Trancers (1984) Poster

(1984)

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6/10
It's the Velveeta of B movies
Dan Franzen (dfranzen70)12 February 2005
This low, low budget sci-fier is somewhat derivative, but it's kind of a take-off on Bladerunner-type movies, rather than a ripoff of them. Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is a detective in the future who's sent back to 1985 to stop a madman who's decided to kill the ancestors of the city council of Deth's time. With the help of Lena (a young Helen Hunt), Deth fights Trancers (who have fallen under the control of the madman) and his own culture shock.

It's a short movie (76 minutes), and things move pretty quickly; plot isn't so much of a focus as a annoying gnat that appears from time to time. But for being so short, the characters are pretty well developed - and one huge bonus is that Deth isn't an no necked, shoot-first idiot, as renegade cops are often portrayed.

Trancers is original, often-funny sci-fi cheese. It's great to see Thomerson and Hunt - especially Hunt, who looks great.
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7/10
the eternal struggle between detectives and zombies!
dr_foreman19 March 2004
"Trancers" is one of the most enjoyable B-movies ever made. The time travel plot and "fish-out-of-water" aspects make it similar to the first "Terminator," but try to imagine that classic film with an infinitely lower budget and a more highly developed sense of humor. On some days, I probably prefer the wisecracking antics of "Trancers" star Tim Thomerson to the earnestness of Michal Biehn in Cameron's film; in this instance, cheaper production values and more obscure actors do not necessarily equal an inferior product.

Thomerson is, without a doubt, the glue that holds the whole silly series together. He's a performer, not an actor. He entertains without emoting. And hey, for this material, that's fine. In fact, that's the bomb. He could read his lines right off the page in a monotone, and you'd still want to stand up and cheer.

The only flaw in this film is a slightly boring villain, but everything else is cool - check out Helen Hunt as some kind of trashy '80s biker chick. Best scene? When Thomerson beats up the stupid punks in the disco.

Overall, an effective blend of the sci-fi and detective genres, and a good indicator of what imagination and a good sense of humor can accomplish in the absence of cash.
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8/10
Superb 80s Sci-Fi
alex-9994 September 2005
I remember renting this superb Sci-Fi movie back in the late 80s. I'd only had a VCR for about a year and this renting video titles lark was still very exciting for me. Trancers was one of my favorites at the time and still is to this day. It stood the test of time. Speaking of time, that's what this movie is all about. Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson in great form) travels back in time to stop Whistler who created the kill-crazy 'Trancers.' A terrific sci-fi action movie that, despite being low-budget, never fails to thrill. I haven't been able to find it on DVD as yet but I'm ever alert. I hope to get it and its 5 sequels in a box-set. If not I'd happily settle for 'Trancers' on its own...
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8/10
Probably among the best B-Movies of all time!
When one thinks of a B-Movie, one thinks of low-budget, awfully SFX, bad actors, and plots that border idiocy. Well, this little underrated gem surely will erase any preconception you have about it as soon as it starts.

Starring Helen Hunt in one of her first roles, this movie has turned into one of the most popular cult movies, and helped to establish Charles Band as a figure in the genre.

The story is quite simple: 300 years in the future, in Los Angeles(now called Angel City), Trancers are people who were controlled by a terrorist named Whistler. He developed a mind-controlling technique that allowed him to turn people with weak minds into mindless zombies. A detective, Jack Deth, apparently killed him, but in fact Whistler traveled to the past using a machine that allows him to inhabit the body of one of his ancestors. His purpose? To kill the ancestors of the government of Angel City.

As you can imagine, Jack Deth is sent to the past inhabiting the body of his ancestor too, who happens to be a reporter. What makes things interesting is that Whistler's ancestor is the chief of the police department of Los Angeles.

Even with it's striking similitude with Cameron's "The Terminator", the movie manages to be very entertaining, at times it even is more enjoyable that "Terminator".

This is possible thanks to the very good performances of Tim Thomerson as Jack Deth, and Helent Hunt as Lena, Deth ancestor's girlfriend. They have a very good chemistry and the way Thomerson developed the character puts Deth in the same league as beloved B-Movie heroes like "Evil Dead"'s Ash.

