Sci-Fi Review: Trancers 6 (2002, dir. Jay Woelfel)


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Technically this movie doesn’t begin with the title card. It actually starts by telling us Full Moon Pictures and Young Wolf Productions present that title card. The ‘6’ is huge as if to say, “seriously we made a 6th one of these.” Trancers 4 & 5 may have been sad, but that was because it was terrible seeing Tim Thomerson and his iconic role reduced to such garbage. This one doesn’t even have Thomerson in it. It’s just a terrifically bad movie. Nevertheless, let’s have some fun with it.

The film begins with a guy watching footage from the end of the movie before he realizes he too is in Trancers 6.

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There’s only one thing to do when you see shot on video footage made to look even worse of a woman trying to stab another woman to death. That’s to get up, play with some switches, and then break the news to stock footage from the previous Trancers movies that time travel is going to happen again. During this we also get a voice inserted that isn’t Thomerson to say a line they couldn’t find in one of the previous movies. You might be wondering if it at least sounds like Thomerson. Hell no! Remember that “nobody gave two fucks” thing I said? This is just the start of that.

Stock footage Deth is not happy about this. But before Trancers III Jack can argue his way out,…

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Trancers III (1993, dir. C. Courtney Joyner)

Trancers III (1993, dir. C. Courtney Joyner)

he is sent into the future of 2006 to make a cameo appearance in Evil Bong, an extra that doesn’t look like Thomerson appears on a slab,…

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Trancers (1984, dir. Charles Band)

Trancers (1984, dir. Charles Band)

and the film cuts back to Old Los Angeles of 2022.

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So 6 years from now and 300 years 1 minute 49 seconds earlier from the opening scenes. Seriously, it says that second thing.

Moving on! We now meet Jack’s ancestor, but for a few minutes as herself. Her name is Josephine Forrest played by the only actor I’m going to credit on this film named Zette Sullivan. It’s bad enough I have to remind people she was in this movie. This was her second, and last role she ever did. Kinda sad because despite what follows, she didn’t deserve to disappear from films.

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She’s an astronomer with an apartment where she can look through her telescope from the comfort of her own couch. That’s weird. She sees a meteor shower happen. She records where it was and calls it in. She is told to be careful, but she has no idea what that means. Doesn’t matter. That meteor shower thing will barely factor into this movie. Now she sets down her bowl of slop to look at her fish tank before knocking the bowl over.

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This is a very important scene you see. The reason is because she says, “Oh, shoot!” You see what they did there? Flash! Fall! Get up!

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“That was an ass breaker of a ride.” Other lines. “Shit! I need to clear my head.” That’s how we know for sure that Zette Sullivan has been given direction to stop acting like a regular person who has watched too many Jimmy Stewart movies and to begin channelling her inner Humphrey Bogart.

“I woke up this morning with a bad hangover
And my penis was missing again
This happens all the time
It’s detachable”

-Detachable Penis by King Missile

Of course she goes to the fridge to get a drink. Yes, I am going to call her a her despite it supposedly being Jack inside of her. I don’t want to sully the character’s good name by pretending he’s actually here. In the fridge, she finds everyone’s worst nightmare: tofu, non-fat yogurt, beet juice, and carrot juice.

“Oh, my God! What a fucking nightmare!”
-My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Then she finally realizes she’s a woman now. By that I mean she looks at her hands, her breasts, then looks in the mirror.

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That’s it. I’m sorry, but this is what happens if you have a penis and suddenly discover it isn’t there.

Switch (1991, dir. Blake Edwards)

Switch (1991, dir. Blake Edwards)


Switch (1991, dir. Blake Edwards)

Switch (1991, dir. Blake Edwards)

That’s when Breasts walk into the room.

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He is the ancestor of the guy from the beginning of the movie. He tells her that Josephine is Jack’s daughter. How much of a role will he play in this movie? Barely any. Aside from that piece of information, he’s just here to tell us his ancestor was a “ho” and give Josephine some stuff like a gun. That, and to have tits in the movie. I love that he brought along with him three pictures of the exact same thing to give to her.

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Those are pictures of her being stabbed to death. A fate she needs to stop from happening.

Now she goes over to her desk to find out some information on herself. I would make fun of the CRT monitors on her desk, but who cares. There’s funnier things than that.

The next morning she gets her gun and threatens a pair of pantyhose with it before struggling to get them on.

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I would love to believe that’s why she goes with a long skirt, but considering other things that happen in this movie. I just believe they thought they needed that scene because you will never see her have any problems with heels, makeup, or any of that stuff from now on. I’m actually glad about the heels part. Movies really over-exaggerate the difficulty of wearing them. The pantyhose thing is actually refreshing.

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Make note of the outfit. She thinks this cool red car is hers. Make note of the red car too. After realizing the car isn’t hers, but the other car next to it, the camera cuts and…

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I’m pretty sure the color of her top just changed. It could just be the lighting changing the color of the top. Regardless, make note of the purse. The movie won’t remember.

