Time Again (2011)
Starring: Angela Rachelle, Tara Smoker, John T. Woods, Scott F. Evans, and Gigi Perreau
Director: Ray Karwel
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars
After he loses a set of magical coins that allows the possessor to travel in time and alter events is lost in a local diner, a power mad gangster (Evans) goes on a murderous rampage in the establishment, killing or maiming who were present. Six months later, her sister, Marlo (Smoker), is still dealing with the guilt of having traded shifts with her and thus avoided getting killed, when the gangster catches up with her. He is still looking for his magical coins, and he believes she has them. But as she is trying to escape, she encounters a mysterious old woman (Perreau) who actually DOES have the coins. She gives them to Marlo, thus giving the girl the chance to save her sister and everyone else in the diner by changing the past.
I love time travel stories, so it is a given that I liked "Time Again" a great deal; it basically takes a real crappy bunch of filmmakers to make a time travel movie I don't like. Fortunately, first-time director Ray Karwel and the cast in his film are far from crappy.
The story moves at a quick pace and is lots of fun with its repeating time loops--each one a little different as Marlo tries to undo events that seem destined to happen, and each one getting increasingly fun to watch as she takes advantage of knowledge gained during one trip to effect events in the other.
The acting is also better than one finds in many films made at this budget level. It's about as good as what you find in the 1980s films from Crown International or Andy Sidaris, which means it's mostly solid if a little stagy at times, but nowhere near as brain-achingly amateurish as what seems to have become the norm in the low-budget films these days. But that's not too surprising given that Karwel's leads are all experienced actors, most with a dozen more films or television appearances under their belts. Angela Rachelle and Scott F. Evans are particularly strong in their parts, and I will have to keep an eye out for other films they're in.
Karwel also has mostly firm control over all the technical aspects of the film. He understands how to place a camera to make a fight scene seem like people are actually throwing punches instead of playing Cops & Robbers in the backyard, and the film's CGI muzzle-flashes and gunshot wounds are generally well done as well. There are only a couple of times where the film's low budget shines clearly through in the sense that close-ups or off-camera events are used in order to cover effects that would be too expensive or complicated to pull off. But, in my book, that also puts Karwel in a different class than many of his peers, as they would have attempted the effect anyway to the detriment of the over all picture.
I also have to admire the post-production efforts that went into the picture, as there isn't a single instance where I can mount my standard gripes about lack of color correction, bad use of sound, or inappropriate use of soundtrack music.
All in all, this is a fun, swift-moving action flick that makes great use of its time travel story elements and its talented cast. Karwel and everyone else involved with this film are names and faces to watch for in the future.