The movie is for the most part very well developed, an achievement considering the budget it had. Even when the script has many plot holes, the whole thing is so entertaining that one ends up ignoring them. Now, that is what good movies must do.

Obviously, the SFX is not the best, but the movie's lack of pretensions makes it charming, and very rewarding. In the end this is definitely not your typical b-movie and surely will give you 77 minutes of joy. My only complain is that it is definitely very short. Very recommended.

8/10
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7/10
TRANCERS (Charles Band, 1985) ***
MARIO GAUCI11 October 2007
This sci-fi entry comes across as a charmingly trashy amalgam of BLADE RUNNER (1982) and THE TERMINATOR (1984) – not as good as either, sure, but arguably more entertaining. It involves an unshaven, raincoat-clad police detective from the 23rd century (the film, in fact, was re-issued as FUTURE COP) chasing the leader of a group of Trancers (gullible "squibs" who turn vicious and expire fluorescently in a pile of ashes) back to the present day, where the latter intends to exterminate the ancestors of the three council members who brought about his downfall.

Except for a young Helen Hunt, I was unfamiliar with the main cast – though craggy-faced lead Tim Thomerson evokes the perfect blend of machismo, world-weariness and bewilderment the role requires. The film is also refreshingly tongue-in-cheek – with the funniest bits being the hard-boiled hero lighting a match against his own teeth and when, on entering a discotheque frequented by punk rockers, he deadpans "It looks like a room full of Trancers to me". As a matter of fact, the sharply-written script has a fair amount of amusing one-liners: when Thomerson complains about the implausibility of a name like Peter Gunn upon catching an episode of the vintage series on TV, Hunt quips, "What kind of a name is Jack Deth?" (i.e. the character played by Thomerson himself).

While the special effects afforded by the modest budget could best be described as quaint, the action sequences are adequate enough – including a couple in which the hero manages to halt time (via a James Bond-like gadget wrist-watch) in order to flee the presence of Trancers who have him cornered and, then, to save the heroine from certain death. Though perhaps too low-key for its own good and somewhat under-developed at 76 minutes, the film seems to be deserving of a cult reputation (for what it's worth, it was followed by two sequels also featuring Thomerson) – but, alas, hasn't been served at all well by the DVD format so far (this viewing came by way of the no-frills fullscreen R2 edition from a budget label). I, for one, wouldn't be averse to a more exhaustively packaged and properly framed re-issue...
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6/10
Prancer Trancer
barnthebarn2 October 2008
Trancers is a breathtaking film. Made on a minute budget, the sets clearly suffer from costings yet despite this the film is consistently humorous and riveting. Tim Thomerson blasts his way through many bad Trancers dude in his sarcastic and wry style - the scene where he tells a well toned body-builder (Michael McGrady) that his tan suits Christmas well is brilliant as are many of the daft remarks. Featuring a pre-fame Helen Hunt as Leena and a great range of supporting actors we also have to be grateful to the writers, Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo (later to concentrate on computer games understandably) who tone the film in ways that Charles Band (as director) could never have done alone.
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6/10
Cult Sci-Fi
Claudio Carvalho21 November 2017
In the Twentieth-Third Century, in Angel City, the trooper Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) hunts down the criminal Martin Whistler (Michael Stefani) that killed his wife and turns weak-minded people into Trancers to follow his command. Jack is assigned by the government to travel to 1985 to chase Whistler that has fled to the past to kill their ancestors and assume the government. The way to travel in time is injecting a drug that makes the consciousness of the user traveling through ancestors. Jack learns that Whistler left his body in the Twentieth-Third Century and took over his ancestor, L.A. Police Detective Weisling. Before traveling to the past, Jack destroys Whistler's body to trap him in the past. Jack awakes in the body of the journalist Phil Dethton that had one night stand with the sexy photographer Leena (Helen Hunt). Jack teams up with Leena to look for the the ancestors of the member of the government, but Whistler has the power of the police. Will they succeed?

