Clockstoppers (2002)
Main cast: Jesse Bradford (Zak Gibbs), French Stewart (Earl Dopler), Paula GarcÚs (Francesca), Michael Biehn (Henry Gates), Garikayi Mutambirwa (Meeker), Robin Thomas (Dr George Gibbs), Julia Sweeney (Jenny Gibbs), and Lindze Letherman (Kelly Gibbs)
Director: Jonathan Frakes


Clockstoppers follows faithfully the formula that made other kids-friendly sci-fi action adventure movies like Back To The Future so successful: take a mildly geeky but still good-looking kid, give him some superficial Mom and Dad issues, pair him with a beautiful lady, and make him save the world using some credible-sounding scientific principle.

Zak Gibbs is an average kid who is doing so-so in high school and having issues with his researcher father spending more time on his work than with Zak. Zak also has his eye on Francesca. One day, the Gibbses receive a watch from Earl Dopler, Dr George Gibbs' former student, and Zak wears the watch without realizing that the watch is a device that can stop time. At first Zak uses this watch to woo Venezuelan exchange student Francesca, not by stopping time to have sex all over the place as this is a kiddie movie mind you, but by stopping time and indulging in silly pranks all over town. Alas, the rogue FBI operative Henry Gates and his henchmen want the watch too, and soon poor Zak and Francesca find themselves in an adventure of a lifetime.

Clockstoppers takes a while to really swing into the correct gear. The first half hour of this movie is banal and hence painful to watch, no thanks to the two leads playing teenagers indulging in silly pranks. Once the action starts, however, in comes to cool bike stunts and credible action sequences, making this movie quite watchable indeed. The cast have nothing much to do, thanks to a script that doesn't try hard to rise about being derivative, so kudos have to be given to Jesse Bradford for actually giving off the impression that he is genuinely having the time of his life while making this movie. His Zak is simultaneously a geek as well as a maverick - someone who can easily be a popular kid while remaining accessible, like Michael J Fox's Marty McFly in Back To The Future.

With enough convincing daddy-son issues, some enjoyable action and CGI sequences, and decent acting from the cast all around (although it is difficult, even heartbreaking, to watch Michael Biehn play roles like Henry Gates obviously for the paycheck), Clockstoppers is a decent and enjoyable movie. It won't stop the world on its tracks, but it will really do nicely for killing time purposes.

Rating: 78


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