In the early 1990s, my Friday and Saturday nights were spent at home watching movie after movie of whatever I could find in my local video store. I would first scour the shelves for the newest horror, sci-fi, or action flicks and then move on to older or lesser known titles. Thus, my love affair with Full Moon Features and straight-to-video fare began.
I would literally scoop up anything with a Full Moon logo on it and spend hours in the dark of my living room devouring “Subspecies,” “Puppet Master,” “Demonic Toys,” “Robot Jox,” and anything else I could get my hands on. The “Trancers” movies were among those B-movie gems I would pick up.
Full Moon Entertainment recently released “Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” on Blu-ray for those of us wanting to relive the dawn of the straight-to-video age and hopefully introduce these priceless films to a whole new generation. Let’s face it. Without Charles Band and Full Moon Features, there wouldn’t be the Asylum, SyFy Channel, Anchor Bay, or any other independent genre companies giving us “Sharknado,” “Mega Piranha,” and “Metal Shifters.”
Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is an Angel City trooper sent back in time to the Los Angeles of 1985. He is assigned to inhabit the body of his ancestor in order to find his arch-enemy, Whistler (Michael Stefani), who turns people into zombies. Deth must stop him before is able to kill all the ancestors of the members of the future governing council.
“Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” is a perfect example of everything Full Moon and Charles Band was creating in the early and mid-1980s. It’s obvious they saw blockbuster films and wanted to make their own low-budget versions of them for genre fans to enjoy. After all, once you saw “Blade Runner,” “The Terminator,” and “Total Recall,” where could you get more of those types of entertainment to enjoy? Band and his army of filmmakers filled that niche perfectly.
You don’t get any more 1980s than “Trancers.” As the director and producer of the movie, Charles Band injected it with as much noir flavor as he could wring out of “Blade Runner” without being sued for plagiarism. You’ve got the long trench coats with the added flare of shoulder pads. Couple that with weird bolos, shirt collars, and ties and you have a futuristic beat cop ready to take down any zombie or android he comes up against in the past.
Let’s not forget Helen Hunt’s crazy puffed-up hair and her fixation with punk rock. Just like Kyle Reese in James Cameron’s “The Terminator,” Jack Deth somehow makes his way into a nightclub to enjoy some tunes from a bygone era as he pursues his murderous target. Like they say, “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
Although “Trancers” has been remastered in high-definition, the video quality is far from perfect. The picture is still better than it’s ever looked before, but contains some pops and scratches here and there. It’s about the best you could expect from a B-movie which was probably not always stored under the best of conditions. It’s presented with 5.1 stereo surround which will give viewers a more immersive experience when it comes to all the laser fire and environmental sounds you expect from a sci-fi flick.
The bonus material for “Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” will make collectors happy. Audio commentary is provided by Actor Tim Thomerson and Director / Producer Charles Band. Daniel Griffith’s “Trancers” featurette and a rare interview with Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, and Megan Ward are included. The complete “Trancers: City of Lost Angels” segment from the anthology film “Pulsepounders” is found as well. It doesn’t appear to have been cleaned up or remastered at all. A rare still gallery rounds out the special features.
“Trancers: The Ultimate Edition” is unrated, but would be worthy of a PG-13 if put before the MPAA. There are some adult situations with no nudity. The language and violence is what you would expect from any genre movie these days.
All in all, enthusiasts of 1980s B-movies will love "Trancers: The Ultimate Edition." The film is filled with fun practical effects, film noir overtones, and plenty of action for everyone to enjoy. Even with a less than spectacular video transfer, it’s an essential item for any sci-fi devotee’s home entertainment library.
"Trancers: The Ultimate Edition" is available for order now on Blu-ray.
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