Trancers: City of Lost Angels (1988)

trancers_2Trancers: City of Lost Angels (1988)
AKA Trancers 1.5, Pulsepounders

Starring Tim Thomerson, Art LaFleur, Velvet Rhodes, Alyson Croft, Telma Hopkins, Grace Zabriskie, Helen Hunt

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Very high.

threestar


Like last year’s release of The Evil Clergyman, Trancers: City of Lost Angels (previously known as Trancers 1.5) was originally planned to be one piece of the anthology film Pulsepounders. Its three segments were to provide sequels to Empire International’s biggest films, theoretically also making Pulsepounders a hit. But the film was never finished and was left to waste away in the back of a warehouse… until now! Or until last year, anyway.

In this mini-Trancers film, Jack Deth must face yet another future villain out to get revenge on him. Edlin Shock was put behind bars by Jack eight years ago, but in order to get the plot moving, Jack’s boss McNulty is transferring this dangerous assassin to a new facility. She escapes by somehow blasting a hole in the ceiling and then forces the police scientists to send her down the line to where Jack Deth is in 1980s Los Angeles. Oh no!

Continue reading Trancers: City of Lost Angels (1988) →

Trancers 6: Life After Deth (2002)

Starring Zette Sullivan, Jennifer Capo, Robert Donavan, Timothy Prindle, Jere Jon, Jennifer Cantrell, Ben Bar, James R. Hilton, Kyle O. Ingleman, Gregory Lee Kenyon, Douglas Smith

Directed by Jay Woelfel

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


Trancers 6 is quite the surprising little movie. Instead of simply being the cash-in I expected it to be, it was pretty damn entertaining and loosely fits into the Trancers time line fairly well. Let’s not mince words here though, Trancers 6 is not for the average viewer. Most people will look at this film with disgust and hurl an endless stream of insults at it. This film is not for them though. It is for the tired, the hungry, the huddled masses of Trancer fans who waited eight long years between installments. By all accounts, the series was over and should have never been resurrected, but thanks to Zette Sullivan’s fun performance, a ridiculous story and some incredibly funny special FX, we’ve got a mostly fun movie on our hands.

In the future, a TCL chamber operator sees into the past and witnesses Jack Deth’s daughter getting murdered. Jack Deth has a daughter? Yes, apparently the kid Helen Hunt has with her in Trancers III was Jack’s. Who knew? Anyway, just like in the first couple of Trancer films, the technician sends Jack Deth down the line to inhabit the body of his ancestor/offspring and save her/his life in the process. Tim Thomerson does not reprise his role, but in one of the most audacious scenes in recent memory, the TCL technician converses with Jack via a television screen playing scenes from the previous Trancers films. What makes this so funny is that Jack’s hair noticeably changed throughout the series, so each response from Jack features a new hairstyle and setting. Boy, that Jack Deth sure gets around. It’s shameless, but I loved it.

Continue reading Trancers 6: Life After Deth (2002) →

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)
AKA Future Cop 5: Sudden Deth

Starring Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Teri Ivens, Mark Arnold, Clabe Hartley, Alan Oppenheimer, Lochlyn Munro, Jeff Moldovan, Stephen Macht

Directed by David Nutter

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


When we left Jack Deth in Trancers 4, he had just vanquished the Trancer leader, Lord Caliban. All was set right in the alternate dimension of Orpheus and Jack could sit back knowing he saved not only his own dimension, but his new one as well. Trancers 5 informs new viewers of the previous events with a quick retelling featuring hilarious narration. At the culmination of this, the screen literally rips apart and Trancers 5 begins in earnest with the Tunnel Rats’ action-packed, swashbuckling assault on Caliban’s castle. Damn! That’s the way you start a movie!

Continue reading Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994) →

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)
AKA Trancers 4: Journeys Through the Darkzone, Future Cop IV: Jack of Swords

Starring Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Teri Ivens, Mark Arnold, Clabe Hartley, Alan Oppenheimer, Lochlyn Munro, Jeff Moldovan, Stephen Macht

Directed by David Nutter

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


Trancers 4 dispenses with most of the series conventions you’re familiar with and places Jack Deth in an entirely new setting, a medieval, Robin Hood-style era of all things. Surprisingly, it works well and makes Trancers 4 very enjoyable for fans of the series. Jack has become the true definition of a time cop, wiping out disturbances as they come up, jumping back in time and killing them at their source. Through narration we learn that Jack actually wiped out all of the Trancers throughout time, so he’s busy helping out with other problems such as Jack’s recently completed mission to kill the Solenoids, a race of vicious plant creatures. Soon, Jack is given another mission, but a Solenoid stowaway jumps him and the timepod rockets off-course. This Solenoid looks great and it’s a shame he only gets a minute or so of screen time.

Continue reading Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994) →

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!

Continue reading Trancers III: Deth Lives (1992) →

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.

Continue reading Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991) →

Trancers (1985)

Trancers (1985)
AKA Cop Tronic, Future Cop, Future Cops

Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani, Art LaFleur, Telma Hopkins, Richard Herd, Anne Seymour, Biff Manard

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Very high. ’80s Sci-fi is hard to top for me.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Police Trooper Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) hurtles back in time to 1985 to apprehend the dangerous criminal Whistler, who is seeking out the ancestors of the future society’s city council and killing them off. Whistler can turn weak minded people into zombie-like creatures called Trancers with his psychic powers and Jack Deth is the only man crazy enough for the job. Deth is a rough and tumble, no frills badass that throws his badge to the ground in the first five minutes and writes the rules as he sees fit. For instance, right before the injection that will send him back in time, the lab techs show Deth the body of Whistler in their lab. The scientists explain that they recovered the body and brought it in so that when he brings Whistler back to the future, they will already have him in custody. Instantly I thought, “Kill him now! Don’t let his body live!” Great minds think alike as Jack Deth takes me up on my offer, whipping out his pistol and shooting the body, causing it to explode! Oh yeah!

Continue reading Trancers (1985) →

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