It’s always a bad sign when someone makes the sequel to a minor film almost a decade later.
I quite liked the original Philadelphia Experiment: it wasn’t one of the great SF films of the Eighties — and there were quite a few of those — but it was actually quite good in a lesser film sort of way. The film itself plays out as a fast paced thriller with some wild ideas behind it, even if they are a little familiar. I hadn’t ever heard the urban legend before, so the images (which I saw first in Starlog magazine) of sailors trapped in the steel decks of a ship, were quite disturbing.
So it is strange to see those same images here, but only as a series of photographs, which almost negates their power.
And that really sums up this sequel. The stuff that made the original is here, mostly, but it seems to have lost most of its zing. The hero of the first film (played here by someone else, of course) gets drawn back into the latest iteration of the Experiment.
He ends up in an alternate post-Nazi invasion America, where he has to stop the event that caused this new timeline. Naturally.
It’s the sort of idea one could have a bit of fun with but instead it’s slow, talky and rather glum, with little that actually happens. I can’t say I think much of the idea that it all has something to do with some rare genetic trait which allowed the hero to survive what happened to the Eldridge back in 1943. To me it seems more of a MacGuffin as it gives the villain a reason to go after him. It certainly doesn’t make much sense from any scientific point of view.
Oh, well. Just ignore this one. You might even want to go back to the one from the Eighties.
With a little luck, we might even find a timeline where this sequel doesn’t exist.