Movies and Film

Out of His Element – Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)

After three successful movies, the carpet was finally pulled out and underneath was Trancers 4: Jack of Swords, the first dud of the series, a film that just went off the rails and turned into a bad episode of Xena.

Gone is the familiar formula that worked for the franchise up until this point and missing is any sort of quality it seems, the film instead divesting itself of most of its science-fiction roots to go the fantasy route and to say that it did not work is putting it lightly. Despite being written by author and comic scribe extraordinaire Peter David, the film would turn out to be one of the worst films ever made and there are a lot of bad films that one could compare it to. The acting was awful, the story fairly terrible and the dialogue not much better except when it came to those uttered by Jack Deth. The special effects were passable and to be fair, some of the sets looked great for a fantasy setting, but so much of the film was cheesy and simply not all that good, that it was painful to sit through.

The only thing that made this palatable in any way at all was Tim Thomerson who would return as Deth, the hero of the franchise once again, cursing more than the previous three movies combined it seemed. There would be a couple of standout scenes where people would call the man Jack Shit instead of Deth, adding a bit of comedy to it all, but trading in the film’s more traditional sci-fi aspects for a fantasy backdrop hurt the film more than helped. While it was understandable that Full Moon was looking to save a little money with recycling sets and whatnot, namely from Subspecies, this movie was a big misstep from the studio and one that did not do the franchise justice. If one were to take it on its own, it could very well be better than it seems, but following the first three Trancers films definitely shows the weaknesses present within.

1.5 ouf of 5

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