Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Trancers 2
“You seem to forget that inside this teenage girl’s body is a 42 year old tough cop”
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs
Wow. Just wow.
I’m nearly rendered speechless by this. I hadn’t seen Trancers 2 before tonight, although I had to say that Trancers itself was simply superb. It’s probably far too good to go into the vault. So, knowing this and also being fully aware of Full Moon’s ability to completely ruin sequels by stripping them of everything that made the original good and adding cheapness, I was slightly very worried that this would be a festering pustule on the face of cinema. And that would have been a crying shame.
I’m happy to report, however, that they didn’t and not only is Trancers 2 as competent as the original, it’s also more fun, and I can’t believe it.
Trancers 2 picks up 6 years after the first film finished. Jack has rescued Hap (the council member’s ancestor), who has managed to reform from being a degenerate alky tramp, and is now a multi-squillionaire commodity broker. Which is just as well, because his new habit is “collecting fire trucks”.
The film features, obviously, Trooper Deth (Tim Thomerson) but also sees Helen Hunt return. Obviously, Hunt as Lena has one of the most thankless parts in the history of schlock, but it’s still nice to see her return. This time out, however, she faces romantic competition in the form of Deth’s dead wife. Alice was a Trancer Hunter, like Jack, but she was killed in action. She’s been sent back in time to retrieve Jack and stop the new Trancer infestation.
However, Jack has other plans. He’s married to Lena (they made it damned clear that Lena was his great grandmother or suchlike in the original, so yes, he is doing the nasty in the pasty) and living in Hap’s mansion. Life is pretty sweet for Jack really. Despite the fact that he obviously has no employment worth speaking of, he lives in a fucking mansion and drives a fucking corvette.
So, anyhow, his old boss McNulty (trapped in the body of a 15 year old girl) turns up and tells him that they’ve got some new future doohickey, and he’s got to use it to take Whistler’s brother back. Oh, and his wife is already back, but for reasons best known to the writers she’s conveniently trapped in an asylum owned by the evil hippy Trancer makers.
Jack busts her out, one thing leads to another and much carnage and comedy ensue.
This film is, frankly, hilarious and I think deliberately so. Jack is a ridiculously attired throwback to 30’s noir. He wears a laughable trench coat, has slicked back hair, never goes out without a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth, and has a great line in hard-boiled dialogue. He also gets some superb lines himself- my personal favourite, just after disposing of the most ridiculous bomb in history, is “God damn McNulty, next time someone passes you an exploding ham, I’m gonna grab the mustard!”
In fact, the script is full of hilarious dialogue such as this- another absolute belter is “How many crazy people do you know make $63 per week?”, or the simply classic “Alice alive? (pauses to look suitably confused) Again?”. This is a deliberately funny film. I personally think this is because it knows how fucking daft the whole premise is, so they go out of their way to accentuate the silliness of it- the main villain (Whistler’s brother) is hilariously called “Dr. E. D. Wardo”. Dr Eduardo, for fuck’s sake, and this touch is not alone in the film.
Also, and I love this, they bring back the most stupid Deus Ex Machina that I’ve ever seen. In the original, Jack was equipped with a magic watch that could extend 1 second to the length of 10 seconds. He’s got it again, and he uses it in every bit as stupid a way as they did in the first film. Basically, they paint themselves into a corner, where it’s clear Jack is fucked, but luckily he can break out his magic watch, stop time, get out of the shit and then kill the motherfuckers that put him in the shit. This time, however, they seem to forget how the Deus Ex Machina works- people drop things, and they fall to the floor in slow motion. You absolute fucking dickheads- it stops time, cretins, it doesn’t make cast members move more slowly.
The special effects are dramatically improved from the first film as well. The trancers themselves look significantly different and decayed, whereas in the original they looked sort of blue-ish. They did, however, keep the crappy “singe” effect, which still looks like some of the deaths in Flash Gordon. Which is also great.
Trancers 2 is a superb comedy that also manages to be a pretty effective little thriller. However, I’m not giving it 4 changs for 3 reasons. Firstly, it does drag a bit towards the end once it becomes an action film proper. Secondly, it suffers from a massive paradox problem. These things give me a Richter scale headache- but they send Jack’s ex back into the future. Now this wouldn’t matter, but they explicitly state that you have to travel back in time into the body of one of your ancestors. Jack’s wife is in the body of a teenage girl, and they send her back into the future before she squeezes out a sprog. Therefore she shouldn’t exist (etc etc etc). I hate paradoxes. Thirdly, and far more importantly, they go way over the top. Don’t get me wrong, Trooper Deth clearly wears his big pimping pants in this film, but there are several scenes where Helen Hunt catches him making out with his dead/ alive teenage wife. This is icky and a bit annoying. McNulty even asks if they have finished their soap opera yet. First time, sure, it’s hilarious, but second time, not so much.
Overall, would I recommend this film? Categorically yes. Not only do I thoroughly recommend it, but I suggest that anyone interested goes out and gets Trancers and this one and watches them back to back. (Frank). You won’t be disappointed. I personally can’t wait for Trancers 3, even though the drop in quality is bound to be enormous.
Anyway, where else are you going to see Tramp Baseball?
Until next time,
P.S. Sorry about the lack of photos, but the only one I could find on-line is the one in it, and due to my ongoing IT fuckups, it’s the only one I can get.