Ticking Clock


Action / Mystery / Sci-Fi / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 31%
IMDb Rating 5.3 10 2996


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September 16, 2018 at 01:42 PM


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1hr 41 min
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23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Anthony Pittore III (Shattered_Wake) 4 / 10

A mundane crime thriller that revolves around one ridiculous twist

Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. has had one of the strangest acting careers in a long time. Ever since he won at the Academy for his performance as Rod Tidwell in 'Jerry Maguire,' he has been caught in a sort of downward spiral. This has sent the once-promising actor deep into the realm of straight-to-video nonsense, like his previous films 'The Devil's Tomb' and 'The Way of War.' Why he's been doing this is a mystery. No talent agent is bad enough to actually think these scripts are worth while or think they're anything more than a guaranteed failure. Maybe it's bad luck, maybe it's laziness, maybe Cuba just doesn't want the spotlight he deserves.

Whatever the reason for his failing success, it has led him straight to 'Ticking Clock.' In it, he plays Lewis Hicks, a journalist who gets put on the trail of a sadistic serial killer after his own girlfriend is viciously murdered. With the killer's journal in hand, Lewis must race against time to rescue the murderer's next victims. As the path begins to weave its way around and to a young orphan boy, Lewis begins to discover a deeper mystery surrounding the murders.

In the crime-thriller subgenre, there are really only a few good ways to go about writing a story. One maintains consant mystery, concealing the identity of the killer until a final reveal that should be a shock to the audience. The other is to reveal the killer from the start and use his intentions and motivation as the mystery. With 'Ticking Clock,' however, both approaches are mostly thrown out, revealing the killer's identity, his motive, and everything else pretty much immediately. This is a problem because the mystery is what is usually keeps a viewer watching in a film like this. If you don't have it, the audience just won't care. Here, the writers knew what they wanted to accomplish with an interesting (though ridiculous) twist, but didn't give enough reason to stick with it in the first two acts. By the third act, the audience is fairly apathetic with the story & characters and will most likely not even care about the twist, which the entire film revolves around.

This major flaw is not the only problem with the film. No, a more detrimental issue to its success comes from the extremely amateurish direction by Ernie Barbarash, a man very familiar with mediocre straight-to-video thrillers with his work on 'Cube Zero' and 'Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming.' If you look at a film like 'Se7en' (which, by the way, 'Ticking Clock' actually compares itself to on its DVD sleeve along with 'Silence of the Lambs'), you will see a perfect a example of how to craft a stunning & dark crime thriller. With 'Se7en,' David Fincher used the gritty city setting as almost another character, having the actors play off the direction in a way that added a deep realism to the film. Barbarash, with 'Ticking Clock,' blows his opportunity to do this by squandering the Baton Rouge & Las Vegas settings he had at his disposal, instead limiting the entire film to a few boring settings like living rooms & back alleys. Add this to the rather annoying cinematography by Phil Parmet and 'Ticking Clock' is just all around unpleasant to watch.

Unfortunately, there isn't much else to cling onto to try to save the film from being a total disappointment. The script is boring & contrived, providing nothing much that hasn't been done better many times before. The lack of mystery & thrills for the first two acts gives no real drive to continue watching for anyone but completionists who don't like to leave a film unfinished. Even the ridiculous, supernatural twist isn't original, and ends up hurting the film anyway due to the number of plot holes it creates. For being so crucial to the film's success, one would think the filmmakers would be willing to do what they can to seal plot holes (like a simple case of incorrect eye colour, for example). Even the once-talented Cuba Gooding, Jr. has nothing much to offer thanks to how poorly his character was written. Let's face it, an actor can only do so much with what they're given. Take De Niro & Pacino as examples in supremely disappointing 'Righteous Kill' from a couple years back. Add in some shoddy gore FX, CGI that looks like it should be in a mid-90s sci-fi flick, and a mundane cast of supporting actors, and you have nothing more than a sad excuse for a crime thriller here.

Overall, 'Ticking Clock' is just one of those films that will be stuck on the Blockbuster® shelvse for a few months trying to bait renters into biting onto the former star power of Cuba Gooding, Jr. Sadly, it will do nothing but disappoint with its unoriginal & unthrilling story and amteurish filmmaking.

Final Verdict: 3.5/10. Hopefully Cuba will get another chance in the spotlight some day.


Reviewed by Tony Heck 8 / 10

An action/horror movie about knowing when a killer will kill and trying to stop it, good movie-great twist

An investigative reporter (Gooding) comes home to find his girlfriend brutally murdered and chases the killer (McDonough). After finding a diary with names and dates of future murders he tries to stop them. Most of the time B movies like this one are boring and drag on and on to a lame conclusion. This one is a rare exception. This movie had me riveted and second guessing myself all over the place. A very original movie that has a huge twist in it that could have ruined it, but was done so well that it actually helped make the movie better then I was expecting. Very tense in some parts and will keep you hooked until the final frame. A MUST SEE, even for non horror fans. A very original, surprising and enjoyable experience.I give it an A-

Reviewed by Claudio Carvalho 7 / 10

Time Traveling is Complex

On 20 February 1999, a killer (Neal McDonough) slaughters a woman in a bathtub and takes her baby with him. On 17 April 2011 the life of the investigative reporter Lewis Hicks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a mess: he misses his son and his wife, from whom he is separated; he is stalled trying to write a book about murders; he has refused a position of assistant professor in the university; and his relationship with the assistant DA Felicia Carson (Veronica Berry) is not working well. After an argument with Felicia, Lewis buys a bottle of wine and visits her to apologize. However, he finds Felicia brutally murdered on her bed and the blond criminal in the crime scene. Lewis chases the killer, but he surprisingly escapes in an alley, vanishing in a corner. The stranger has dropped his journal on the alley and Lewis finds the diary and discovers that the man has planned several murders of women on the next following days. He holds the information from the police and asks his friend lieutenant Gordon "Gordo" Becker (Dane Rhodes) to investigate the fingerprints in a piece of newspaper and he finds that they belong to the teenager James (Austin Abrams), and orphan that lives in the Trinity Home for Boys. Further, the piece of the jacket of the killer is made of an unknown material. When Lewis unsuccessfully tries to save the next victim, he finds evidences that the killer and James is the same person. But the police led by the resented detective Ed Beker (Yancey Arias) believe that Lewis is the criminal and are chasing him.

"Ticking Clock" is a flawed film with a story with great potential and also full of inconsistencies but paradoxically is also an enjoyable B-movie. The screenplay deserved a better development and the character Lewis Hicks takes the worst attitude for each situation. But using the words of Lewis Hicks, time traveling is complex and the best thing to do is do not think in the plot holes and you may have a good entertainment. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Lutando Contra o Tempo" ("Fighting Against Time")

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