Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
In 1943, after a secret government experiment, a naval ship disappears and two of the sailors find themselves in 1984. When it seems that some kind of electrical storm has followed them, they search for the truth. But luckily, they find Nancy Allen… I love me some Nancy Allen! It's another slice of "Cult Fiction" in the Cult Classic Film Series.
Is it good movie?
Sitting down with The Philadelphia Experiment years later is like sitting down with an old friend. But not one of those warm, fuzzy feelings of remembrance. It is more like that friend you just kind of don’t really relate to anymore. You start thinking to yourself while you are sitting over coffee, why were we friends? Well that was my experience returning to this film. Yet, I still somewhat enjoyed the feeling of familiarity even if it wasn’t quite what it was back then. But I still hold some fondness for it being that it stars Michael Paré and Nancy Allen. Both are two of my favorites and I thought they were good in their roles. Besides the fact I still have a crush on Ms. Allen. Even now, I found myself enjoying these two on screen. I’m a bit old-fashioned in that I think some of the stars of the Seventies and Eighties genre films were just more interesting than much of what we have today.
As for the film itself, it just didn’t hold up all that well. You can’t fault the bad special effects too much because a lot has changed since 1984. But the choppy editing and the convoluted plot are enough to drag you out of this John Carpenter produced flick. This is the story of two sailors in the Navy assigned to grunt work on a secret experiment in 1943. It is also based on a “true story”… yeah, sure it is! The Navy is working on a way to make their ships invisible to radar detection, but something goes awry. When the ship actually disappears, many of the men on board are killed. But David Herdeg (Paré) and Jimmy Parker (Bobby Di Cicco) survive, finding themselves in a modern world. As they wander this new world, it seems some kind of electrical storm has followed them. And once they find themselves at a roadside diner, a bolt of electricity runs through Jimmy causing the machines inside the building to spark. This leads to a silly scene where the two men “carjack” Allison Hayes (Allen) and find themselves on a bunch of cliché filled chase sequences. Luckily somebody removed the fruit stand before the cars ram through it sending bananas and apples flying.
While this is not an awful film by any means, it is just bland. Now seriously, if you have to remake a movie, this might be a good one to take on. But I did appreciate the actors and even director Stewart Raffill for somehow moving it forward. Yeah the script is silly and yes the editing was questionable, but I’d still be inclined to say hello to this flick if nothing else is on. If for nothing else, but to look at how cute Nancy Allen is. If you haven’t seen it, it might be worth a look, but I don’t think you really should seek it out. If it happens to be on, or you find it in the cheapie DVD section, it won’t kill ya. We’ll just keep this friendship on a casual acquaintance level instead of trying to find a deeper connection.
Video / Audio
Video: You’re not going to get much better than this, but not necessarily because the 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is good. It is adequate at best, but I’m guessing we are not going to see a bunch of double dipping on this title.
Audio: The Dolby Surround 5.1 fares better than the video. But it is still not the best transfer.
The Special Features disappeared with the ship. Only a Trailer was left behind.
I usually love going back and watching movies I dug when I was young. Sadly, The Philadelphia Experiment was only a so-so one. The best thing I can say about it is watching two of my favorite genre actors in action, love me some Michael Paré and especially some Nancy Allen. But the film as a whole is pretty mediocre. If you absolutely must own all Eighties genre efforts then by all means, pick this up. If not, wait for it to hit your local listings or make it a rental on Netflix.