Trancers 5 (1994)

Own it!

review by Scott Hamilton and Chris Holland
See also:


Trancers 2

Trancers 3: Deth Lives

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth

Lava Lamp

Our rating: one LAVA® motion lamp.

Deth & Prospero.
Because we had seen all four of the previous Trancers movies, we figured it was about time we wrap up the series and subject ourselves to the final movie in this classic saga. Trancers 5, which was filmed concurrently with Trancers 4, returns us to the other-dimensional medieval world of Orpheus, where magic rules and the trancers exist as the ruling class. There, Jack Deth has helped the human slave population overthrow Caliban, king of the trancers, and cast the trancers out of their own castle. By watching this movie, we crossed an emotional barrier. We achieved something. We can stand proud and say, "We have seen all the movies in a made-for-video series produced by Charles Band." To us, this movie really represents something special.

Too bad it sucks so hard.

We began to wonder what Full Moon Video was thinking when we saw that this 70-minute picture had a full 10-minute explanatory opener, narrated by one of the surviving trancers, and using footage from the previous film. How much story could they possibly hope to cram into 60 minutes of video?

The answer: not much. Despite the fact that the trancers are sure to retaliate and try to retake the castle, Jack decides that it's time for him to return to his own dimension. Unfortunately, the only way of doing that is to find the Tiamond, a mystical gem lost in the Castle of Unrelenting Terror. That's right, the Castle of Unrelenting Terror. Along the way, Jack must overcome his own bigotry and thwart the plans of Caliban, the trancer-king who was thought dead in the last film.

Most of the entertainment in Trancers 5 is provided by Tim Thomerson, the fabled Jack Deth. Thomerson glowers and grumps and gimbles his way through the movie like a real champ faced with a terrible script and co-stars afflicted with RBA (really bad acting) syndrome. We wonder whether this was a symptom of his circumstances as an actor, or whether he really thought he was doing a good job. Here, Thomerson is more of a buffoon and less the imaginative and humorous actor we saw in earlier films like the original Trancers and Cherry 2000.

Tim Thomerson, ladies' man.
Repeating their wooden performances from Trancers 4 are a merry band of terrible actors, including stunt-coordinator-turned-thespian Jeff Moldovan ("Wow, he really looks dead!"), the ever-popular Stacie Randall (from Excessive Force 2:Force on Force), and the diminutive Teri Ivens as Shaleen. Let us not forget Clabe Hartley as the evil Lord Caliban. His animal is both a spider and a wolf. Just take our word for it.

Regrettably, Trancers 5 adds very little to the legend of Jack Deth. Various side plots are introduced to slow down the main action, most of the jokes are made instantaneously unfunny by their poor delivery, and the fight scenes are pointless. The only really funny joke occurs when Prospero has averted a potentially fatal confrontation with a wolf by feeding it. "Killing isn't always the answer," pontificates Prospero. "Yeah," responds our man Deth, "But it's usually a pretty good guess." That's it -- that's all the entertainment we're allotted for this film. The rest of the dialogue will probably induce internal bleeding. Fortunately, the torture only lasts 70 minutes.

We're not spoiling anything by telling you that Jack Deth gets to go home to New Angel City at the end of the film. The good news is that further sequels, should they be made, may finally get back to the original Future Cop premise that made Jack Deth halfway tolerable in the first place.

Own it!

Review date: 07/21/1997

This review is © copyright 1997 Chris Holland & Scott Hamilton. Blah blah blah. Please don't claim that it's yours blah blah, but feel free to e-mail it to friends, or better yet, send them the URL. To reproduce this review in another form, please contact us at Blah blah blah blah. LAVA® , LAVA LITE® and the motion lamp configuration are registered trademarks of Haggerty Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, IL