"Trancers" is a cult sci-fi film directed by Charles Band in a film- noir style. The idea of traveling in time through ancestors is unique and the story has action and humor in right doses. Helen Hunt is very cute and shows great chemistry with Tim Thomerson). My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Trancers – O Exterminador do Século XXIII" ("Trancers – The Terminator from the Twentieth-Third Century")
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"Dry hair's for squids."
Backlash00722 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
~Spoiler~

Trancers is a fun little B movie that mixes elements of sci-fi and film noir. But it wouldn't be half as fun without Tim Thomerson. Thomerson has played a number of genre heroes (including Brick Bardo, a.k.a. Dollman), but Jack Deth is his best. Deth is cop from the future who travels back in time to hunt the villainous Whistler and his army of Trancers. It's a good fluff movie, but it couldn't happen under strict examination. Let's take a shot at this: If Whistler killed the ancestor's of the council, that particular member would have never existed. Therefore, the remaining members would not have known that particular member and could not have remembered him. Therefore, the council would not be the same. Therefore, the council may not have existed at all. It's an endless chain reaction. But forget all that, it's a Charles Band movie and it's about fun. It features a pre-Matrix moment with slow-motion bullets and an early performance from Helen Hunt. And of course Trancers went on to a new life in several sequels. So many, in fact, that I will probably never watch the rest of the series. But that won't stop me from giving the original a thumbs up, despite flaws.
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Deth and the Maiden Voyage
jamesbourke5028 May 2004
For as long as i can remember, this movie like so many made by Charles Band, be they made under the banner of Empire Pictures, Full Moon Pictures or even his latest venture Shadow Entertainment, the majority of his output has mostly been looked down upon as poor low brow fare, why even from those persons unknown, masquerading as fans.

For me my first introduction to the work of Charles Band was infact "Ghoulies" directed by sometime actor, sometime director Luca Bercovici, being of that teen-age, the memories of that movie, like that of their sequels still lingers. Anyhow Trancers was the movie that kick started my love and my entire collection of Fantasy or Horror Fantasy movies, the majority of my collection it must be said is that of every Charles Band Movie he's ever made.

Pardon me for deviating from my take on this movie, everyone has their view, but hey, it has the coolest tag line, you know it, so i don't have to say it. A really snappy script, written by the writing partners of Bilson/De Meo, who would later excell themselves more so with the likes of "Eliminators" and the really fun "Zone Troopers.

The Movie itself also brought Tim Thomerson out of the shadows of character acting, allowing him to bring to life the hard boiled character of Jack Deth, Presented much better here than in any of the other sequels, of which, I must give mention to part three, which was the better of all the sequels.

As for the man behind the movie, Charles Band, i think perhaps, he cuts it better as a producer rather than a director, but hey if he runs the company then he's entitled to pick up that megaphone.

Perhaps the Glory Days might be gone, time rolls on, that shining light that once shone so bright for Charles Band will shine again, of that i have no doubt, he has left a legacy and for me my maiden voyage truly began with a man named Deth, how many film fans can say that and live to tell the tale.
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Rules are for Jokers, This Jack Is the Reel Deal!
jamesbourke5031 December 2003
His Empire May Have Crumbled And the Full Moon might have slightly dipped behind the shadows, but Charles's Band's Legacy of Classics will always begin and end with this vision of Jack Deth, a rogue cop fighting for his right to live and breath in the city of angels in the year 2247.

My first introduction to the cinema of Charles Band began with the Low Budget riff on Gremlins in the shape of Ghoulies, nothing that great, just a slight distraction for eighty odd minutes, now this being the 1980's the video shops were littered with all sorts of mindless dreck cluttering up the shelves, and being of an age, with an enquiring mind, in short and even still to this day, a sucker for a good looking cover i stumbled upon Trancers, not really knowing that it was made by the same producer.

Now Comparisons have been made down through the years, that Band was lurking in the shadows of Roger Corman as the pretender to the thrown as King of the B Picture, Alas my own take on that notion, is that Corman was from another time and age, that while he still maintains a presence in the Low Budget Genre Market with all the Various Dinosaurs, Carnosaurs and bubble headed Muscleman pictures, Charles Band was the man with plan and so it was, and so it began with Trancers.

