What’s cooler than a doll-sized man shooting bad guys? A man from the future who can stop time and hunt shapeshifters in Charles Band’s Trancers.
(USA 1984, director: Charles Band)
Cop/Bounty hunter Jack Deth is on the trail of the dangerous Whistler who can turn people into zombies with his hypnotic powers, something which is made even worse when he lands in the 80ies and sees important ancestors of the future being killed one by one.
The look and sound of the movie at first seems to come straight out of Blade Runner. The time travel theme to save someone in the past who’ll become important in the future is also highly reminiscent of Terminator, while possessing another body is an interesting twist but also nothing really that original. So it all feels a bit like a cheap rip-off, but with more violence and less subtlety, encapsulating that 80ies what-the-hell punk attitude.
It’s full of memorable lines like “I’m from another time, another world. I don’t even know what you people eat for lunch.” and also has some see-it-to-believe-it craziness, like a fight with a Santa Claus or the great use of a device that can stop time. The make-up of humans turned into monsters isn’t the best, acting is sometimes worse than the clothes, while plot and character development are as shallow as they can be.
Despite all these obvious flaws, or maybe because of them, this is a nostalgic and entertaining trip back to the 80ies, with Helen Hunt in one of her first roles as a weird bonus. The special effects might not have aged that well, and the trash factor is pretty high to prevent it to become as well-known as other sci-fi classics. But simply said, it’s a no-brainer that (from today’s perspective) strangely spawned a number of sequels which will hopefully see the light of day on BD as well.
This HD release is a great example of what 88 Films can do with certain source material. Even if sound isn’t the best, the picture looks quite good, considering its age. But what’s really cool is the wealth of bonus features, e.g. various documentaries, the short movie Trancers: City of Lost Angels, and many promos plus trailers, in addition to the reversible cover artwork. All in all, another awesome collector’s item.
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