Hot off the heels of the awesome 1986 sci-fi psuedo zombie flick, Trancers, comes it’s 1991 sequel Trancers II. This installment of Trancers is again directed Charles Band, who also wrote the story for both trancers movies so far. Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) has been living for 5 years in the old Los Angeles, living with Lena (Helen Hunt), cruising around being the hard ass tough guy that Jack Deth is. This time, Whistler’s brother has gone back to old California trying to kill off the relatives of future leaders again. Since Deth has been away from the future too long his body is in a calcified state, so in order to get him back on track, they decide to send his boss McNulty (played by career character actor Art LaFleur) to clue Deth into the happenings, and to get him back into the Trancer war.
After a quick confrontation with some new trancers, McNulty shows up to give Jack the lowdown on Whistler’s brother, and his plan to take out Hap Ashby, an ancestor of Angel City Council leader that Deth had to rescue in the first film. Whistler’s brother has gone into the past posing as Dr. E.D. Wardo (played by Richard Lynch) – the leader of an environmental cult. Wardo is using the cult as a front to build a trancer farm to send an army after Hap, in order to take over the future Angel City.
Confused yet? Yeah, well this next part will probably send you over the edge. From the future – a technician went back to the day before Jack Deth’s wife died, and sent her into the past to try and help Jack Deth thwart the plans of Wardo too. Her arrival alienates Lena from Jack, from there hilarity and puns ensue!
This movie picks up right where the first one left off and just like the first movie, most of the acting outside of Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt is pretty much shit. Most lines are delivered really awkwardly, and that’s somewhat surprising considered a few of the people in this movie went on to do other things. One stand out bad performance is the girl that plays McNulty. She’s supposed to be 15, and is trying to imitate a 40 year old actor – with variable success.
The action is a little hit or miss. Alice, one of the trancer hunters is such an awesome shot, she doesn’t even have to keep her eyes open when she fires the gun and hits her mark every time! It’s done in short, quick bursts. Unfortunately, because of how the action is constructed, it slows down the story a lot. The only real sustained action is in the last 15 minutes of the film and at that point it can’t change the plodding first half.
5 years sure make a difference in terms of special effects. The burning effect is pretty state of the art for 1991, and the makeup is pretty convincing. While the makeup from the first movie is basically non existent, this one plays up the zombie effect a little better with bulging veins and dark circles around the eyes.
Also, watch out for Jeffrey Combs, as Dr. Pyle, an accomplice to Waldo which means he’s getting in the way of Jack Deth. He does a hell of a job playing a creepy character – as usual, and unfortunately for him, you don’t usually last long after getting in the way of Jack Deth…
Unfortunately, this film just doesn’t live up to the fun of the first Trancers. While it’s entertaining, it doesn’t capture the same magic that the first film in the series had. I think they tried to do too much and it convoluted the plot and ultimately drug it down. They also lost a lot of the film noir elements that made that first film what it was.
Watch this space for updates on the other films in this series.
Check below the break for the trailer and some pics from TRANCERS II