Arcade (1994)

arcade_1AKA Cyber World

Starring Megan Ward, Peter Billingsley, John de Lancie, Sharon Farrell, Seth Green, A.J. Langer, Bryan Dattilo, Brandon Rane, B.J. Barie, Humberto Ortiz, Jonathan Fuller

Directed by Albert Pyun

Expectations: Pretty high.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Arcade is supposedly one of Full Moon’s most popular films, but after seeing it I have little understanding why that is. Video games were pretty popular in 1993, so maybe it’s just that an overwhelming amount of kids convinced their parents to rent this “video game movie” for them (wonder what they thought of the bloody suicide aftermath seen in the first couple of minutes!). But if Arcade actually did so well, Charles Band would’ve cranked out a sequel (or four). Hmmm, all I know is that people seem to harbor a nostalgic love for Arcade that is not in line with the film’s actual quality. That’s no crime, but it did come as a surprise.

Alex (Megan Ward) is having trouble coping with her mother’s recent suicide. She seeks solace with her group of friends: her boyfriend Greg (Bryan Dattilo), Nick (Peter Billingsley) and Stilts (Seth Green). Together they head down to their local arcade (Dante’s Inferno) where a new virtual reality game called Arcade is being test marketed. It’s no ordinary game, though, and after Greg tries it out he is nowhere to be found. Now it’s up to Alex and Nick to uncover the secrets of Arcade and find Greg!

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Crash and Burn (1990)

Starring Paul Ganus, Megan Ward, Ralph Waite, Bill Moseley, Eva La Rue, Jack McGee, Elizabeth Maclellan, Katherine Armstrong

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. I don’t expect the movie to be good, but at least it has giant robots.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twostar


Oh Crash and Burn, why did you go and pull the bait and switch on me? Why do you promise another big robot spectacle ala Robot Jox, only to provide a sub-standard Blade Runner / Terminator / Alien mashup? I should know better than to go in with distinct expectations, but they really got me this time. The clever ruse of putting a giant robot on the box art and titling the film Robot Jox 2: Crash and Burn in some markets should have clued me in, but I was coming off the high of watching Robot Jox and what can I say? I was pumped.

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Trancers III: Deth Lives (1992)

Trancers III: Deth Lives (1992)
AKA Future Cop III, Trancers 2010

Starring Tim Thomerson, Melanie Smith, Andrew Robinson, Telma Hopkins, Megan Ward, Stephen Macht, R.A. Mihailoff, Helen Hunt

Directed by C. Courtney Joyner

Expectations: Moderate. The 2nd was OK.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


Jack Deth has stooped to new lows. As the film starts, Deth advertises his private investigation business focused on cheating husbands with a low-budget television commercial featuring a bevy of cute girls in Santa’s Helpers costumes and a VHS video camera in hand. The end of the ad is punctuated with a shotgun blast to the TV from a disgruntled liquor store robber. He runs back to the counter trying to get the money from the prerequisite Asian store owner, when suddenly a high-pitched squeal hurts their ears. They are bathed in orange light and a time capsule that kinda looks like a phone booth materializes. A crazy looking alien thing pops out and asks, “Where’s Jack Deth?” The alien promptly tracks Jack down and takes him back to the future with him. Oh no!

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Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)
AKA Future Cop II

Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Megan Ward, Biff Manard, Martine Beswick, Jeffrey Combs, Alyson Croft, Telma Hopkins, Art LaFleur

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. It’s a sequel.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


Six years after the original, Charles Band got around to making another Trancers film. He successfully reunites the entire cast of part one, as well as a few new faces. By this point, Empire International had collapsed and his new company, Full Moon Entertainment, had risen from its ashes to bring us more of the Charles Band brand of campy flicks I love. Trancers 2, just like in real life, picks up six years after the events of the original and Jack Deth is still stranded in the past, 1991 to be exact. Using the current year as the setting works really well, because acknowledging the production year allows the film to age a lot better. Instead of picking some arbitrary number for the time, we are treated to 1991, 1991 style. The Raiders are forever the Los Angeles Raiders and passenger vans come in two varieties, the Chevy Astro and the Ford Aerostar. Oh, it’s good to be back.

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