I got a chance to check out Rifftrax Live: Time Chasers Thursday May 5th and it was hilarious! You may be asking what is the difference between Rifftrax Live and regular Rifftrax? Well Rifftrax Live is a Live unedited show put on by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett that is simulcast as part of a Fathom Events special to hundreds of movie theaters across the United States and Canada. They’ve done 20 specials so far and I have been to practically all of them (I have only missed Miami Connection due to some unforeseen circumstances). This particular time they decided to re-riff the Mystery Science Theater 3000 “classic” Time Chasers. This time for the big screen Time Chasers is being shown remastered in widescreen and is the original cut. The MST3K version edited about 10 minutes out of it for the TV broadcast. Was it worth checking out?
The Film Itself
I got my seat about 30 minutes early because Rifftrax Live has slides of jokes and trivia about a half hour early for all their live performances. Also they play humorous songs from artists such as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Paul and Storm, Jonathan Coulton and more. It really gets you in the mood to watch something funny, and it’s nice because once the Live show starts they basically just jump right into the riffing. Unlike MST3K there aren’t really any host segments, just a brief introduction and on to the film. One of my favorite parts of the live shows are when they riff on some educational short. This one was exceptional! It was titled Chimp the Fireman. I don’t want to spoil it but there were a lot of chimp on human action and fires to be put out. It’s possibly one of the weirdest shorts I’ve seen, almost ranking up there with “Drugs Are Like That”, “Shake Hands With Danger” and “Is Corn Grass?”.
After the delightful short we go right into the film Time Chasers. Honestly I’ve always had a soft spot for the film and it could be enjoyed being watched all by itself. However that’s not to mean that it is a good film by any means but it is certainly entertaining. The film is obviously about time travel. The main character is a typically nerdy action hero with a mullet and glasses and a time travelling airplane. Oh wait, no that isn’t typical at all! The odd choice of characters is one of the endearing parts of the movie, as well as how often people use a bicycle to get around town. There is overacting in abundance, weird choices for filming locations and tons of Back to the Future references. This is definitely a “so bad it’s good” movie.
The Rifftrax crew crank up the funny to 11 and I was having a hearty laugh practically every minute. Just like MST3K sometimes a reference might go over ones head but for the most part everything was pretty straightforward and most jabs were directly related to the film itself. In reviews like this I really hate to spoil the best jokes by writing them here and then they aren’t as surprising or natural where they are placed in the film. I really think it needs to be experienced as it is going on. So I hope that doesn’t cast a shadow on your opinion because if you have ever seen Rifftrax, or MST3K then you really already know what you are getting into and a lot of the fun is in the experience in real time.
This is probably the best Time Chasers has ever looked. It still is a low budget movie though and some issues do exist in the print but it’s exactly what you would expect from a 90’s B movie. I imagine at some point this will be released on either Blu-ray or HD download from Rifftrax but I especially appreciated seeing it on the big screen. Just be sure to temper your expectations with the fact of what kind of movie it is and not to compare it with modern blockbusters. It is solid for what it is.
Time Chasers has good audio quality, again keeping in mind what kind of movie we are talking about here. It’s mostly dialog and that comes through fine. The commentary from the Rifftrax guys comes through very well although on occasion I noticed a little bit of when they were talking over the movie it became garbled maybe 2 or 3 times. Since it was a live show I couldn’t rewind to see what was being said but all in all it really didn’t detract from the viewing experience. I’d give it a solid but not spectacular rating.
I highly recommend seeing this in the theaters. Unfortunately you missed the live show on May the 5th. However there is a special encore showing on Tuesday May 17th that you might still have a chance to catch in your area. I think Rifftrax Live: Time Chasers is a really funny experience that is totally worth your hard earned entertainment bucks.
Note: We were offered this Rifftrax Live Fathom Event for review purposes. This has not affected our judgement, rating or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.