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Clockstoppers (2002)
Director: Jonathan Frakes

review by Alasdair Stuart

A teenager accidentally gets his hands on a device that can stop time, and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to gain control of it. This teen science fiction movie is lightweight fare but fun nonetheless.

The central mcguffin is a device that doesn't so much stop time as allow the wearer to travel incredibly quickly through the present. It's a neat idea and one that is used consistently throughout the movie, giving the film a real sense of internal logic that others of its type rarely have. Even the reason for Zak (Jesse Bradford) taking the device makes sense, neatly poking fun at how self-centred a character he is. This is even reflected in how he uses the device, carrying out the usual petty revenge before being forced to face up to the consequences of his actions.

It's at this point that the film begins to lag a little. Whilst the central concept is impressive, the script rarely gets beyond stereotypical situations and characters. This is fairly standard late-1990s fare, complete with corporate misdeeds and the traditional bad guy in a suit, in this case played by a criminally underused Michael Biehn. Likewise the subplot of Zak learning responsibility and maturity from his actions is the same one that these films always have. It's good-natured and in this case not too preachy but nonetheless this is very well worn ground.

These problems aside, there's a lot to enjoy in Clockstoppers. Biehn, and French Stewart (Third Rock From The Sun) as the two adult leads are impressive, and Bradford, Paula Garces and Garikayi Muatmbirwa all do good work with what they're given. The action sequences are well produced and innovative, the pace never slackens and there's very little to actively dislike here. It's fun, nothing more and nothing less.
Clockstoppers

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