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I've been a fan of Charles Band and Full Moon since the beginning. But, the films released by Full Moon over the last few years have fully disappointed me. I really can't stand the "Urban" dribble they've been dishing out. To my surprise though, Trancers 6 reminds me of the good old Full Moon films before they started to go downhill. It's low budget of course, but the acting, plot, makeup, specil effects are all excellent. I hope this may indeed be the beginning of a new age for Full Moon Pictures. But please, drop the lame rapper/urban films that couldn't scare a flea.
Full Moon's budget just keep getting lower, so it's kind of sad to
see one of their best series being continued on a budget lower
than what Nicole Kidman spends a year on sun block. The
TRANCERS films involve Jack Deth, a Bogart-ish cop from the
future who keeps getting sent back in time to deal with Trancers,
zombie-like former humans, whose actions virtually destroyed the
time-line Deth originates from. To time travel, Deth must inhabit
the body of one of his ancestors all of whom, at least until this
entry, look just like actor Tim Thomerson.
This time around, Full Moon couldn't afford Thomerson, so they open with some stock footage of him, from previous films in the series, and then send him back in time to inhabit the body of the daughter he never knew he had fathered during one of his visits to the 80s. If you're a follower of the TRANCERS series, this all makes pretty good sense, as the third film did introduce just such a child.
Anyway, entry #6 takes place in a low rent version of the present and Deth's daughter is played by diminuitive (5 ft tall) Zette Sullivan, a serious little cutie who does a nice job of playing a tough "guy" in a girl's body. Sullivan is much of the show here as she effectively mimics Thomerson's style and earns a few smiles by playing the uncomfortable macho male in a woman's body role.
There's a couple of nice action sequences and some OK, bargain basement special effects and makeup. Most of the cast is fine and it all flies by enjoyably, if forgettably, enough. If Full Moon ever gets a decent budget again, they could do a lot worse than to continue this series with spunky Sullivan, maybe even team her up with Thomerson, and let this film's director, Jay Woelfel, take a shot at it. If he can do this well with next-to-no-money, I'm guessing he could make a pretty good film with a budget featuring more numbers than a zip code.
DVD owners can see this on a double-feature disc with the first TRANCERS film, which features a young Helen Hunt (who was in entries 1-3) as the woman who will eventually be the mother of Deth's daughter in this entry. Jeez, this is getting confusing.
I had been waiting a long time for this movie to come out, as I have long
been a fan of Charles Band/Full Moon Pictures. When I saw it, I was amazed.
Of the Trancers Films I've seen (I, III, and VI), I would say this one was
the best. Even though we are in Part 6, the action still feels like it's
fresh off the burner. Also, I was delighted to see that the plot had a bit
of twist in it, of how the whole "Trancers" theme was a little different
than in the others (I refuse to say anything else on the plot, as I don't
want to spoil it).
I Give it 10 out of 10
Fans of Movies like this should Check out Puppet Master, Slumber Party Massacre, Skinned Alive, Sleep Away Camp, and other Full Moon Pictures flicks. For other recommendations, check out the other comments I have sent in by clicking on my name above this comment section.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack Deth once again battles with the life sucking Trancers by once
again "going down the line" to present day earth, but wait, this time
rather than inheriting the body of an ancestor that resembles him, he
winds up inhabiting the body of his very own daughter! a sweet, good
natured & kind of nerdish young girl that he fathered unknowingly on
one of his trips back here, his goal is to save her from being murdered
by an evil corporation intent on making more Trancers out of street
people, turning them into ghoulish looking bloodthirsty maniacs. Soon
the Joe everybody thought they knew, is transformed from a health food
eating shy, sweet girl to a meat eating, cigarette smoking tough
talking, butt kicking Jack Deth which surprises her superiors over her
sudden change in lifestyle. When Jack or Joe (as his daughter is named)
is captured she/he must team up with a scientist to help find a way to
put an end to the trancers reign of terror for good, or have both he &
his daughter wind up dead or worse a trancer...Sixth entry in the
popular now defunct Empire/Full Moon franchise actually manages to be
better than expected despite the cheap look & obvious micro budget
(Like pretty much all of Full Moons later entries without Paramount
Pictures backing) & so, so acting. The direction by JAY WOELFEL was
pretty good & the story has many interesting themes running through it,
the lead actress did a good job imitating the Jack Deth character from
the previous films. However unlike the first five films, Full Moon
wasn't able to afford TIM THOMERSON & therefore scenes at the beginning
of the film are just clips taken from previous TRANCERS movies & inter
cut with Jack Deth talking to a scientist at the beginning. Another
thing TRANCERS 6 seemingly does is ignore the plots of Parts 4 & 5
(whatever became of the scientist woman he fell in love with when he
got back from medieval times?) & picks up after Part 3. Better than
Parts 4 or 5 but still falls short of the first film (I'm yet to see 2
& 3) & at times is to cheap for it's own ambitions, but as often as
not, manages to be entertaining with a fresh/humorous new take on the
story. Ending leaves a door wide open for a sequel with Joe/Jack
hunting down more trancers on earth but I wouldn't hold my breath
waiting for one...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll be honest, I was not familiar with the Trancers films until my
boyfriend started buying them over the past recent months. I liked
Helen Hunt from "Mad about You" and "What Women Want" but I did not
know Tim Thomerson. With the recent purchase of Trancers 6 now in our
DVD library, we watched this one over the weekend.
