Monday 6 August 2012

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)

Following on immediately from the events of the last movie, and they were (unsurprisingly) filmed back to back, Trancers 5: Sudden Deth sees Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) still stuck in an olde worlde time and place and still stuck with a bit of a trancer problem to deal with, as well as figuring out just how to get back to when and where he really belongs.

Everyone is back from the previous movie, including director David Nutter and writer Peter David, and it's not easy to see that the two movies together would have made for a decent, if slightly overlong, feature. This one barely qualifies as a feature, surely, with the runtime being about 72 minutes including a summary of the previous movie that runs for about 5 minutes. Oh well, at least it doesn't outstay its welcome.

It's the weakest of the lot, which is also something quite unsurprising by this stage in the franchise, but I can't say that I wasn't still kept entertained for the most part. Every gruff line uttered by Thomerson usually raises a smile and the adulation that his character receives is enjoyably comedic in its excess.

The cast once again includes Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Terri Ivens, Clabe Hartley, Mark Arnold and Alan Oppenheimer and, once again, they prove to be a mixed bag, making up for in enthusiasm and energy what they lack in actual acting skills. Hartley is the best of the lot, mainly because he's a fun villain, but he's sorely underused here and the film decides instead to follow Jack Deth as he goes on a quest to find the means to go home. This means that it's just not as much fun as any of the previous movies, there are less action moments and the series goes out on a whimper instead of the bang it deserved (there IS a 6th instalment but it's not tied in with the "official" franchise for reasons that will become obvious when I get the review of it up here).

These movies were always fairly cheap and more about fun and adventure than absolute perfection and polish but this instalment is the first one in which the low budget really shows up in almost every scene and starts to feel just a bit lazy and slapdash. Hey, they already did a great job in taking Jack Deth on so many great adventures so I won't hold it against them but it's a point worth noting, and perhaps helps to explain why this outing just isn't as easily entertaining as the previous movies.


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