Film (1984; vt Future Cop). Lexyn/Empire. Produced and directed by Charles Band. Written by Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo. Cast includes Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani and Tim Thomerson. 76 minutes. Colour.
Band apparently learned from his early, mostly bad movies, for this small film is confident, stylish sf. Future cop Jack Deth (Thomerson) travels back from 2247 CE to present-day Los Angeles in search of dangerous mystic Whistler (Stefani), who has fled back in time and now occupies the body of an ancestor. Protected by a number of Zombie-like "trancers", Whistler plans to murder the ancestors of his future opposition. Although primarily an action movie, Trancers is packed with sf ideas, and it has an interesting punk look about it. There are astonishing plot resemblances to The Terminator, released in the same year.
The sequel, Trancers 2: The Return of Jack Deth (1991, vt Future Cop 2), produced and directed by Band, written by Band with Jackson Barr, again stars Thomerson and Hunt. Convolutions of Time Travel make Jack Deth, six years on, a bigamist, his original (dead) wife, played cutely by Megan Ward, being sent back (alive) to the present. Soap-opera elements are played out against further battles with trancers, who use a trendy ecological movement as a front. This returns us to the awfulness of Band's early films. Maybe Trancers was a happy accident. Trancers 3: Deth Lives (1993, vt Future Cop 3), directed by C Courtney Joyner, carries Deth to an even further future than the one from which he originally came, and is a partial return to form. Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994), directed by David Nutter, takes place in a medieval alternate world called Orpheus and was shot back to back in Romania with Trancers 5: Sudden Death (1995), directed by David Nutter, which finishes the Sword-and-Sorcery story begun in the fourth film. These last two represent a sad falling off and are not really sf. All these sequels went straight to video. [PN]
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