Trancers was the brain child of one Charles Band, of Full Moon Entertainment fame. And while the later films films would fall under that banner, the first film was apart of Empire Picture, the same folks who gave us stuff like Re-Animator. In this new set we have all five of the Trancers movies together on five discs. They look a bit like VHS transfers, but they do come with some bloopers and behind the scenes stuff. Most the people who like these movies do so because of the cool actor, Tim Tohmerson, who played the character Jack Deth. But let’s not forget that the first three films have none other than Helen hunt as well.
Trancers (1985) Directed By: Charles Band
Jack Deth is a kind of cop/bounty hunter in the bleak Los Angeles of the future. He’s become obssessed with chasing Whistler – an evil criminal who uses powerful hypnotic powers to convert people into zombie like creatures known as trancers. Whistler has managed to escape through time travel and is loose in 1980s L.A. but Deth is on his trail.
The first of the Trancers films is very cool and very 80s. The character Jack Deth is a little rough around the edges and that makes watching him that much more fun. We get some cool for their time effects and some funny scenes, like Jack dealing with a Trancered out Santa at a mall. Also a very young Helen Hunt is a joy to watch as well. The movie isn’t filled with the most action and his 10 seconds watch does seem to go a bit beyond 10 seconds, but logic aside, it’s fun. That was really all you could ask for in a movie from the 80s like this. And that still about all you can for out of one now.
Trancers II (1991) Directed By: Charles Band
Stranded in the 20th century after chasing a villain from the year 2247, future-cop Jack Deth discovers that another baddie, Dr. E.D. Wardo (Richard Lynch, Scarecrow), has also traveled back in time— with a scheme to turn solid citizens into mindless trancers.
And it’s sequel time! And Helen Hunt is still here to spite the sequel coming such a long time after the original. In this one, Jack, deals with the brother of the first film’s villain. He also has his once dead wife back in the mix with his new wife, as she is played by Full Moon favorite, Megan Ward. It makes for some fun and the story is a bit complex, but still kinda cool. There’s a bit more violence, which is never a bad thing. You have a few good laugh, and the action never does seem to slow down, which is another plus. When you add all that up, you get a film that is still about on the same level as the original, just missing some 80s flavor and packed with the now 90s influence.
Trancers III (1992) Directed By: C. Courtney Joyner
A time traveling cop, Jack Deth, from the future is taken back to the past to be given the task of destroying the Trancer program before it has a chance to get out of control, sending the world into a state of chaos and war.
So Jack said goodbye to his now undead wife only for his newer one (played by Helen Hunt) to be divorcing him as this one gets rolling. Basically, she’s just here long enough to make her exit as Jack now finds himself being sent back down the line to fight off a Trancers uprising. He’s in the year 2005, he even has a fish-man robot friend and some other new cast editions, but it just doesn’t seem to click that well overall. The character of Jack is always a fun thing to see, but you can tell even now that the steam was starting to run out of this story as by this point it’s already too complicated and illogical. But it does have a fun scene or two.
Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994) Directed By: David Nutter
Jack is now back in the future. He had since lost Lena, and finds out that he’s lost his other wife Alice to none other than Harris. While heading out for another assignment, something goes awry with the TCL chamber. Jack finds himself in a whole new dimension. He also runs across a different version of trancers. These guys seem to be in control of this planet. Jack manages to assist a rebel group known as the “Tunnel Rats” crush the rule of the evil Lord Calaban.
And we have reached the point in a Full Moon franchise where they seem to have ran out of ideas. This results in a movie that seems to have some Army of Darkness and Subspecies flavor. But Jack Deth is no Ash and Trancer vampires sounds a lot cooler than it comes across. Also, being filmed back to back with the next (and last) film in the series means you get a movie that doesn’t even give us a satisfying ending. It just seems to set up for the next film, giving us a few funny moments but that’s about it
Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994) Directed By: David Nutter
Jack’s back for one more round with the Trancers. Jack Deth must attempt to find his way home from the other-dimensional world of Orpheus, where magic works and the Trancers were the ruling class (before Trancers 4, that is). Unfortunately, Jack’s quest to find the mystical Tiamond in the Castle of Unrelenting Terror may be thwarted by the return of Caliban, king of the Trancers and once thought dead.
So it’s the end of the line for Trancers. Jack is still trapped and trying to get home, all the while still trying to kill of some vampire trancers. Made back to back with the last film, you pretty much get more or less the same as before. It does have some more action and does come across at least a little better than the last one. It’s just a shame that this is the last Trancers film, because I’d have liked for Jack to have went out into the history of Full Moon with something better than these last two films. Maybe Full Moon will give us one last Trancers to end it on a high note.