I feel that Trancers 6 hearkens back to the first two Trancers films, even though Tim Thomerson's Jack Deth appearance was via stock footage from the early Trancers canon (I did give a moan and an eye roll when I saw familiar scenes, but hey, you got to do what you can when you don't have the series-making star at one's disposal). However, there was the dry, film noir-ish humor that made Jack interesting, this time delivered by Zette Sullivan, Deth's daughter. Sullivan did a decent job of pulling off Deth-like lines and even manages to pull off his trench coat wearing style (no greased back hair though, I'm glad to report). She had big shoes to fill, and she pulled it off.
Additionally, the strong female leads of Sullivan and Jennifer Capo were refreshing to the usual strong-arm masculine roles that dominant the Sci-Fi genre (the exception being the Alien and Terminator franchises). Actually, for the most part, Jack Deth has been surrounded by some strong feminine characters throughout the canon series.
The special effects are not great (especially the trancer that jumped from the window, reminding me of the movie "The Beginning of the End" with Peter Graves the grasshoppers on postcard scenes), but one cannot expect blockbuster effects when working on a shoestring budget. Director Jay Woelfel provides a candid behind the scenes look of what he went through to get this movie made and is worth a read (http://www.jaywoelfel.com/trancers6notes.html). I commend him for sticking with the film and getting it made.
It's not the best film out there, but if you are looking for a Trancer's film that fits with the early canon, then Trancers 6 is it. This movie definitely fits well with what made Trancers 1 and 2 work well in the first place, unlike Trancers 4 and 5, which in my opinion, were well off the mark of the franchise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Note: I do not really feel my review contains any real spoilers, but it
is a review none the less, and reviews must reference the movie that's
To save his daughter from being on the losing end of a knife fight, Jack Deth is once again sent down the line, and in the process has to cope with the usual temporal, (as well as gender) shock while synging trancers.
General consensus is that Trancers 6 is pretty bad, usually cited for a slew of reasons. While I'll admit the film does have its shortcomings, I'll also point out that as a Trancer movie, let alone a Full Moon product, this should have been expected.
Firstly, I think deep down, everyone realizes that the Trancers series was pretty much in decline in the first place. Tim Thomerson says in the Videozone for Trancers 4 a statement along the lines of Helen Hunt off doing movies for millions while he is stuck there doing Trancers. The comment may have been said in jest, but it does illustrate that there is definitely a visible decline in the series. The fact that Trancers 4 and 5 should've been one movie in the first place (how Kill Bill-esquire) shows that series was starting to be stretched thin.
However, Trancers 6 is remarkably refreshing. The time travel this time is a throw back to the original Trancers no TCL chamber here. The plot is a throwback to Trancers 2: Trancer farming but with less Richard Lynch and more uhm.. meteor? (Side note: a meteor that has the power to bend the will of people? Do I detect Maniac Mansion here? I doubt it, but that was a sweet game. Anywho, bad digression there). The aliens and the meteor tie back to Jack's implied adventures through time-space-dimensions-etc. that are post Trancers 3 and possibly post Trancers 5. All these incorporations solidify Trancers 6 within the canon of the Trancers series.
Trancers 6 even expands upon previous elements of Trancers. In Trancers 6 we see deformed Trancers, an alternate method to trance the squids (via meteor gun), and even a more powerful trancer (the tranced Mark who can stop bullets, unfazed).
