After defeating Whistler, Future Cop Jack Deth has been living with wife Lena in the twentieth century for the past six years. But his domestic bliss is about to be shattered as his boss McNulty arrives to inform him that Whistler had a brother, E.D. Wardo, who just happens to be in the 20th century and just happens to be indulging in a bit of evil trancer action. To further complicate matters Jack’s wife from the future, who was supposed to be dead, has also been sent into the past but is now incarcerated in an asylum. An asylum that is run by none other than E.D. Wardo. Can Jack save the day whilst at the same time keep the peace between the two Mrs Deth’s?
Coming from the mind of Charles Band, Trancers was a fun B-movie with a brilliant central performance from Tim Thomerson. Given Band’s propensity for churning out numerous sequels to his low budget films it’s surprising that it took so long for Jack Deth to make a reappearance. But for fans, was it worth the wait?
Well, unfortunately Trancers II is inferior to the original on all counts. Once more Deth gets to singe trancers – in case you’d forgotten trancers are zombified humans, turned into obedient slaves by mind control and now it seems, a steady intake of drugs. But it’s not as much fun second time around, as the action scenes are pretty sparse and not the most riveting, despite the constant use of the classic Trancers synth score. There are a few good ideas in the script, Wardo’s environmental task force a cover for his trancer indoctrination farm and the two Mrs Deth’s causing a few comic headaches for our hero. In fact the film is at its best during these domestic dialogue scenes, the banter between Deth and his two wives feeling more like a sitcom.
But there is one reason to watch this, and that is of course Tim Thomerson. Totally at ease in the role of Deth he delivers the rather small amount of one-liners with aplomb. Helen Hunt and Megan Ward, as his spouses from different times, do what’s required and Biff Manard is pretty entertaining as the temporarily sober ex-baseball player Hap. But Wardo, as portrayed by Richard Lynch, is never really a believable threat, despite having horror fan favourite Jeffrey Combs as a henchman.
Even though there are a couple of interesting ideas, Trancers II is without question a poor sequel to the 1985 video classic. The budget is even lower, the script favouring exposition rather than action and the set pieces underwhelming. There was a long gap between this film and the original but it still feels like a rushed affair. Having said that, there is a certain cheesy charm to the film. The long second watch makes a welcome return and Thomerson’s performance lifts proceedings beyond unwatchability but those not familiar with the work of B-movie filmmaker Band are best advised to venture no further than the original.