Now everyone seems to think that this movie should be compared to the likes of The Terminator, However remember this being the 80's what film didn't compare just a little like something they had just watched. This Movie written by the combo partnership of Bilson & DeMeo [the writers behind the just as brilliant Zone Troopers] had concocted a hard boiled vision of the future whereby Tim Thomerson essays the spirit of a down at heel gumshoe caught between a rock and hard place and hell hath no fury if you come between him and the answers that he seeks in his quest to save the future.

At a mere running time of 82 minutes, the standard running time for the majority of all Empire and Future Full Moon Movies, the movie benefits from a crackerjack script, bubbling over with witty one liners[Spoken by the Tim Man Himself]ably assisted on his travels by the elf like Lena, the sexy santa helper from the north pole shopping mall. I never thought about it back then, but as this arena of film-making has become Tim Thomerson's bread and Butter, does Helen Hunt still care to remember her early hike up the Hollywood Ladder by appearing in such a low budgeted but very high spirited movie.

Back then ofcourse, who knew? Then Again who was i to say that, when i was just a teenager, i would find myself hooked on low budget B movies or to be more precise, the low budget B Movie that rolled of the Charles Band Conveyor belt all those years ago and even still to this day, and it all began with the first adventure of a future cop called Jack Deth, he who said that dry hair was for squids.

The many sequels that followed down through the years may not have surpassed the class and feel of the original, but they still had Jack Deth as the main protagonist, in his world rules were for jokers, he lived by his own rules. My all time favourite from the Charles Band.

This Jack is the reel deal.If you haven't already seen it, which i seriously doubt, do yourself a favour and give it another watch, you'll see what i mean.
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Entertaining b-grade SF.
Infofreak19 January 2002
'Trancers' (known under the dull title 'Future Cop' here in Australia, don't ask me why) still holds up all these years later as a lot of fun. It's cheap, sure, and suspiciously second hand (time travel schtick ripped off 'The Terminator', hard boiled Bogartish main character probably via 'Blade Runner', neither idea original anyway), but it knows its limitations, and is entertaining in a trashy way. The main reason it succeeds is because of the always reliable Tim Thomerson ('Near Dark', 'Cherry 2000') who was made to play Jack Deth. He's always enjoyable to watch. And as much as Helen Hunt irritates me now that she is a "serious artiste", she is fine as Deth's feisty side-kick. Also keep a look out for Thomerson's comedian buddies and frequent co-stars Art LaFleur and Biff Manard, and Richard Herd, a familiar face to 'Seinfeld' fans. I was also impressed by Michael Stefani as Deth's nemesis Whistler, king of the trancers. He seems to have disappeared from our screens since this movie, which is a pity.

'Trancers', a favourite guilty pleasure.
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10/10
I LOVE Trancers...
burbs826 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Jack Deth is a Trancer hunter from the future, chasing arch-enemy and trancer guru cult leader Martin Whistler through time, but not in your ordinary time machine. Time travel(in the original film) is only possible by sending a person's consciousness into a D.N.A. relative/ancestor. Deth hooks up with Leena (the lovely Helen Hunt in an early, hair-dyed-blue role), and together they hunt for the ancestors of two future council members, who if killed by Whistler, will destroy the future.

