Picks and Pans Review: The Philadelphia Experiment

UPDATED 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/10/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

This may be strike three for young actor Michael Paré. His debut film, Eddie and the Cruisers, died a quick death at the box office. His second, Walter Hill's rock 'n' roll fable Streets of Fire, was rapidly extinguished. This one shouldn't have to wait long before it's put out of its misery. A goofy sci-fi mishap all too similar to the 1980 film Final Countdown, its features are ludicrous action and hackneyed dialogue. Even the likable Nancy (Dressed to Kill) Allen looks adrift. Pare and buddy Bobby (Splash) Di Cicco are sailors recruited for a 1943 government project that attempts to render U.S. ships invisible on enemy radar. In the process their destroyer gets thrown into a time warp. They land in 1984 and, in Paré's case, into the arms of Allen. Meanwhile, the same scientist who conducted the World War II experiment is still at it 40 years later. Whoops! Now an opening in hyperspace threatens to vacuum up the whole planet. Paré looks as stoic—or bored—as always, though he manages to squeeze out a tear to show he has a vulnerable side when it comes to matters apocalyptic. Allen relies on a quavery voice and a childlike expression. Glowing visual effects, under the direction of Max (Altered States) Anderson, are everywhere, though they aren't nearly distracting enough to save the film. "The experiment that shouldn't have happened 41 years ago is still going on!" exclaims the ad line. Maybe if it's still going on in 2025, Pare will have enough seasoning to make it interesting. (PG)

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