Trancers III (1992)
Film review #475
Director: C. Courtney Joyner
SYNOPSIS: Jack Deth is trying to make a life for himself after being stranded in Los Angeles. However, he is timejacked to Los Angeles 2247, where it turns out a new wave of trancers have been devastating the future. Jack is assigned to go back to 2002, when the trancers were first developed, to wipe them out at the source…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Trancers III is a 1992 sci-fi film, and the third film in the Trancers series of films. In the beginning, we catch up with Jack Deth not doing too well for himself after the end of the last film, as he now works as a private detective that finds people cheating on their partners, while his own marriage is heading to a divorce. While out at work, he is kidnapped by a trancer and taken to the year 2247, where he finds out that a new wave of trancers has been created and is waging war against the ruling council that he formerly worked for. He is assigned the task of travelling to 2005, when these trancers were first developed, and wipe them out at the source. The Trancers films centre around the use of a technology in the future that allows a person to be sent back “down the line” (through time) to inhabit the body of their ancestor. This gimmick was explored with some consideration in the previous films, but isn’t really a part of this film; which is a shame because it was the only really unique thing about the films. These films feel very much like a cheap terminator/Blade Runner venture, and again, Trancers III is no different. With a runtime of just over seventy minutes, there’s not really much time to get anything complex up and running, and the film settles for a bunch of action scenes and mindless violence that never really forms into an overarching story. There is the plot concerning Jack’s attempt to stop the formation of the trancers army, but it never seems to come to the forefront of the film, and everything feels a bit disconnected.
The characters are all pretty familiar, with a mix of the characters from the previous films, and other characters which are very familiar action movie tropes. Jack Deth is still the grizzled rouge-ish hero from the previous films, with his inexplicable ability to have women much younger than him fawning over him. He’s a mix of action movie tropes and doesn’t really offer anything unique in that respect, although Tim Thomerson does a good job of over-acting the role, which is pretty good fun. The villain is Col. Daddy Muthuh (slight play on words of “Daddy Mother” if you hadn’t noticed), who has created this new trancer army, and acts as their parental figure (hence the awful pun name). He’s a fairly over-the-top and clichéd villain, but with a name like “Daddy Muthuh” alongside “Jack Deth,” how seriously can you really expect to take this film? The rest of the characters are again pretty typical, and the constant conflict between the women in Jack’s life makes a silly distraction, and constantly raises the question why they are attracted to this man.
Despite being a low budget production typical of Full Moon Entertainment, there’s some decent effort clearly put into some of the elements of the film. The sci-fi props look good and sturdy, and some of the fight scenes are decently choreographed, and display a fairly entertaining amount of action. It does feel like a departure from the noir-esque style of the first two into a more cut-and-paste action movie, and the film loses much of it’s uniqueness in that transition. There’s a few gory moments too that you would not have seen in the previous films. Trancers III has some decent qualities to it, in particular some of the aspects of its production and some of the acting, but there’s very little substance beyond what viewers will have seen previously. Obviously with characters named Jack Deth and Daddy Muthuh you should not be expecting a super serious story or experience, but the odd pacing, short runtime and the lack of a solid set-up amidst the confusing multiple times makes a lot of the film fall flat. It has some redeeming features to make it watchable, just don’t expect to be fully entertained or get anything out of it.
Mom and Dad Save the World (1992)
Film review #368
Director: Greg Beeman
SYNOPSIS: Dick and Marge Nelson are driving on their way to spend the weekend away for their anniversary. On the way, they are abducted and taken to the distant plant Spengo, where it’s evil emperor Todd intends to marry Marge himself before he destroys Earth with his “Super Death Ray Laser”. Dick must find a way to rescue his wife and save the Earth while also contendng with the local rebels and a bad back, so it probably won’t be easy…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Mom and Dad Save the World is a 1992 sci-fi comedy film. The film starts by introducing married couple Dick and Marge Nelson, who are about to drive on their anniversary getaway. However, they end up going a lot further than expected, as their car is abducted and taken to the far away planet of Spengo, where the ruler of the planet, the evil emperor Todd plans to marry Marge himself before blowing up the Earth with his “Super death Ray Laser”. The plot really is this simple, and essentially revolves around Todd trying to marry Marge, and Dick trying to stop him and rescue his wife. From the outset we see the couple are pretty average, with kids and some issues between them, but nothing that majorly stands out: Marge wants to be more adventurous, while Dick is unwilling to go beyond his comfort zone. Meanwhile we see the evil emperor Todd is a bit of an incompetent and non-threatening villain (not least because his name is Todd), and the whole film just has that cheesy, silly tone to it that shows it is not meant to be taken seriously. I suppose it is primarily a comedy film with some sci-fi and adventure elements as this middle-aged couple attempt to overthrow this not-so-evil dictator. The pair make for unlikely heroes, although their characters don’t offer too many surprises, it is unusual to see those types of characters in this type of situation, so it does make for a bit of a unique experience.
Although the film offers little surprise in terms of story or characters, there are some more noteworthy aspects to it. Firstly, there are enough jokes that land to make this film entertaining enough to sit through. There’s some occasions where it can get a genuine laugh, and others where it maintains the humour throughout, such as the “light grenade” scene. Most of the humour is family friendly, but there’s some jokes only an adult will get, so there’s a variety in there that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Most of the humour however is pretty goofy and slapstick, as the planet Spengo is self described as a “planet of idiots”, and the plainly average Dick is regarded as a genius compared to them. Another positive to the film is the some of the production aspects. The alien costumes, which are anthropomorphic dogs and fish, are quite well done, and are able to convey a range of facial expressions that give them real character. The rest of the special effects are fairly typical of their time, but there’s clearly a decent amount of effort gone into creating the setting and characters. One other interesting note is that the actor for Todd voices Artie in The Simpsons, who on more than one occasion also attempts to steal Marge from her husband, making a very obscure reference.
Overall, Mom and Dad Save the World is a rather average film. It’s premise is silly, and it delivers some silly humour as you would expect. There’s some genuinely funny moments using a range of humour, and the costume designs are pretty good, so while not being the most stand-out film of all time, manages to be entertaining enough to warrant sitting through it.