The movie shows technical competency itself. No boom mikes visible, a claim that Trancers 1 cannot even make! Actually, it is quite surprising what movie was spun with what little resources and budget the director had. You can scoff at the lifted footage of Tim Thomerson from previous Trancers movies edited together in the beginning, but working with what the director has, it's actually pulled off quite well! The only real shortcomings in the technical department are the special effects. Yes, the trancer's plunge to his death was pretty bad. Any sort of explosion or laser looked pretty cut and pasted in. However, lack of any resources for a proper post-production would explain this (see the director's website on this detail), but also at the same time, I must harkin back to the quality of Trancers movies as a whole the special effects have never really been that good! The image of the movie is nice and crisp; it looks like an actual movie! This is actually a quite surprising quality of Full Moon in the early 2000s during the same year (2002), Death Bed came out from Full Moon, a monstrosity that looks like home video porn. I am grateful that Trancers 6 looks the way it does!
This is all fine and dandy, but lets boil to the root of what Trancers is about, and why there may be reasons for reservations for #6. Tim Thomerson is so synonymous with Trancers that not having him in #6 is a risky venture. However, the powers that be said no, so we do not get Tim Thomerson back as Jack Deth. This hindrance is dealt with rather brilliantly I think have him sent down the line into his daughter. For starters, it's a nice fresh face, a clean slate. In Trancers 5, the evil doppelganger of Jack Deth comments that Jack Deth was getting pretty old. That was 1994; this being 2002, Tim Thomerson himself would be older. Sure, it could work some people like 80-billion year old Harrison Ford donning the fedora of Indiana Jones again, so why not Tim Thomerson. Face it for whatever reasons, Tim cannot be Jack Deth forever. Jo is a nice fresh face, and she actually pulls off the witticisms and one liners that Jack normally does quite well. In fact, while being in a female body, many of the comments take on an extra weight of humour. Examples of Jo complimenting the arse of Shauna, or the line of "not into guys" said to Mark. While this type of humour has been done before in such movies as Switch, but it takes on an extra sense of comedy since now it's playing with the already established conventions solidified by Tim Thomerson. I feel the biggest flaw of the movie is that not enough time is spent with Jo, spatting Jack Deth remarks. In the middle of the movie she more or less disappears tied up or locked in a cell or sorts as we cut to exposition elsewhere. I feel that more time should've been spent on Jo acting like Jack, which would allow for more acceptance of the new character. I am hoping that Zette Sullivan starts to appear in more movies (no movies since Trancers 6-?), because I think she filled some pretty big shoes quite nicely.
So overall, I feel Trancers 6 is quite the worthy entry to the Trancers canon. I don't believe it deserves the dismissal it is currently receiving. It's pretty good!
Lacking even the mediocre production values of its predecessors,
including Tim Thomerson as the arrogant Dirty Harry inspired hero of
the franchise, Trancers 6 adds a gender-swap twist to the overextended
In an early trick that sets the low-budget tone of the film, series star Thomerson appears to hold a conversation with another character through use of clips from the previous films. Thomerson, who is thanked in the closing credits, is a spectral presence in the film; appearing in flesh only courtesy of a body double.
In typical "Quantum Leap" style, this latest adventure puts hero Jack Deth into the body of his own daughter as he tries to preserve the integrity of the timeline and stop an alien invasion. The paradoxical novelty of this idea enables the filmmakers to essentially remake the first film to lead the series in a new direction. In fact the closing scenes make it quite apparent that this is the intent.
B-movie sci-fi flicks from the 1960s and 1980s were characterised by representations of the future which were essentially cheap display of props and flashing lights and Trancers 6 continues this tradition.
The majority of the film is set in Los Angeles in 2022 but there is nothing despite a title card to suggest this fact. Everything looks the same as now! Shot mainly in fairly ordinary looking rooms and old industrial locations, this form of production design is present throughout the film. In true Ed Wood tradition, offices are identified by maps pinned to walls and laboratories are endearingly characterised by fluorescent liquids in smoking test tubes. As if this wasn't enough to evoke those late night movies of old, the main prop is a ray gun.
The great thing is that it isn't laughable. You actually find these aspects comfortably familiar and they help draw you into the B-movie world. Trancer 6 doesn't take itself too seriously, but it isn't unintentionally funny either. The direction and the performances of the largely inexperienced cast make this fun for all the right reasons.
What is interesting is the treatment of the theme of male/female relations. There are a lot of dated, chauvinistic clichés which seem vaguely offensive. Jack's sexist words coming out of a young woman's mouth is an attempt to undermine his macho persona.
The idea of a female hero is a popular one, but even now all are essentially male fantasies. In this case the integrity of its female heroine is undermined by giving her the mind of the male hero of the franchise. But there is no effort to concentrate on the complex differences between the sexes, which are laughably reduced to a single scene in which Jack/Jo attempts to put on tights.
If one were to give the film a look over from a "Newsnight Review" perspective, one could say that Trancers 6 comments on the very manner in which female protagonists remain essentially controlled by male ideals. This would certainly give a greater significance to the other dated aspects of the film which I have already mentioned.