I love this movie. This is one of those cult classics which I would say is representative of the b-movie/low budget style of some of the best stuff in sci-fi/horror/fantasy th 80's had to offer. It's got a cool, far-fetched storyline and despite it's lower budget, it does wonders with its effects. Truly good stuff from director Charles Band, who not too much later formed his Full Moon Entertainment, which released the entertaining Trancers sequels.
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Tim Thomerson once again steals the show in "Trancers"!!
brian james7 August 2001
This underrated movie opens to a Los Angeles of the future with Tomerson playing the role of a bounty hunter/cop who is facing the likes of which would probably make any real officer quit and take a safer job. The time period is somewhere in the 1980's. The antagonist is an ultra futuristic criminal who has the ability to control the minds of weak people and get them to do his bidding. This is the classic B movie dramatizing the never ending battle between good and evil; good being Jack Deth (Thomerson) attempting to stop the antagonistic subtle evil criminal who is even able to travel through time. His job is made more difficult when he discovers his nemesis is a high ranking police official which gives him a powerful position from which to do his evil deeds. This one is a true work of art and Thomerson did a GREAT job in the role! See it!!!!
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Charles Band Makes Another Masterpiece!
The Creeper13 January 2002
This Movie really is a Great Science Fictional Movie. Very Entertaining and Original. There are Some Parts in this Movie that will just make you Wonder Why this Movie is not Well Known or Famous. Of Course, the Budget was Very low, so a lot of Cheap Effects can be Found. The Sound and Video Quality is Good, However. Excellent Film. I Give it a Big 10 Out Of 10. People who Enjoy this Should Like The "Puppet Master" Series.
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7/10
A Cult Gem!
The_Moviegeek19 January 2006
If you like sci-fi and noir, you're in for a good time. Tim Thomerson plays trooper Jack Deth, a future cop who's occupation is to kill a dangerous breed of humans called Trancers. Deth's mission is to travel back in time to stop Martin Whistler (Michael Stefani) from assassinating the future forefathers and peacekeepers of Angel City. During Deth's journey he encounters Leena (Helen Hunt) who helps him find his way in the city of the past.

This film doesn't take itself too seriously and aside from some cheesy, but funny acting in certain places, this little cult gem is one of the most entertaining low budget movies you'll ever see.
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7/10
Thomerson at his best
Tito-85 April 1999
This is definitely one of the finest B-movies that I've ever seen. Now then, I'm not saying that this is a great movie, but it is surprisingly good. B-movie icon Tim Thomerson is perfect as Jack Deth, and Helen Hunt (yes, THAT Helen Hunt) is fun to watch as well. It's got some good action, has decent production values, and it is rather funny at times too. But for me, the main reason to watch this is Thomerson. There's just something about this guy that cracks me up...
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7/10
Brings the definition of a B-movie to a whole new art form!
differencefilms3 February 2003
Trancers is a classic time travel-film/noir movie, with a gritty B-movie edge. The first in it's class, and quite possibly the last in it's genre.

Tim Thomerson is brilliant as the self-styled, down-and-out pertually angry Jack Deth. Anyone who has enjoyed Blade Runner and Timestalkers will enjoy this movie. It has traces of both these films, as well as references to the Maltese Falcon in the art direction and in Jack Deth's rather conspicious wardrobe - don't you just love those trenchcoats and brylcreemed hair??? Helen Hunt - the only other 'normal' character in this film - is a delight to watch.

With booms in shot, mopeds as getaway vehicles and matte paintings galore, it spells out low budget in capital letters, but who really cares? It's all great fun.

It's a pity that B-movies like these are no longer in an age where they are considered cool.
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Jack Deth is a great action hero
Maniacmikeuswf17 July 2002
Trancers is an excellent science fiction movie. Tim Tomerson does a great job playing Jack Deth. I was into the movie from beginning to end. I loved this film. Four years before Quantum Leap premired it featured Jack being transfered from the future to 1985 from his body to his ancestor's body. The plot was great. It's a must see.
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9/10
Viva Trancers!
Lexx-29 February 1999
Still Charles Band's best film, this first entry in the series is one of the best "B" movies ever made. Despite some plot holes and a distinctly low budget, "Trancers" (or "Future Cop" as it's known here) wins out thanks to a witty script, three-dimensional characters and first-rate performances. Tim Thomerson is absolutely perfect in the lead and a pre-Mad About You Helen Hunt is ideal as his bemused girlfriend. Savor this film and try to avoid the mostly disappointing sequels.
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Very good.
Iceman-3921 December 1998
This movie was completely original for a B movie it followed time travel theories pretty good most people won't like this film cause it's a B movie but those people will never know what they are missing Tim Thomerson was great in this film.
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5/10
This is the bad movie that got me into bad movies
CheeseDogX26 January 2010
Five out of ten might seem a bit generous for a movie I just called bad, but Trancers is a rare gem. It's a low-grade B movie that knows it's a low-grade B movie and isn't ashamed. There are some gaping plot holes (the bad guy's entire scheme, for instance), but even with that it's a fun ride if you're into cheesy Sci-Fi films.

