Reviewed May 12th, 2002 by David Nusair
After Steven Seagal’s comeback with last year’s Exit Wounds, it would have been easy enough to expect that he was done with schlocky straight-to-video trash. But apparently, you can never quite escape your roots…
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 haunting 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.
Audio: Surprisingly enough, this DD 5.1 soundtrack is quite underwhelming. Though the explosions sound good enough, it’s the quieter moments that fail completely. Dialogue is often muffled and even inaudible at times. This is certainly not an impressive soundtrack.
Video: Faring substantially better is the transfer, which is framed at a ratio of 1.77:1. Ticker was filmed on a low-budget and it shows, but the transfer is free of artifacts and generally looks quite good.
Extras: Not much in the way of extras, aside from a commentary track featuring director Albert Pyun and a producer. In all honesty, this is probably one of the worst commentary tracks out there. The two hardly speak, though when they do, it’s fairly interesting. Still, out of a 90 minute movie, they talk for (maybe) a third of it. Very poor. And they get the whole thing off on a bad foot by mentioning a deleted sequence (that isn’t on the disc). The disc also comes with some cast/crew bios, production notes, and a trailer.
Conclusion: Ticker is instantly forgettable and a film Sizemore and Seagal will no doubt leave off their respective resumes in the future.
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