This film is filled with female stereotypes, each worthy of consideration. The heroine is, prior to transformation, a shy scientist, while Deth's supervisor appears to him in the body of a prostitute. There is an instant contrast. Jo Deth is petite and fragile looking, which obviously adds to the novelty value of her suddenly acting macho, but this is the very form which audiences seem to appreciate most. It's a valid point to consider that if the roles were reversed, that the buxom actress was in the lead, it would undermine the integrity of the film.
Highlighting female sexuality degrades a film. Trancers 6 parodies the Hollywood casting of such sexless, nonthreatening heroines. As is usually the case in films like this there is a similarly sexed antagonist. Again her sexuality is seen as negative. She's a man-eater, a manipulator using her body to control weaker men. A Lady Macbeth figure, she is very definitely representative of the 'woman-behind-the-man' mode of thinking. In many ways she may be superior to her employer, but she embraces the mainstream acceptance of a male-dominated society.
Reviving the franchise 8 years after Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994) was always going to be an interesting proposition. The sex change novelty has breathed new life into the series. The opportunities for intelligent discussion are merely a bonus.
I have to say, I was glad to see this film return to the original theme
after that side trip they took in 4 and 5, but even though the basic
story was good, there was so much of it that was painful to watch.
First, yes, it was low budget. But by 2002 standards, with computer
editing and special effects, it was about as low budget as what some
college film students could do - it actually reminded me more of a
sci-fi TV show than a feature film. As for Zette Sullivan's
performance, maybe this was because the low budget also meant less
rehearsal time, but her macho-ness was overdone - she played Jack Deth
as more macho than Tim Thomerson did in the first five films (and that
doesn't even take into account the assumption that someone who's gone
down the line as much as he has should have at least some training in
"blending in"). Although it was kind of a good start what they did in
showing her out of sorts in her female body (failing miserably to put
on pantyhose, feeling awkward in a skirt) they could have done more
with that than they did.
On the whole, they get an A for effort in trying to bring the Trancers saga back to what it originally was. And yes, the cheap effects and staging can clearly be blamed on the budget. But oh, how I wish the director had had Zette Sullivan turn her 'maleness' down a notch!
I'm a huge Full Moon Video fan, which includes the Trancers series. Trancers 6 did not have any appealing qualities at all. The first Trancer films were classics, and 1-5 were well done and well acted. Trancers 6 looked like it had a budget of about 20 bucks. Tim Thomerson needs to come back for one more Trancer film, just so Band won't end the series on a low note. Like many others, I wish Full Moon Video could go back 10 years to what it used to be. The Subspecies series, Puppet Master series, and many other films were well done, well acted, and the effects were head and shoulders above Trancers 6. I think I'll go back and watch the first Trancers movies to wash the could taste of Trancers 6 out of my mouth.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know that Full Moon, or any other film studio for that matter, could
never recapture the fun and cheesy sci-fi feeling that was the original
`Trancers.' And with the last two entries in the series having Jack Deth in
medieval times instead of futuristic Los Angeles, it became quite obvious
that there really was little hope in reviving the Trancers series. Breathing
new life into a film is one thing, but taking our main character out of his
element and putting him into the past, well, it didn't work! So now with
Trancers 6, Full Moon has breathed so much new life into the series that we
don't even deal with Jack Deth any more. We now deal with his daughter, Jo.
Jack is in her body and must go into the past and fight the Trancers one
*MINOR SPOILER: FIRST SCENE OF THE FILM REVEALED*
To prove how bad this movie is, you only need watch the first two minutes of the film when the original Jack Deth appears on the screen. But it's not actually Tim Thomerson. It's clips of him and sound bytes strung together (trust me, you can tell they're strung together) horribly to provide the viewer the last of the true Jack Deth humor. And from this point on, things only go down hill. Having this girl, Jo Deth, as our main character while Jack Deth is supposed to be in her body, is the worst idea in the world. Having this cute young woman act as a rough and tough man isn't the right track at all! It doesn't work and it really comes off as foolish.
I'm not going to go into the aspects of special effects and makeup because most reading this know what Full Moon has become: A really, really, low budget enterprise. I don't know what to say about this movie, except I really wish Full Moon could be like it was in the days of Demonic Toys, Puppet Master, and Trancers 1. Back then, while the special effects weren't great, the story telling was. They made serious b-movies for serious B movie and horror fans, and that just doesn't take place today with the new Full Moon Studios. I yearn for the good ol' days, and truly hope, that Full Moon can pull itself out of this horrible slump that they're in right now.
Trancers 6 gets a 2 out of 10.
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