Maybe I'm being just the tiniest bit hard on "Ticker". Yes, I know that it was made on a meager $600,000 budget, but that doesn't excuse it for me. Yes, I know that filming time was limited to twelve days (no joke), but I can't look past it. And yes, I know that it was directed by the ultimate B-movie hack, Albert Pyun ([[ASIN:6305232679 Nemesis]], [[ASIN:0792835735 Cyborg]])...but could he really have done no better for a man of his experience?
The story, in short:
San Francisco is plagued by the antics of a dangerous demolitions expert (Dennis Hopper, [[ASIN:6305176299 Speed]]), pursued by Ray Nettles (Tom Sizemore, "Saving Private Ryan") - a vengeful detective looking to avenge the death of his partner (Nasir "Nas" Jones) - and the city's bomb squad, led by the Zen-practicing martial artist Frank Glass (Steven Seagal, [[ASIN:0790732238 Under Siege]]). They must seize the criminal before his plot to rain destruction down on the entire city is realized.
For starters, even though this is a movie of diverse theatrical talent - including Jaime Pressly ("My Name is Earl") as the bomber's girlfriend - the acting leaves very, very much to be desired: the fact that "Mumbles" Seagal gives a performance to cry about is a given, but not only does Sizemore lose his edge in between shouting at Nas and Pressly, but the usually-adamant Dennis Hopper features the most amazing disappearing accent. Yes, a disappearing accent - he's Irish in one scene, and not Irish in another. No rhyme or reason to it. I hate to say it, but no-name actress Linda Castro gives the best performance of the film as a schizophrenic homeless woman.
The film plays like an uninteresting thriller: the bomber plays cat & mouse with the police, blowing up things at will while Nettles runs around as clueless as a beheaded chicken and Glass spouts Zen nonsense from behind his desk. Other than the shooting of Nettles' partner (Nas is featured on the cover of the film, but his total screentime doesn't top five minutes), nothing really exciting happens until the end - no car chases, no sex scenes, and sparse shootouts. Even when we do get to the end, the only thing we're treated to is a silly gunfight and the two absolute worst hand-to-hand fights that Seagal has ever been involved in. Blah.
What decisively kills the movie for me, however, is that it seems so very small. The scale of the film pales in comparison to anything that the cast has done before, and makes it seem like most of the movie was shot in the parking lot behind the production building. Add to that the fact that the film liberally incorporates footage from the Dolph Lundgren movies [[ASIN:6305669562 Sweepers]] and [[ASIN:B0000203YZ The Peacekeeper]], and what you're left with is a certified bomb, even where direct-to-video releases are concerned.
Luckily for Sizemore, he was immediately able to salvage his career with [[ASIN:B000065U1N Black Hawk Down]]. Hopper and Seagal, however, continue drift rather listlessly from project to project, with the latter's face not having seen the inside of a movie theater since the release of his following film, [[ASIN:B0000844MD Half Past Dead]]. While I don't contribute their ensuing lack of success to "Ticker", the movie best serves to show where the careers of these actors were headed at that time - nowhere.