Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trancers II

TRANCERS II is the first of four direct-to-video TRANCERS sequels produced by Full Moon Entertainment. It’s set six years after the original film—fitting, since it was also produced six years after TRANCERS. It has a great exploitation cast, but it also gives them little to do, and Jackson Barr’s screenplay is a real mess. The first act is a geyser of exposition that overwhelms the viewer with information about the characters’ backstories and the machinations involved in 23rd century time travel (which is a lot more needlessly complicated than it was in Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo’s script for TRANCERS).

Dr. E.D. Wardo (Richard Lynch), the brother of the evil cult leader Whistler killed by future cop Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) in TRANCERS, is kidnapping homeless people and mental patients, bringing them back to his ecologically minded Green World clinic, and turning them into trancers to use in his army to take over the world. Deth’s old supervisor McNulty (Art LeFleur) comes “down the line” in the body of his 15-year-old ancestor (Alyson Croft) to give Jack his new assignment—and to warn him that Alice (Megan Ward, star of Band’s CRASH AND BURN), Jack’s late wife, will be joining him on this trancer hunt.

As you can imagine, Jack’s present wife Lena (Helen Hunt) isn’t too thrilled about Alice’s appearance, and recovering alcoholic ex-baseball star Hap Ashby (Bill Manard), whose descendent is 23rd century L.A.’s last surviving council member, has fallen off the wagon in fear of again becoming a target for trancers. Band’s penchant for casting pretty but stiff young actresses like Croft and Ward put a damper in their scenes with the more experienced Thomerson, but genre fans will enjoy seeing Barbara Crampton (FROM BEYOND), Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR), Martine Beswicke (DR. JEKYLL & SISTER HYDE), and John Davis Chandler (PHANTASM III), even if they aren’t used particularly well.

If you don’t mind the massive story holes (to be fair, the much better TRANCERS has some too, but they’re more easily overlooked), TRANCERS II is worth a look for the cast alone. Band bumped up the rating from a PG-13 to an R with several juicy squibs, and he stages the climax’s low-wattage pyrotechnics well enough. An early success for Full Moon, TRANCERS II inspired a second sequel a year later.

No comments: