At first glance Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth looks to be an awesome sequel to a perfect low budget sci-fi hit. The original cast is reunited with a few additional B-movie superstars for good measure. Things pick up to include the six year gap between the films. Then of course there are some fun problems that arise from Deth’s decision to stay in the past and his wife from the future turns up.
So why is it that the end result feels like Band invited the cast up to his house for the weekend to shoot a quick flick that they wrote on the Friday night. The script is, annoyingly, amateur hour and the lack of charm does not help the movie gel together. The decent line up of familiar B-movie faces should have guaranteed a fun ride but the loose and awkward direction by Band just leaves things feeling janky.
The plot is perfectly adequate for this direct-to-video sequel. Whistler (the villain from the first movie) has a brother who zips back in time to create an army of Trancers out of the homeless communities and asylum patients. Deth must do battle once more, however, his wife from the future shows up and meets Deth’s love interest Leah, making things a little awkward.
Following on from the first two and a half films Tim Thomerson is back in the macho role of Deth, however, this time he is given some truly horrendous dialogue. Any extra money channelled into this, following the success of the first, had likely gone on the fantastic cast. Helen Hunt and Thelma Hopkins are back, joined by Megan Ward and B-movie legends Richard Lynch, Barbara Crampton and Jeffery Combs. I feel Lynch, Crampton and Combs don’t have enough time on screen as the cast is a little too packed. Art La Fleur’s character is fairly inconsequential but it was good to have him back for a smaller role. The biggest offence is Biff Manard, whomever is responsible for developing this character from the first movie deserves a flogging.
Initially the film shows potential with a fun battle with a fork lift truck, redoing an idea from the first film that involved Rudoph’s antlers. The watch gadget that slows time for the wear also makes a welcome return. Then of course there is the gorgeous red 1959 Corvette providing a little added eye candy.
The hardest part to get through is the middle as the story loses track and becomes a bit of an emotional drama at stages. You will be winching as Deth attempts to enter into a diplomatic conversation when his present wife catches him kissing his wife from the future. There are a couple of humourous moments, like Deth shoving a body on a stretcher into the two-seater convertible corvette, but not enough to keep the mind from wandering.
The third act is the big saving grace, and believe me, this is from desperately seeking something nice to say. It was pretty entertaining with some fireworks and action. There are a few decent effects along the way and Thomerson’s macho persona only really shines through during the last 20 minutes. However, Band isn’t great at putting action together and it’s all quite clunky but watchable.
This is one of the most annoying sequels to a cult classic and my disappointment bleeds through here. The stronger finale does leave me feeling a little positive about the film and encouraged me to continue onto the third entry. The middle lull of this film is desperately off-putting for a re-watch.
Marketing is crucial to these movies and Full Moon knew how to put together an eye catching poster for the walls of the video library. These posters are gorgeous and conjure incredible nostalgia for the months before the latest entry arrived in my local video shop. The film was, again, re-titled in France to Future Cop 2.
Trancers II had an 88 Films release on Blu ray, however, it’s getting harder to find. The original listing appears on Amazon here, however they have been out of stock for some time.