Friday, April 9, 2010

A sex change brings Life After Deth

Trancers 6 (2002)
Starring: Zette Sullivan, Jennifer Capo, Robert Donovan, Jere Jon and Timothy Prindle
Director: Jay Woelfel
Producers: Johnnie J. Young, Maurice Smith and Charles Band
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

Time-traveling Trancer Hunter Jack Deth discovers he truly is his own ancestor when he finds himself inhabiting the body of the daughter he sired during a previous trip to the 20th century (Sullivan). He must save her from a new breed of Trancers in order to save himself and the future from oblivion.

I love time-travel stories and the twist arising from the tangle of history created by Jack Deth fathering a child in the past is a fun one and it makes me favorably disposed to this film from the outset. The fact that Full Moon returned to the series' roots as a sci-fi tale and dumped all the fantasy nonsense from Parts 4 and 5 make me like it even more. And given that the film finally resolves to my satisfaction the troubling question about why Jack and his future didn't cease to exist when he definitively wiped out even the origin point of Trancers in Parts 2 and 3--makes me like it even better.

The performance by Zette Sullivan--which basically consists of a skinny girl doing an impersonation of Tim Thomerson's original film-noir macho portrayls of Deth--is cute icing on a well-made cake.

Unfortunately, the cake is a little on the stale side. For all the appealing points of the film, there is a atmosphere of "been here before" throughout it. Previous films featured conspiracies, powerhungry politicos and "trancer farms" like the ones we find in this film (even if screenwriter Joyner used these elements to more effectively than ever before establish why the dark future that spawned Deth's half-destroyed world still comes into being). The method of creating Trancers is different, but the general trappings are the same, so the sense of retread in inescapable.

The inability to hide the low budget that this film was made on is also ever-present. Like just about every movie that Band has been involved with since the turn of the century, the film suffers from production values that are but a pale reflection of what his films once featured. And this drop-off is even more evident on the DVD edition that I acquired of the film, as it contains the original 1985 "Trancers"; "Trancers 6" looks flat and amateurish when viewed in close context with that other film.

Still, if you enjoyed the first three films in this series, I think you'll find enough here to like this one as well. Zette Sullivan is funny and cute, and it's a shame that she hasn't had any film roles since 2002.

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Thanks for sharing your opinion. I love seeing what fellow fans have to say!