24th Nov2014

‘Trancers’ Blu-ray Review (88 Films)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani, Art LaFleur, Telma Hopkins, Richard Herd, Anne Seymour, Biff Manard, Miguel Fernandes | Written by Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo | Directed by Charles Band


It is fair to say that Charles Band makes some interesting movies, most of them B-movies with a cult charm.  As fans we love them for this very fact, whether it’s the brave move to just go for the fun instead of high quality drama, or sometimes and often more rarely actually being a surprisingly good movie.  88 Films are releasing one of these on Blu-ray in the form of Trancers, a movie that borrows a lot from Bladerunner but adds a time travelling concept that for its time was quite smart.

Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) was a Trancer hunter, until the day he decided to walk away from the job.  When Whistler (Michael Stefani) travels back in time though Deth finds himself pulled back into the job to defeat his old nemesis before he can take over the future.  With Whistler enslaving people and turning them into zombie like Trancers, Deth takes over the body of one of his own ancestors in a race against time to thwart Whistler’s plans.

Trancers is a strange combination of noir, eighties and futuristic styles and it actually makes for an interesting experience.  Thomerson plays his character like a Sam Spade style noir detective, and the pairing up of his character with a young Helen Hunt is an interesting but inspired choice.  With some questionable acting going on though there is a risk that Trancers could just become another one of those dodgy eighties sci-fi films that are easily forgettable, but Thomerson and Hunt work well together forming a team that is not only memorable but actually do a lot to make the film more entertaining than it deserves to be.

88 Films have released a Blu-ray that has not only shown the film some respect but also added some features that fans will love.  One of these is the commentary featuring Charles Band and Tim Thomerson which is like a coming together of two friends to watch one of their favourite movies.  It’s funny hearing them grumbling about if they can swear or not, and if they might offend listeners, but they do also offer interesting stories about the production of the movie.

Other features include everything you would expect from a Full Moon release, this also includes the Trancers City of Lost Angels Pulse Pounders episode that was believed to have been lost.  This is restored from video but work has gone into it to fully complete the work on it.  It works on a nice little continuation of the original movie before the sequels.  With interviews and a look at the making of Trancers there are plenty of special features to work your way through.

When looking at the quality of the film restoration itself, in some ways you can tell that Trancers was a movie that had lofty ambitions, but in such high quality the special effects do tend to suffer slightly.  Some of this should be forgiven of course as this is before the use of CGI.  I’d argue that it does stand up to the test of time though, especially for fans who are more forgiving of the lower budget sci-fi films that try to do something special.

Trancers is a film that had some good ideas, had an interesting concept of time travel and had characters that are most importantly memorable.  Sure it is one of those films that is very eighties (the shoulder pads are proof of that) and the actual Trancers are surprisingly not that present in the movie, but as a detective movie with a noir feel set in the eighties about future cops travelling back in time and taking over their ancestors bodies to take on their evil nemesis? It’s a cult hit.

****½  4.5/5

Trancers is available on Blu-ray, from 88 Films, now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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