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Film / Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann

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Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann, directed by William Dear, is a 1982 time travel-influenced action film starring Fred Ward as Lyle Swann, a cross country dirt bike racer. The movie was written, scored, and produced by Michael Nesmith.

Lyle, in the middle of a motocross race, gets lost and wanders into a time travel experiment which transports him and his bike to 1877.

Tropes present in this film:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Lyle's bike has a cassette deck, but that helmet with a built in zoom feature and distance readings sure isn't 1980s standard!
  • Arc Number: Lyle Swann is from 1982. Both the racing number on his chest and the number on his bike are 82.
  • Automaton Horses: Can't have an Implacable Cowboy without one!
  • Big Bad: Porter Reese.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The head scientist for the Timerider project shows up in a helicopter as the heroes run out of ammo, scaring away Reese's gang and unintentionally dispatching Reese with the tail rotor.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lyle is brought back to the present, but his bike is destroyed in the process and he is forced to leave Claire behind, starting the Swann clan.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Early on in the movie the bad guys squeeze off many shots with nary a reload.
  • Captain Oblivious: Somewhere along the line all the STRONG HINTS that he could be in the wild west add up and he figures out when he is, but it can't be until shortly before the end of the movie, because this character is clueless.
  • Creator Cameo: Director/co-writer William Dear shows up as a tech at the Timerider labs, and co-writer/executive producer/composer Michael Nesmith shows up as a member of Swann's pit crew early in the film. Dear points out where both are on the DVD Commentary.
  • Curious as a Monkey:
    • The boy in the mission basement.
    • When Porter brings the bike to the camp the others poke at it with sticks. This is people living in a world with steam locomotives.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Claire tells Lyle to take his clothes off while pointing a gun at him. Lyle, in disbelief, are shocked about a woman raping a man.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Hey, there's a guy on a motorcycle!
  • The Full Name Adventures: The Adventure of Lyle Swann
  • Get Back to the Future: Though Lyle seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that he's time traveled for the better part of the film.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Porter becomes the first man in history to be chopped up by the tail rotor of a helicopter.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: A group of cowboys unload all their ammo at the motorcycle and only one person hits it.
  • Implacable Man: Porter Reese really, really, really wants that machine.
  • Informed Attribute: Everyone at the beginning of the movie talks about how awesome a racer Swann is. We never see any proof aside from long shots of him riding cross-country and popping a wheelie from time to time.
  • It's a Small World, After All: Claire is skinny dipping and Lyle comes along and decides to do the same in the same lake without noticing her. The three bad guys arrive, too and notice Lyle but not Claire. Five people at the lake at once. In the wild west, that's practically rush hour.
  • Meaningful Name: Claire's last name is "Cygne". "Cygne" is French for "Swan". They even point out that she's from Louisiana, a heavily French area.
  • Meta Guy: Porter steps into this for a moment after the camp unloads their guns at the motorcycle.
    Porter: You shot it. What a bunch of dumb sons of bitches, you shot it! A machine - you butt-heads!
  • My Car Hates Me:
    • When Swann is surprised by Porter and his thugs.
    • He also finally runs out of gas at the worst moment, though pretty long after you'd expect him to.
  • My Own Grampa: And it's seen from a mile away by grandma.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Lyle pretty much just lets things happen to him.
  • Ramp Jump: Many, notably when entering a the mission town.
  • Ramp-rovisation: Who knew the wild west had so many handy ramps?
  • Rule of Drama: Lyle can't slowly wheel into town and politely ask where he is, noo... he has to jump his motorcycle over a wall by complete surprise and continue to ride around town shouting questions at the obviously terrified people - which wouldn't be nice to do in the 1980s, either. Only after he has done that for a bit do the bad guys show up and give him a reason to continue riding around.
  • Skinny Dipping: Claire is doing this when she first sees Lyle, who is also doing this.
  • Surprise Vehicle: Both a motorcycle and a helicopter.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security:
    • There is no fence nor guards around the time travel test, despite it taking place near a major motorcycle race.
    • Despite the villain's secret hideout no one is on guard duty on the ridges above.
  • Tap on the Head: Claire is hit on the head and is out for however long it takes to be ridden across a horse to the bad guy's hideout.
  • Time Machine: Under development by a lab.

Alternative Title(s): Timerider