Trancers 1984 Movie Scene Tim Thomerson as Jack Deth holding a laser pistol to a suspected trancer

Trancers [1984]

Ahhh, the good old eighties, they never cease to amaze me. Trancers is another example of a highly entertaining blend of action and science fiction that comes from that decade. This is a rather small movie that quickly gained a cult following. And that following brought on no less than five sequels of variable quality. However, all of them are charming and, excluding the last one, star Tim Thomerson as Jack Deth. Yup, you read it right, the main character in this movie is called Jack Deth. Apart from him, we will also get to chance to see very young but nonetheless talented Helen Hunt.

I like so many things about Trancers. First of all, it’s not pretentious and it doesn’t take itself very seriously. I mean, it opens with one of the more hilarious scenes in a diner I have ever seen. A scene that has been a source of inspiration for many movies in the future. The storytelling is tight and you always know what’s going on despite the zany nature of the main plot. I mean, who are the Trancers, and why do they start turning into half-zombies when they’re discovered? The movie is also not afraid to take detours that don’t progress the story, something that so many other movies, big and small fail to do.

Some movies stick so close to this element that basically every scene must serve a purpose to develop a character or move the story forward. And life doesn’t work that way nor do our brains or storytelling. You need to have something odd, some coincidence, something that shouldn’t have happened but it did. And finally, Trancers has some of the best dialogue I have ever seen in any of the low-budget B movies. It’s both funny and intelligent, and I freaking loved it! However, none of that will matter when you see Jack Deth’s huge eighties-style shoulder pads. You can practically smell the cigarette smoke, cocaine, and vinyl through the screen!

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! The year is 2247 and the world has changed significantly. What didn’t change was the need for tough but fair cops and Jack Deth is one of them. He’s looking for Trancers, weak-willed individuals under the control of the evil Whistler. After casually zapping one in a local diner, Jack has had enough and quits the police force. However, his former boss has one last mission for him because the future of their city and the world is at stake. And there’s only one man who can help them.

As you can see, the plot isn’t the most original one. You’ve got a bit of The Terminator and a smidgen of Blade Runner all wrapped up in an entertaining package. Tim Thomerson injected a healthy dose of machismo into the atmosphere but he didn’t cross the line and you can watch this movie almost forty years later without any complaints in that department. He plays a similar type of character in Albert Pyun’s Dollman.

With a runtime of just over 75 minutes and breakneck pacing, Trancers will be over before you know it. This makes it perfect for those nights when you don’t know what movie to watch but you know you want to be entertained. And if you’re feeling nostalgic about the eighties, this will feel just right. Even the special effects are so damn quaint and charming that they will woo you instantly. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Trancers I recommend you start with Hell Comes To Frogtown, Spacehunter, and Cherry 2000.

Director: Charles Band

Writers: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo

Cast: Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani, Art LaFleur, Biff Manard, Telma Hopkins

Fun Facts: Jack Deth’s car is a 1955 Mercury Montclair. It was heavily modified by Gene Winfield who also worked on Blade Runner.


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