3 - 2 - 1 ... There's nothing like a ticking time bomb to give any movie a sense of urgency. Whether it's a literal set of explosives (as in Speed), a new ice age (The Day After Tomorrow), alien attack (Independence Day), hostage execution (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three), fatal poison (Crank), or the threat of loved ones being killed (Nick of Time), it's an honorable tradition to ratchet up the tension by pitting heroic characters in a relentless race against the clock.
This week marks the home video release of Alex Proyas' Knowing, a somewhat insane thriller in which astrophysicist Nicolas Cage comes to believe that future disasters can be predicted -- and races against time to stop the next one. You have to see it to believe (or mock) it. If you're in a countdown frame of mind, here are seven more entertaining thrillers that feature seriously motivated heroes trying to avert disaster. Consider this a starter list; see if you can be the first one to list your favorite(s) in the comments section. Go!
7. Back to the Future (1985)
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is just an ordinary high school student, doing a favor for good old Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) when he finds himself transported back in time 30 years. Before he knows what's happening, he's dodging Oedipal issues and trying to make sure his parents fall in love before he is gone, baby, gone. He is highly-motivated, to say the least, resulting in a pulse-quickening race in which a literal clock plays a major role.