Trancers (1985)

Article #1665 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-5-2005
Posting Date: 3-4-2006
Directed by Charles Band
Featuring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani

A detective from the future must go into the past to catch a cult leader who transforms his victims into murderous creatures called Trancers.

The John Stanley book describes the movie as a cross between BLADE RUNNER and THE TERMINATOR, and I think that’s as useful a description as any; it gives you a basic idea of the plot while capturing the derivative nature of the movie. In fact, the movie feels like a non-stop barrage of eighties cliches; even given the fact that I don’t have a working knowledge of eighties movies at this point, it still feels over-familiar. Yet, I must admit that I found this one rather enjoyable, despite the fact there’s a little voice whispering in my ear telling me that this is a serious lapse of taste. But it’s useful to remember that since I don’t have a working knowledge of genre movies from the eighties, I haven’t reached the point where the cliches on display have become actively annoying yet; I might well have felt differently about this one had I watched it much later in this series. The acting is certainly variable, but it is somehow appropriate to the movie, and the lead actress (Helen Hunt) would go on to a distinguished career. This is the first movie I’ve covered from Charles Band (who I’ve heard mentioned in passing, but rarely in glowing terms), and this is reputed to be one of his best movies. I now consider myself suitably prepared to deal with them as they show up.


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