Ok. Time to discuss this week's Sci-Fi Squad Movie Club assignment, Trancers (1985). If you watched it over the weekend or if you've seen it before (or if you just want to read a few opinions to see whether the film is worth your time), click through for this week's discussion post. Fair warning though: There Be Spoilers Ahead.
What's It About? Worn out from endless months of tracking down psychic madman Martin Whistler's (Michael Stefani) tranced mindslaves, futurecop Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) decides he's had enough. But before he can retire to a life filled with scuba dives through Lost Angeles, his boss pulls him in for One More Job: traveling to the 1980s to stop Whistler from killing the ancestors of their time's ruling leaders. And so, with the help of a plucky young punk named Leena (Helen Hunt), Trooper Deth heads once more into the fray.
What Did I Like? The blocky feel of the future, for one. The opening scenes, which were set in 2247, depicted the type of future that I really enjoy: one that is ugly and beaten down and based on current tech... but with just a splash of futuristic innovations. A great example of this is the shot of the diner shown above. Sure there's a lot of glowing lights and a flying vehicle, but there's also a ground-based car that looks like a refurbished clunker from our time. And inside the diner? Until Deth pulls out his laser pistol, it looks more or less like a run-down 50's diner.
I also dug Thomerson's weary performance as Jack Deth. For some reason, I expected Deth be a wisecracking fish-out-of-water detective. Instead, he's just a cop who has been completely and utterly beaten down by life. There's a real sense of resignation (and borderline depression) wafting off Deth throughout this movie, even during the film's lighter moments. Deth is compelled by a sense of revenge (and perhaps old-fashioned machismo) to track down Whistler and put things right, but you can tell that he's always just a few ticks away from throwing up his hands and walking away from the whole mess.
As a reluctant and dark hero, Thomerson excels. (I must confess, however I do not get his standup. At. All.).
Plus: Crazed Santa-on-Deth mayhem in a mall!
What Didn't I Like? Not much of anything. I suppose if I had to pick nits, it'd be the film's production values. There were a number of scenes where you could see stone walls or statues shake, I spotted a boom mic or two, and - as shown below - several of scenes in Helen Hunt's apartment were shot in a way that clearly shows they were filmed on a soundstage.
Anything Else? Speaking of Helen Hunt... was that a Confederate Flag jacket she was wearing?
Now... don't be a squid... tell me what you thought of Trancers in the comments below. I'm particularly interested in whether any of the sequels are worth watching.