Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trancers (1985)

A long time ago I watched this movie and thought it was a weak wannabe of Terminator. But a review of the film over at Direct to Video Connoisseur inspired me to revisit it. Besides it has Helen Hunt in it, how bad could it be?

Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is a police officer in the distant future. He is hunting down the dangerous Martin Whistler (Michael Stefani), a criminal with the power to turn weak willed people into drooling zombie-like slaves called Trancers! Whistler has just hurtled into the year 1984 to kill the ancestors of the great council – the only body powerful enough to stop him. But Deth isn’t going to take this lying down, he travels back in time to hunt the bastard. What follows has to be seen to be believed: Helen Hunt dressed as a Mall elf, a punk rocker singing Jingle Bells, a Trancer Santa Claus, assault by tanning booth, and a few film noir style quips courtesy of Mr. Deth. Let the holiday season begin!

Good Points:
  • Thomerson and Hunt are excellent in the parts
  • Moves along at a great pace
  • Balances humor with action to make an entertaining movie

Bad Points:
  • Low budget issues
  • Very very 80s
  • Owes a lot to Terminator and Blade Runner

Want an example of what a fun low budget sci-fi movie should be, then stop watching the SyFy channel and give Trancers a shot. Yeah the story isn’t too original, but the cast, the dialogue and the spirit of fun makes this a great movie for a Friday night. Throw in the oh so’80s atmosphere and you’ve got a movie that suits me just fine. All the Christmas decorations and the scene with the trancer-afied mall Santa make it perfect for holiday viewing. If you have Netflix download – it’s currently available there. Check it out.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 3
Sound: 3
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 5
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. Ha, yeah, I saw this one not too long ago on YT. It is low budget though they did a lot with it, & had some humor in it, which helped. I was surprised to see Helen Hunt play in it. I thought perhaps that might have been her first acting role, but no, she'd been acting since she was a young child. Trancers is pretty much a movie of the 80's, and I remember always seeing the cover at Blockbuster or some other mom and pop store, wonder what it was about. Actually Leonard Maltin gave it decent reviews in his year end guide book. Never have seen the sequels, but read they're not as good.

    1. Yeah I had a lot of fun with this one. Watched it again last year around Christmas time and it was still fun. I've never seen the sequels, but this was one of those "VHS classics" from back in the day that actually held up really well. Glad you enjoyed it.