Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

07 January 2008

Trancers, dir. Charles Band (1985)

NIKKI says:
"I'm from another time, another world. I don't even know what you people eat for lunch!"

Cheap wine 'til 2am means our movie a day had to be short and fun. The slightest minute-drag and I would have been out. I actually chose Silver Bullet -- I haven't watched that one in a while, and it's jolty and scary enough to keep me awake. But then Trancers caught my eye, and I went with that. Its 80-minute running time, I must say, made it an easy choice.

"Dry hair's for squids!"

How great is Trancers? It's got everything you could ever want in a futuristic sci-fi noir picture -- scares, laughs, a suave hero, a stare-y-eyed bad guy, and frothy-mouthed zombie-like things. So Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) has to go back in time to 1985, when mohawks were in and neon was the favoured home wall decoration, to knock off Whistler, a guy who uses his evil stare to turn unsuspecting citizens into Trancers. Trancers are killing machines under Whistler's command, and they include everyone he can get his hands on from diner waitresses to store Santa Clauses. Jack Deth, being so awesome, kicks all their asses, and sends them, in a shock of orange light, to Trancer hell!

"Welcome to the 20th century, Jack Deth!"

Meanwhile, Jack gets to fall in love with Leena, played by Helen Hunt. There's lots of kissing scenes in the movie, which freaked me out a little because I felt like Lynne Stone was getting it on with someone's dad. I realise their 17-year age gap isn't particularly unheard of in Hollywood, but Tim's well-worn face and barrel-chest made me want to see him with Brooke Adams or Kathleen Turner ... someone a little close to his age. Still, Helen Hunt's "turn" here is completely bizarre in light of her future achievements. I like to think she has the poster on her wall.

So, my first pick of the year was awesome cheesy fun. Just what we needed. I give Trancers an enthusiastic 3 out of 5.

Trancers is really nothing more than a rip-off of Blade Runner and The Terminator. It offers nothing new in either the sci-fi or neo-noir departments; it's got some lame-ass special effects, a cheesy synth soundtrack, boom mics dipping into frame, and a plot that - if scrutinized at all - simply does not hold up.

Why then do I love this film so fucking much?

Can't begin to tell you. Maybe it's because of all these flaws that Trancers is such a cool flick. It knows it's a b-grade pic, and isn't afraid to fly that flag.

As Jack Deth, Tim Thomerson is playing yet another variation on the 40s noir detective, but that has less to do with trying to copy Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard from Blade Runner than simply channeling the hard-ass detectives from the noir films of the 40s and 50s. Thomerson has played this type of character before (check out Fade to Black), and would play it again (Dollman). He clearly loves this archetype, and it shows.

I'm giving Trancers a 3 out of 5.

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