stuff with a so-so production budget and some B-list actors who do the best they can for their paycheck. Artisan has done a decent job on this disc with a few extra features and a nicely done transfer/audio soundtrack.
Ticker is acquitted of some of the charges, though it's still slapped with a fine for being a rehash of every other mad bomber movie.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Audio Commentary with Producer Paul Rosenblum and Director Albert Pyun
* Cast and Crew Information
* Production Notes