Now she arrives at work and…

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is that a bright blue top now? The purse handle certainly is longer. What happened to her cardigan? Just in case you thought she might have left it in the car, the film cuts to the next scene at a hot dog stand to assure us that it did indeed forget she wasn’t wearing it in the previous scene.

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There’s that long purse handle too. This scene exists to introduce us to these people who will show up later because otherwise they would need to hire more actors.

Then as she is heading into work…

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she appears to have changed again back into the more beige version of the top. Damn Trancers! Before, they were just killing people, but now they are destroying all continuity.

She walks in front of the secretary so we can see that the cardigan has disappeared yet again.

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It’s a magic cardigan!

Now we meet the short-lived Eddie Deezen of this movie.

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Hmm…do I make the joke, or do I restrain myself? Nah! The movie is garbage. It deserves all the jokes I can come up with so I can get through this.

WarGames (1983, dir. John Badham)

WarGames (1983, dir. John Badham)

I think it’s fair to say this Eddie Deezen has backdoors in mind while looking at Josephine. However, in the movie, he just reminds her that she sat at the wrong desk after giving her creepy stares and she moves over to her computer.

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Remember kids, “Mondays Are Fundays.” I think Bob Geldolf & The Boomtown Rats would disagree. Even The Bangles would say that Sundays are in fact the Fundays. Okay, enough music jokes…for now. After clicking on the icon in the center of the screen without a mouse cursor and seeing that her meteor sightings were denied, a flight attendant comes to get her.

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She is there to take her to see Mr. Castle and again to introduce us to an actor who will come back around again. Josephine takes a good look at her butt before going in to meet with him just to remind us that her sexual orientation has not been altered because of the gender body swap. If you didn’t get it this time, then don’t worry. The film will remind you again of this fact later. Believe it or not, at that point, it actually serves a real purpose in the story. This is an odd Full Moon production because it appears to try to send a message of being a strong woman, not smoking, not drinking, living a healthy lifestyle, and about fighting back when people try to prey on your weakness given your apparent position in society. Well, sort of. Just think of it as some marbling in the pile of cow dung.

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Now Josephine sits down to talk with Mr. Castle. Blah, blah, blah, something exploded into the Earth even though we didn’t see that happen, blah, blah blah, you saw a gaseous explosion above the Earth’s atmosphere, and she’s fired.

After having a conversation with a security guard, we find out that this Eddie Deezen isn’t the jackass he appeared to be. He’s a Trancer jackass.

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She proceeds to fight him. Oh, and he talks too. These must be the Trancers from the third film on, minus any real strength. He tells her that Mr. Castle wants her dead, breaks free, turns into pixels, jumps out of a window,…

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and then dissolves on the ground.

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That’s when Jim Walls…

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appears to tell Josephine she didn’t follow proper trooper procedure and sends her back to try again.

After getting a call, Josephine is off to meet her astronomer friend at an observatory who apparently…

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is still living in 1991 according to that poster behind him. The doctor confirms her findings about a meteor crashing into the Earth, and bad guys show up. All you need to know is that the long second works even better than before. You start to use it with your hair up,…

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then the camera cuts to put your hair down,…

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followed by the long second getting activated which puts your hair up again,…

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and finally as you run away, your hair is down again.

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Yes, that is the car from the parking lot earlier that she thought was hers. No reason for it to be the same car, but it is. She gets in that car and mows down a Trancer on the ground before getting out to shoot another one with her hair up again.

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Now she bends down to take the dead Trancer’s jacket, but pops back up with her hair down again.

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She also takes his pants because clearly those are her size. This part happened before she popped up with her hair down again.

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The movie now briefly cuts back to the future to show the guy playing with a computer followed by fake Jack being attacked by ripple special effects.

Josephine follows one of the Trancers from the observatory and Breasts shows up to talk to her. He tells her that she is fading in the future so she better make sure her parents get together at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance. He actually says she is fading up the line because of her potential failure in the past.

Now we are off to the last main set of the movie, and the movie still has an hour to go. She gets there by following a white truck that picked up three Trancers that were hanging out nearby. Her first encounter at this shanty town/base of operations is with a guy I call Lucas.

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The Wizard (1989, dir. Todd Holland)

The Wizard (1989, dir. Todd Holland)

However, since she doesn’t have the Power Glove, he takes her in. They stick her in a room with a musical reference.

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“Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, baby, it’s the guitar man
Who’s gonna steal the show, you know, baby, it’s the guitar man
He can make you love, he can make you cry
He will bring you down and he’ll get you high
Somethin’ keeps him goin’ miles and miles a day
To find another place to play”

-The Guitar Man by Bread

This is where the sexual orientation part actually has a purpose. He is dirty. They pretend he is one of the many transients who has been taken in by the bad guys to be turned into Trancers. The reason it matters is because he offers to have sex with her, and she tells him she isn’t into guys. That rules out a way he can get close to her in order to mislead her. That’s the last time it’s brought up. It’s better than that whole thing in Switch where he doesn’t have sex with the one girl because even though he is in a woman’s body and loves girl on girl, he is supposedly so homophobic that he can’t do it. It sounds even dumber when I write it out.

