Entrancing Time Travel Films (#SFWApro)

k2-_5e33fb11-bfdd-450d-8c0f-7c122a4a1880.v1The Trancers series was one of the most successful produced by Charles Band’s direct-to-video company (I think the Puppet Master movies included more sequels) and at least for the first three films, one of the best (cover image rights remain with current holder)

TRANCERS (1984) introduces us to Tim Thomerson’s Jack Deth, a hard-bitten 24th century cop (most reference materials say 23rd century, but Trancers III disagrees) hunting down Trancers—mind-controlled berserkers—to settle the score for a Trancer killing his wife. When the Trancer-master Whistler transports his mind back to the 20th century to wipe out the ancestors of the leaders of the 24th (this doesn’t erase history, the leaders just disintegrate), Deth follows by leaping into his own ancestor’s body and hunting Whistler with the help of his ancestor’s girlfriend, Helen Hunt. With a script by Danny Bilson and Paul DiMaio, this is a pleasure to rewatch; Telma Hopkins plays a scientist (who shows up in the next three films) and Biff Manard is one of the murder targets (he would go on to play a copy in the Bilson/DiMaio Flash series of 25 years past) “You said making love to me was like the ethereal union of two lost souls.”

TRANCERS II (1990) has Whistler’s brother (Richard Lynch) launching a plot to finish wiping out the ancestors or alternatively take over the 20th century with a Trancer army. Stopping him becomes complicated for Deth because it turns out his murdered wife’s mind went back in time before her body was destroyed, so now he has to cope with her (Megan Ward) and Lena (Helen Hunt) both considering themselves the real Mrs. Deth. A fun sequel. “The day you don’t surprise me is the day I’ll be surprised.”

TRANCERS III (1993) holds up much better than I remembered, as a new Trancer attack in the future forces Stephen Macht (“I am the council now.”) and Megan Ward to send Jack back in time to stop the creation of Skynet—er, no, but you get the idea, I’m sure. This looks like the point at which they started thinking “series” as the ending set-up has Jack and a new partner working as time-traveling cops for the future Council, Helen Hunt gone and Megan Ward poised to pick up their romance again. That makes it odder Trancers IV (which I’ll be watching soon) went in a very different direction.  “Private Shock will give me her—oral impressions—of the incident.”

Moving to a less-than-entrancing film, ANOTHER DAY (2001) is a deadly dull movie in which Shannon Doherty loses the father of her child to a fire, refuses to start her life over again with Best Friend Who Wishes He Were More Julian McMahon, then gets a chance to live the last few days before her boyfriend’s death and so learns the valuable life lesson that You Can’t Let Tragedy Stop You From Rebuilding Your Life. ”I couldn’t give a damn what I’d miss if I died—it’s what I’d miss if I lived I worry about.”

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Entrancing Time Travel Films (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: More corridors, more time-travel (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Arthurians, Time Cops and Time Chasers: Most of This Week’s Time-Travel Movies (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Love across time, time warriors and other time-travel films (and TV) (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: And the non-time travel films (#SFWApro | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  5. Pingback: Once again, time travel via television (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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