Sometimes Charles Band gets it right and in this particular case, it means Trancers released in 1984. Starring Tim Thomerson as lead character Jack Deth, a name both utterly ridiculous and yet icy cool, the man would play a cop from the future tasked with hunting down a fugitive in the past. Said villain is just not any man though, but Martin Whistler, a big bad who has designs on ruling and he attempts to do as such with the titular Trancers – people who are weak of will and controlled by Whistler through the use of his psychic powers. Suffice it to say, he ends up being no match for the man whose name is Deth.
If there is one thing that is immediately noticeable by the audience, it is that a bit of money was spent on the production. The special effects were decent and the sets quite good with an overall grittiness about it that is slightly reminiscent of Blade Runner. As for the story, it all boils down to a fairly standard cop drama, but factoring in all the futuristic elements and a bit of a love story with Helen Hunt, not to mention a touch of comedy and overall, the picture is well-worth the price of admission. If there is one complaint, it is that there was little of that aforementioned future represented on the big screen, though it was mentioned more than a few times. None of it sounds exactly new or outstanding as far as future-type concepts go, but it is interesting at the very least, especially the method of time travel that is used throughout the film.
Thomerson does a great job as Deth, slightly over the top perhaps, but riding a fine enough line that it never becomes unbearable. It is a little strange to see Hunt in the film, but everyone has to start somewhere. As for the rest of the cast, they did a fine job with nothing really to gripe at.
What many might find really surprising about the film is that it did well enough to generate five sequels, though obviously not all as good as this first picture. If in need of some good science-fiction, one could far worse than Trancers.
3.5 out of 5