The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Trancers (1985)

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This is one I've been meaning to do, probably almost as long as I've been doing the DTVC, and with it available on Netflix Watch Instantly, it's only been a matter of time. Our friend at Mr. Gable's Reality has looked at this one before, and has also looked at some of the other ones, so you can check that all out here. As an aside, I hyperlinked your cover photo for this, so I hope you're not upset.

Trancers has DTVC favorite Tim Thomerson as a police officer in 2247, whose mind is sent back in time to 1985 LA, in order to stop a criminal mastermind who is trying to whack the ancestors of the three oligarchical benevolent leaders of 2247, essentially vaporizing their entire lineage. The criminal has a scary, diabolical technique, where he turns weak-minded people into Trancers, virtual zombies who look like regular people until confronted by Thomerson, then they attack him and look more like zombies. It's a race against time, as Thomerson and Helen Hunt, the girl from 1985 he's befriended, try to protect the ancestors before the baddie can get them.

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76 minutes. That's right all you film makers who feel like you have to add filler to make your movie more substantial, Trancers clocks in at a cool 76 minutes, and it's probably more awesome than your 100 minute painfest. I'm just saying. Also, put the computer away-- or only use it when you have to, as opposed to using it as a crutch-- because this looked really nice, and in 1985, they weren't greenscreening and CGI'ing us to death. This was just a really fun low-budget sci-fi flick that has only gotten better over time.

Tim Thomerson was great, as always, but I think this might be the first one we've done where he was the main star. If anyone is awesome as the Film Noir style detective, especially with the voice for the cool detective narration, it's him. This will be his ninth film we've done, and of the other 8, only two, Gangland and Gale Force weren't Albert Pyun films, so it's usually as a Pyun mainstay that he finds himself on here. The Trancers films are as big a part of his legacy as his work with Pyun, so I'm glad I'm finally getting this first one reviewed.

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This is only the second Charles Band directed film we've done, the other being the Gary Busey flick, The Gingerdead Man. The bigger thing of course that he's known for is creating Full Moon Pictures, which is probably something that should get him a Hall of Fame induction, it's just we haven't even done that many of those films either. It's something I plan to rectify, especially since a lot of the Full Moon catalog is making its way onto Netflix Watch Instantly.

Helen Hunt is very hot in this, as she usually is. I wonder what Tim Thomerson thought when she won her Oscar, or even before that when she was on Mad About You, making $1 mill an episode the final season. Did he think "I had a love scene with her" or "I carried her over my shoulder while she wore a cute Santa's elf costume"? Maybe he didn't, but I thought that as I watched this film. He probably sat back during the Oscars with a glass of good scotch and a cigar, and thought "The kid made it. Good for her." That's why he's Tim Thomerson and I'm not.

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There's a great scene in a nightclub with a punk band singing "Jingle Bells", and it had me thinking. Recently a buddy posted a picture on Tumblr of Johnny Rotten with a crazy look on his face and the caption "Johnny Rotten just found out what kids today consider Punk." This movie really drove that home, because in 1985, punks were scary, and it took badasses like Tim Thomerson to deal with them. They didn't marry Ashley Simpson or Paris Hilton, they didn't have their A&R men get their songs featured on The Hills-- they probably didn't even have A&R men--, and they weren't very nice. Pop Punk should be an oxy moron, not a genre to describe Good Charlotte and Avril Lavigne.

What's 76 minutes and availability on Netflix Watch Instantly, right? Not a big deal, and the return is pure awesomeness. Get after this one if you haven't already, and get after it again if you haven't in awhile-- you won't regret it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090192/

11 comments:

  1. Nice Review. Big fan of Tim Thomerson. Will definitely check this out.

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  2. Ah, gotta love early Charles Band. Dungeonmaster is also entertaining.

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  3. Been wanting to watch this for years but kept holding off because all the DVDs are crap. It was filmed in widescreen and everything available is just a muddy VHS port. That goes for the four sequels too. Still, I can pick this up in a set with it's sister titles under the Future Cop name, which is what it's better known as over here.

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  4. One of the best films from Empire Pictures...that isn't saying much though!

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  5. Thanks for the plug! And no worries on taking anything from my blog. Especially Thomerson. Spread that guy around.

    Love, love, LOVE Trancers. I just picked up the 6th (and most painful) Trancers movie and plan to do a marathon soon. Should be pretty awesome. Haven't actually seen parts 3-6.

    And on Instant there's another Thomerson/Band movie called Zone Troopers. It came out the same year and it has a lot of the same cast/crew from Trancers. The story is pretty simple but its still pretty awesome. Especially when Art Le Fluer punches Hitler. That was GREAT!

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  6. Also, I see that Trancers II is on Instant as well. That was pretty awesome. JEFFREY COMBS & BARBARA CRAMPTON!

    Also, you really need to checkout Dollman. It is also on Instant. Thomerson plays the same kind of tough guy as Trancers...except he's like 9 inches tall. The scene where he leaps onto a moving car is the greatest thing ever.

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  7. I had a feeling this is one people would dig, because I know I liked it when I first saw it a long time ago. I didn't know though that the version on Netflix was the muddy VHS port. I wonder if that's all that's left.

    And no problem about the plug Mr. Gable. Funny you should mention Dollman, because I have that lined up as my next Albert Pyun flick.

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  8. I remember enjoying this one when I saw it many years ago, I wouldnt mind revisiting it. I seem to remember it having elements of Terminator worked into the plot. So many sequels followed this one!

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  9. I know, there's tons, all the way to 6. It's on Watch Instantly, so if you have that, that's an easy way to check it out. It is a lot of fun.

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  10. Wow I remember picking this one up years and years ago on a whim, thinking it was gonna be a "Bladerunner" wannabe. Don't remember much about it other than the name.

    Well time to rectify that. :)

    And I always remember Tim from "Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn" Check that one out if you haven't already. A blast of early 80s sci-fi wackiness also featuring "Bull" from "Night Court"!

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  11. I definitely will Roman, it sounds great, and you should check this out too, I think you'll enjoy it.

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