Tuesday, 13 January 2015


I love time travel, it's one of the coolest concepts we can use in fiction, from my favourite TV show Doctor Who to top dog films of the genre like Back to the Future or The Time Machine (1960). The idea of been able to visit a different time has great appeal for me. And after hearing so many great things about the Charles Band directed Empire Pictures 1985 time travel detective film Trancers I went in with high hopes.

And the film didn't disappoint!

So we start in the far future of 2247 where Jack Deth in pure noir style narrates to us about Trancers, victim's Martin Whistler, a powerful psychic who can use his powers to turn people into his own personal zombie slaves. Eventually Whistler escapes into the past using a special drug that allows him to take over the body of his ancestor, now he plans to kill off the government council of his own time by killing their respective ancestors. Jack Deth is sent back after him, taking over the body of his own ancestor Phil Deth and must protect the council's ancestors and stop Whistler.

Tim Thomerson plays the twin roles of Jack and Phil Deth, and though he only ever plays both with Jack's mind theres subtle parts of his performance that differentiate the two body’s. Jack is a tough gumshoe who has likely been drinking and smoking heavily for a long time, a long scar down his face implies that he has been through the wars so his body probably isn't in the best of conditions, but in the body of Phil he seems more active, both are the same age but Phil's body seems to be healthier and the performance shows this. I love the character, a dry detective from the future, armed with an ice cold stare and his wits, ready to kick ass and save the day.

And if you are wondering they do point out that his name sounds like Death in a couple humorous scenes.

Supporting cast is fab too, Helen Hunt plays a 1980's punk rocker with blue hair who helps Deth when he comes to the past, while Michael Stefani who plays Whistler and his ancestor makes for an enjoyable villain who has the upper hand for most the film. But my favourite supporting character has to be McNulty, Deth's boss from the future, a gruff police chief who seems to both like and hate Deth at the same time, played by Art LaFleur in the future he is sent back at one point to deliver a message to Deth, it is one of the best scenes of the film with McNulty stuck in the body of the only ancestor they could find in the city, a nine year old girl, and young actress Alyson Croft is perfect, you really believe she is the same character as LaFleur.

Deth is given a few items to go back with him and the coolest is the Long Second Watch, allowing him to slow down time, giving him ten seconds while the rest of the world only has one (dialog says ten seconds but in the film it seems like he has longer, though the scene is in slow motion so it's hard to tell). The Long Second is a great scene and effects wise is good as he passes slow moving bullets been fired at him.

If I had anything bad to say about the film it is that the time travel is a little confusing and paradox full if you try to think about it, but I can let that slide and just imagine some future technology is at play. It's a small gripe you could have with the film but don't let it stop you enjoying what is a wonderfully fun film.

Oh, this is also a Christmas film, it's set in December and there is a mall Santa, Christmas trees and decorations. If we can call Die Hard a Christmas film, we can call Trancers a Christmas film!

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