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.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trancers II (1991)

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This movie has been long overdue, considering I did Trancers over six months ago. I should've had them all reviewed by now, forget just being on part 2. But we can't go back and fix it-- actually we can, I can just mess with the dates of the posts and make it look like I did them months ago, but I'd never do that--, so I'll just do my best to get them done as quickly as possible from here on in. If you can't wait for me, though, and I don't blame you, Mr. Gable at Mr. Gable's Reality has looked at the others, so you can see what he has to say.

Trancers II takes place six years after part 1 left off. Jack Deth (DTVC favorite Tim Thomerson) is settling down with Helen Hunt, living in Hap Ashby's mansion. Turns out Winslow has a brother though, played by none other than Richard Lynch, and has as one of his top hatchetmen none other than Jeffrey Combs dressed like he was just released from a parallelogram hurling through space. So back in the future, McNulty is sent back in time to give Deth the word-- this time his ancestor is a 15-year-old girl-- and hopefully find Deth's wife from back in the future too, who was also sent back to the past, and is in the extremely hot body of Megan Ward. Will Jack Deth prevail again?

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Though this wasn't the 76-minute awesomefest the first one was, it was still pretty good. It had some great one-liners, some great action, and some great performances from the entire cast, which as you could see from the synopsis, was rather prodigious. It wasn't the total 80s sci-fi tongue-in-cheek Film Noir actioner that made the first one so great, and instead it had a tendency to dwell too much on a pretty heavy duty plot that weighed things down at times, but overall, it was a fun time, and worth checking out.

Tim Thomerson is back as Jack Deth, probably his most notable role, and while he didn't have as great of material to work with here as he did in part 1, it was still pretty sweet, and he delivered. He also had to love that he got to make out with both Helen Hunt and Megan Ward. One thing that's never really been discussed before, are Thomerson's numbers for a potential Hall of Fame induction. In an actor, the two things the panel usually looks for are a big DTV resume, and one memorable role; and Thomerson has both of those. Not to mention, the fact that his birthday is only seven days after mine helps his cause: all good people are Aries.

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Not an Aries, but someone who celebrated her 42nd birthday only three days ago as of this posting, is Megan Ward. She is really hot, and Charles Band understood that, because he had no shortages of close-ups on her face throughout the movie. Usually, if you're Tim Thomserson, or really, if you're any guy, you're thinking Helen Hunt as my wife, I'll take that. But then Megan Ward comes along and throws herself at you too. Not only that, but she's also your wife. I don't know how I'd feel at 45, if I were married, if my wife left and came back in the body of a 22-year-old Megan Ward. I think I'd feel kind of guilty, because I'm still 45, with saggy pecs and a spare tire around my waist. I guess if you're as awesome as Tim Thomerson, though, you're not worried about it.

Let's round out the rest of this cast. Richard Lynch, as we already know, is a first-rate baddie, and nothing changes here. I'm not going to give away his death scene, but for me, it's second only to the rocket launcher blast he took in Invasion USA for his best death ever. Jeffrey Combs could've had a bigger role, because he didn't have much to do, which for me was a disappointment. He also wasn't playing a crazy guy. He had slicked back hair and a goatee, which, when combined with his black turtleneck and black coat, made him look like he was one of Zod's gang. "Kneel before Combs!" I'd have liked to see Thomerson deal with Combs shooting red lasers out of his eyes. From the last movie, we also had Telma Hopkins, who you may remember from Family Matters, and veteran character actor Art LaFleur. Finally, in a one scene cameo, Barbara Crampton played a TV talk show host interviewing Lynch. One more I want to mention too was Alyson Croft, who reprised her role from first film as Art LaFleur's ancestor, now a 15-year-old. She was great, smoking cigars and making hard-assed detective comments, eliciting "Damn it McNulty!"s from Thomerson. That whole dynamic was one of my favorite parts of the film.

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Also reprising his role is Biff Manard, back as Hap Ashby. He wears a lot of Angels gear, which back then would've been the California Angels, but now are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and in between, they were the Anaheim Angels. In 2009, I was out in LA, and a buddy and I took the commuter rail from Union Station (which also appears in Trancers II) over to Anaheim to see the Angels play my Boston Red Sox. Very cool experience, and I recommend anyone who's visiting LA, baseball fan or not, to go check out a game there if you're in town during baseball season. The ballpark is right at the train station, so it's really convenient. (As an aside, my Sox lost that game.)