Jack Deth, a nearly-but-not-quite cookie cutter rogue cop, has to travel 300 years into the past to the year 1985. He is after a notorious cult leader/terrorist from his time named Whistler, who is killing the ancestors of the council of Angel City (the remains of Los Angeles). Whistler has the ability to turn people into the titular Trancers, mindless killing machines.

One of the charms of this movie is the fact that it at times pokes fun at itself, such as when people point out the main character's rather strange name. Also, some of Deth's wise-acre comments are genuinely amusing in a dry, hard-boiled sort of way.

The movie is handicapped mostly by its thin and at times ridiculous plot, as well as its at times wholly uninspired script. In the first few minutes of the film, the screenplay seems to be trying to cram the Jack Deth's renegade persona down your throat, but Tim Thomserson manages to take the role and turn Deth into a surprisingly likable character. The acting is pretty good across the board for a film of this caliber, and I'm a little surprised Helen Hunt is the only actor who went on to bigger and better things.

If you're the kind of person who likes to sit back and chuckle at a well-made turkey, this film is right up your alley. If you've got friends who just don't understand why you like B films so much, this one might change their minds. As long as you can set aside things like plot holes and low budgets, you should be in for a good time.
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9/10
"Cheer up. You just singed your first Trancer."
Scott LeBrun26 December 2017
Cool, clever B grade sci-fi gave rise to one of the more popular cult movie series in existence. It gave comedian Tim Thomerson the role of a lifetime, as a detective of the future named Jack Deth. Deth is sent back in time 300 years to inhabit the body of his ancestor, so he can find and apprehend a villain named Whistler (Michael Stefani). Whistlers' modus operandi is to hypnotize weak minded people into becoming his slaves, the "Trancers" of the title. Deths' faithful sidekick / love interest will be a young woman named Leena (Helen Hunt).

Producer & director Charles Band makes the most out of the situation with this very amusing and entertaining story, concocted by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo. The futuristic designs are nicely done, so much credit should go to production designer Jeff Staggs, art director Christopher Amy, and cinematographer Mac Ahlberg. There's also a very atmospheric electronic score by Phil Davies and Mark Ryder. One memorable gadget is a "long second" watch that stretches out time for the owner, giving Deth some precious extra moments to escape certain death.

Humour is a definite strong suit in the Bilson and De Meo screenplay, with some very funny lines and moments. Deth is given some choice quips, especially when he puts on some hair gel, and says, "Dry hair is for squids."

A very fine supporting cast is another attraction. Hunt has rarely looked this ravishing. Stefani could have easily had more great bad guy roles, if only in B fare. Thomerson is as cool as can be, and associates of his such as Art La Fleur and Biff Manard contribute a welcome presence. Richard Herd, Anne Seymour, Miguel Fernandez, Telma Hopkins, and Richard Erdman all have nice bits.

Great fun, for any fan of limited budget science-fiction, and it clocks in at a very reasonable 77 minute run time, to boot.

Nine out of 10.
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7/10
Entertainment 80's Sci-fi
Benedito Dias Rodrigues4 October 2017
Representative movie of the 80's era,low budge and a primitive special effects but delightful and entertainment picture,a mature man played by Tim Thomerson and the young beauty Helen Hunt in great performance together with a clever plot made this trash Sci-fi one those memorable movies from the eighties!!!

Resume:

First watch: 2017 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 7
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7/10
An Entertaining 80's Sci-Fi Film
Uriah433 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie takes place in the distant future in which a cop by the name of "Jack Deth" (Tim Thomerson) has been on a mission to destroy a cult created by a madman named "Whistler" (Michael Stefani). So when Whistler escapes into the past Jack is sent to follow him—back to Los Angeles in the year 1983. Unfortunately, Whistler has managed to acquire a lot of power and once Jack gets there he soon discovers that rather than being the hunter he has become the hunted. So armed with only a .38 revolver, a pretty guide named "Leena" (Helen Hunt) and very little time, Jack has to somehow subdue Whistler before history is changed forever. Now rather than reveal any more of this movie and risk ruining it for those who haven't seen it I will just say that this 80's sci-fi film still manages to entertain despite the fact that it's over 30-years old. Be that as it may, I enjoyed this movie and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.
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