Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Trancers III: Deth Lives

Full Moon Entertainment honcho Charles Band, who directed the first two entries, turned the TRANCERS franchise over to writer C. Courtney Joyner (CLASS OF 1999), who made his directorial debut on TRANCERS III. It sends future cop Jack Deth (Full Moon regular Tim Thomerson, also in DOLLMAN and BAD CHANNELS, among others) leaping into two new time periods, as well as 1992, where his marriage to Lena (MAD ABOUT YOU star Helen Hunt making a gracious cameo) is in a rough patch.

A super-strong android with a shark’s head, imaginatively named Shark (R.A. Mihailoff), arrives in 1992 Los Angeles to kidnap Deth, now a struggling private eye, and take him back to his old time period in the 24th century. He finds his other wife Alice (Megan Ward), lone surviving councilman Harris (Stephen Macht), and doctor Ruthie (Telma Hopkins) fighting—and losing—a bloody war against a new, more powerful breed of trancers. Harris then sends Jack back to 2005 to destroy the new trancers at their origin.

Andrew Robinson (DIRTY HARRY) is deliriously weird as Colonel Muthah, whose grotesque military experiments are transforming soldiers into trancers to do his bidding. Helping Deth defeat Muthah’s troops and destroy his organization are Shark and renegade trancer R.J. Garrett (Melanie Smith), who’s ready to rebel against her master Muthah.

Thomerson’s new brush cut and Joyner’s more fluid camera give TRANCERS III a healthy new look for producer Albert Band. Joyner’s screenplay develops its villain better than previous films did, and thankfully he has an actor in the role eager to run with it. The seductively loony Robinson is a great match for Thomerson’s tongue-in-cheek macho. Both have a way of making bad dialogue sound good, and their performances, as well as the cameos by other TRANCERS family members, are the film’s highlight.

1 comment:

Christopher Mills said...

I am a huge fan of the original TRANCERS and the character of Jack Deth as portrayed by Tim Thomerson. I first caught it on HBO around 1986 or so. I bought the VHS and introduced Deth and his world to several of my friends over the next decade or so.

For my money, only TRANCERS III is a worthy sequel, recapturing much of what made the first one special. I even liked the addition of Shark - it added to the comic book tone of the franchise. And you're right, Robinson was a great adversary for Thomerson.

Sadly, the series really takes a dive with the subsequent sequels, which manage to discard everything that worked in part III...

These posts are making me want to watch the first three movies again!