Friday, September 30, 2011

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth

TRANCERS 5 was filmed in Bucharest at the same time as TRANCERS 4, so director David Nutter (ENTOURAGE) and the whole cast return to continue writer Peter David’s (OBLIVION) storyline.

Still trapped in the parallel world of Orpheus, Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) learns of the existence of a gem called the Tiamond, which will allow him to return home to 24th century Los Angeles. To get the Tiamond, however, he must venture into the Castle of Unrelenting Terror, where he faces vampires, zombies, gorgeous women, his own evil doppelganger (!), and Lord Caliban (Clabe Hartley), the trancer leader whom Deth destroyed (or so we thought) in TRANCERS 4.

Executive producer Charles Band’s Full Moon Entertainment pictures tended to fit into a tight formula, and TRANCERS 5 is no exceptions. Among the rules were that each film shoot as little original footage as possible. Take out opening and closing credits and flashbacks to TRANCERS 4, and TRANCERS 5 runs barely an hour. Nutter manages to squeeze a good amount of swordplay and adventure into the scant running time, though Band’s tiny budget doesn’t allow for anything too elaborate.

As usual, Thomerson is the best and maybe the only reason to watch this TRANCERS picture. During the nine years he portrayed Jack Deth, he created one of Full Moon’s most enduring heroes—as quick with a quip as he was with his fists.

Band underestimated the importance of Deth’s supporting players to the TRANCERS franchise, however. Not only do TRANCERS 4 and 5 sorely miss the colorful characters that surrounded Deth’s earlier adventures, such as Biff Manard’s laidback baseball pitcher Hap Ashby, Art LeFleur’s hardnosed cop McNulty, and, of course, Helen Hunt’s Lena, the last two sequels also cheaped out in their casting, using unfamiliar and less skilled players to bounce off Thomerson.

TRANCERS 5 was, basically, the last Jack Deth movie, possibly because of diminishing audience interest, but more likely due to Full Moon’s money problems. A TRANCERS 6 was released in 2002, written by TRANCERS III writer/director C. Courtney Joyner, but it’s an amateurish abomination and should be ignored (Tim Thomerson was not involved).


Brandon L. Summers said...

The spotlight review of Trancers 6 on IMDb gives it 10/10, and reads, "I was amazed. Of the Trancers films I've seen, this one's the best."

Your articles on the series are great.

Marty McKee said...

Looks like the TRANCERS 6 director has been writing for IMDb.

I mean it. Do not watch TRANCERS 6. Ever.