Ticker (April 27/02)
After Steven Seagal's comeback with last year's Exit Wounds, it would have seemed as though he would dodge the fate of some of his other '80s action counterparts (Van Damme, anyone?) and avoided straight-to-video fare. Guess not...
Ticker casts Seagal in a secondary role as an expert in defusing bombs (how do we know he's an expert? He spouts a lot of Zen-type aphorisms and wears cheesy-looking bifocals) while Tom Sizemore takes the lead as a disgruntled and jaded cop - really, were you expecting another kind of cop from a flick like this? The story, as best I can figure it: Sizemore's dealing with the untimely death of his family due to a car bomb (why they were killed is never explained), but has to get past his demons in order to combat a deadly bomber (played by, without the usual over-the-top glee we've come to expect, Dennis Hopper) who's blowing up various public facilities because his girlfriend has been locked up. Now, Sizemore is forced to team up with Seagal and the two doggedly pursue the trail left by Hopper.
Ticker is so cliché-ridden that it's almost impossible to really enjoy the film, unless you've never seen an action movie before. Everything's here: The angry captain who wants the main character off the case, the cop with a haunted past, etc. Add to that an obviously low-budget, and you've got all the ingredients for a flick that should have starred Eric Roberts and Ice-T (who, by the way, has an inexplicable cameo appearance). But besides all that, the story's just not very interesting. You'd expect that Hopper would have a greater purpose in blowing up all these buildings, but he really doesn't; his only goal is to get his girl released. There is some sort of a nuclear device that figures into the plot towards the end, but what it has to do with anything is never made clear (indeed, it appears to exist only so Seagal can don those bifocals and disarm it just before the timer hits zero). Ticker sets some kind of record for sequences exactly like that - someone anxiously works away on defusing a bomb while the clock slowly winds down. But then, originality is not Ticker's forte.
There's not much worth recommending about Ticker. Otherwise good actors are forced into stereotypical roles, and the production values are cheap-looking and unimpressive. And if you're a fan of the rapper Nas, don't bother renting this. Despite what the cover indicates, his part is tiny and will likely leave his fans disappointed - along with everyone else, really.