When a 23rd century crime fighter heats it up in L.A., today. Or about twenty-eight years ago. Hard to believe Full Moon Pictures has been around that long, and Trancers, this sci-fi cult classic was one of the very first. It stars surfer dude Tim Thomerson as Jack Deth, a cop that can travel through time to bag his perp. This was was also one of the first movies for Helen Hunt. She is cast as a part-time Xmas mall elf by day, blue-haired punker by night, but the meeting of this unlikely duo is going to change the course of time, at least in L.A.
How did this all happen and how did it come to be in 1985? Well, you find out the history of Full Moon Pictures on your own, but do know that this was a direct to video movie, hence the lower budget. This was also one of the first movies produced that used this marketing technique, therefore creating major change in film advertising. This was also the first major leading role for Helen Hunt, and we all know the story of that.
Now, how did this all come to be. In the year 2247, a technology has been established that will allow people to go “down the line”, that is, transfer their consciousness into the body of an ancestor from before. In this case, terrorist Martin Whistler (Michael Stefani) has gone down the line to escape capture, and has come back to 1985 in the body of his ancestor, Police Dective Weisling. Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson), a dark brooding guy with a questionable past, has been sent after him, and ends up in the body of his ancestor, surfer dude, Phil Deth. Jack wakes up with Leena (Helen Hunt) next to him, and it is apparent that Phil and this young blonde had a good time the night before, but as cute she is, he can’t dwell on this because he needs to find Whistler.
Whistler not only came to the past to escape capture, he’s building an army of zombie-like people through his ruthless thought control talent to stop anyone whom gets in the way of his goal of offing the ancestors of L.A. 2247 City Council. So, not only does he have to deal with Leena, Whistler, and Whistler’s Trancers, he also has to protect an down and out ball player that is living on skid row, Hap Ashby (Biff Manard), who is to create the line a city council member will descend from “up the line”.
This job could have been done rather easily if it were not for the title creatures, the Trancers. It seems like they show up everywhere, and anyone Jack makes an alliance with becomes their next target. Whistler even makes some of the ancestors of the city council members into Trancers, doubly ensuring his efforts to make sure they don’t exist. There are fun little escapes from the brooding story as Jack has to deal with Leena’s wild life-style, and having his handler McNulty (Art LaFleur) pop in from time to time to check up on him. McNulty’s 1985 ancestor is a six-year old girl, and Jack, with all his seriousness, still has trouble taking criticism from this kid, even though she’s not a kid.
This movie set up a franchise line that would create five more sequels. Not bad for a movie that had a budget of $400,000. It’s sort of old, and very big 80s dated, just like Helen’s other movie from the time, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, but it’s worth another look, maybe more than one.
I give this film a Musing review of