Maybe not as amazing as its predecessor, this still delivers and is well worth it. It's currently on Watch Instantly, but as I've been saying lately, the quality of Netflix's service has left something to be desired, and who knows how long after this posting that it'll still be on Watch Instantly (within days of my Dance of the Dead post, Netflix put up a note saying it'll be gone on October 1st.) For a more sure bet, look for this on DVD or used VHS. Either will do.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103116/

13 comments:

  1. Yeah for me Trancers 2 was a bit of jarring step down from Trancers 1. I don't know, the film seemed cheaper and the performances and story unfocused.

    I think a lot of credit for the first one's success has to go to Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo's witty script. That and Thomerson's laconic performance.

    There were a couple of good bits in this film though - isn't there a bit where they all sit there watch a trailer for Crash and Burn on TV.

    Trancers 3 is definitely a step up from this one.

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  2. There's a lot to love about Trancers 2 (Ham-bomb/Freedom Tractor) but like Jack said its still a step down from the rest of them. Tim ups his game in the rest of the movies. Part 3 is AMAZING.

    ALSO: Available October 18th, the Trancers boxset. (Which looks like the same one Full Moon is currently selling with just the first 5)

    http://www.amazon.com/Trancers-Ultimate-Collection-Tim-Thomerson/dp/B005B0QYTU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317212086&sr=8-2

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  3. Oh yeah, the Crash and Burn trailer was hilarious. I also loved the ham bomb "McNulty, next time your holding a ham with a bomb stuffed in it, I'm going to pass the mustard!"

    I agree with you both that this was a step down, and though I think I lean more toward Mr. Gable, I agree with what Jack is saying too. I'm excited though that both of you gave Part three such a huge endorsement.

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  4. I think I'm harsh on Trancers 2 only because I think Trancers 1 is such a perfect b-movie.

    I think Trancers 1 & 2 just highlight the gulf of quality between 80s b-movies and 90s b-movies. There's just something a bit more fun about the earlier film (the performances had more energy and the script was tighter). It looked more cinematic too whereas this looks a little like it's shot on video at times.

    That said, I enjoy all the Trancers flicks purely on the strength of Thomerson's performance. His earlier career as stand-up means he kills every one liner.

    Part 3's a definite step in the right direction. Part 4 and 5, they messed up by splitting the story over two movies and adding a lot of padding. Woah, and Part 6... yeah, let's just not talk about that one.

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  5. Great review! Have to start watching the Trancer sequels.

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  6. I didn't even know there were sequels! Awesome!

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  7. I'm with you Jack, part 1 was a much better movie, and I can see where you'd hold this one to that standard. As you can see Ty, I'm just starting the sequels as well, and it sounds like part 3 will be a sweet one. And yes, Dr. Blackseed, not only are there sequels, but it goes 6 deep.

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  8. As far as i'm concerned, all the Trancers movies are worth seeing. All of them. 1-5 of course, not the one that doesn't have Tim Thomerson that one was just ridiculous and boring.

    My favorite one is the first (a rare 4 star rating from me, when I review it) but 2 has a lot of great ideas and so does 3. The alternate dimensions were fun but they just weren't in the same vein. As for Trancers 6, that's like making Death Wish without Bronson.

    Speaking of which, you never did review any of the movies I sent you.

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  9. I did review three of the five you sent me, I still have the two Death Wish films, and I was hoping to get parts 1 and 2 first before I hit those. You can ask Simon at Explosive Action how long it takes me sometimes to get to all the movies I'm sent. Plus, you were MIA for a while, so I wasn't even sure you'd have seen them if I reviewed them.

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  10. Looks great. I've never seen the sequel. Maybe I'll look it up.

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  11. The worst part of this, is that yours truly doesn't even remember what titles I sent outside of the Expert and Death Wish 4 and 5. What a complete ass, I am, because I then have the balls to then call you out on not reviewing such. You know what, i'm just a jerk.

    Also, you seem quite upset in your tone of reviews and comments. I'm guessing that Patriots loss really ticked you off. What makes it worse is now everybody is so happy Buffalo did it. As for my team being 3-0, I don't how to take it. It's weird to have a good football team.

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  12. Full Contact and Rescue Me were the other two. Do I seem persnickety? I don't mean to, but that Pats loss buttressed by the Sox choke did sting. At least the Bruins start soon. And I'm glad the Lions have started out so well, and the Pats and Lions don't play each other this season, so I can root for them too with no conflict of interest. Detroit > Boston... for the moment...

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