I forgot to mention that Bad, Bad, Hot Dog Man from earlier is here too.

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He’s the baddest hot dog vender in the whole damn town.

I couldn’t resist. It’s going to be awhile till I can reference it properly in a review of Sneakers (1992) where you get to hear it sung by some Chinese guys.

This is when the Waitress In The Sky…

shows up to tell us she is now Hell Bent For Leather…

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and give an inspirational speech to her people. She tells them that the ray gun attached to a fake meteor is going to make them powerful so they can fight back against the system. This lady volunteers…

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and turns into this.

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Remember that she looks like that after she is zapped because the movie will forget it when they go to zap Josephine even though it does that with every single other person. All Josephine will do is act like Kristen Stewart in Twilight: New Moon (2009), and they all believe she has been Tranced.

Some guy is brought in and torn apart by two of the Tranced ladies. Then they are taken to two people having a barbecue who they kill before being singed by Hot Dog vendor.

That’s when the film cuts to Flight Attendant and Castle. They do some plotting here that no one cares about. The importance of this scene is to remind us there actually was a crew that worked on this movie because we can see their reflection in the TV screen.

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Now we get a random sex scene between Flight Attendant and The Guitar Man. This is apparently how he reports to her. His penis must tell her somehow. Even more random, it cuts to things like this during the scene.

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This is now only halfway through the movie. Yep!

Flight Attendant keeps saying she is helping these extras who are about 20 years late to be zombies in Day of the Dead (1985). This stuff goes on and on and on.

I do like this guy in the background though who is training by lifting a road sign.

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This is how she looks after she has been supposedly Tranced even though everyone else looked like a zombie afterwards.

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She dodged it using another long second Breasts gave her. There’s also a thing about Flight Attendant’s butt knocking this over…

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even though it will have no purpose in the film that I could discern.

Now Josephine is sent off to bring in her scientist friend. He’s just brought in to provide convenient items when the plot needs them. Also, just before he is taken it looks like somebody’s hand appears slightly in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

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You’ve got the movie now. They all just hang out at this place while the scientist is forced to work on improving their Trancing so they can replace people in power. They do this till enough time has run out on the movie for the final showdown to occur. I’m not going to waste your time with a blow by blow of this part. Let’s cut to the fight, and summarize it with a musical number!

*piano music start*

Again! Run, Shoot, Shoot, Fight, Shoot, Aim

Again! Run, Shoot, Shoot, Fight, Shoot, Aim

Again! Run, Shoot, Shoot, Fight, Shoot, Aim

Again! Run, Shoot, Shoot, Fight, Shoot, Aim

Right! That connects with turn, Turn, go outside building, go inside building, Jump, Run, Run, Kick, Kick, Leap, Kick, Aim

Going on! And turn, Turn, Shoot, Duck, Back Up, Run, Pivot, Run, Walk, Walk, Walk

Now imagine that whole combination facing towards the cameras, and you have the battle.

There are a couple of plot things here such as the meteor being the source of the Trancing ray. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. They don’t even use it consistently. One minute it turns people into Trancers, then it’s just turning them mindless, then it’s blowing up ground, and then it’s making cars disappear.

The scientist gets stabbed in the back, the Flight Attendant gets her head blown off, and then boom!

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With that done, Josephine returns to kill Mr. Castle who turns out to be an alien.

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Now the movie actually sequel baits big time that Josephine is the new Jack Deth going out to hunt down the remaining Trancers. It seems like they really thought this would reboot the franchise.

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Everything is wrong with this movie. I honestly can’t give you one redeeming quality here other than maybe the pantyhose thing. The sad thing is that I can think of a way this possibly could have been saved. Rather than having Jack go back into the body of his daughter, have him end up in McNulty’s ancestor instead. The girl played by actress Alyson Croft who was not only in the original film as that character, but in the sequel too. She was good and pulled off the seasoned male cop in a young woman’s body well. I would have brought her back and just made up some nonsense that this time something happened causing Jack to end up in the wrong body. Quantum Leap broke the rules one time for that Civil War episode so Sam Beckett could take credit for saving Martin Luther King’s ancestor and giving him his last name. Why couldn’t they have just done that here? Croft was only 27 when this movie came out too so she certainly would have been young enough for Full Moon. What a shame.

I just probably gave this particular installment in the Trancers series more attention than anyone else or that it even deserved. Well, we have one more to go after this. We will be going back to the original second Trancers movie that was made as part of an anthology film called Pulse Pounders (1988) and released on its own only a couple of years ago.

On the Border: BANDOLERO! (20th Century-Fox 1968)


cracked rear viewer

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BANDOLERO! was made at an interesting time in the history of Western movies. Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name” trilogy had begun to exert their influence on American filmmakers (HANG EM HIGH, SHALAKO). Traditional Hollywood Westerns were still being produced (FIRECREEK, 5 CARD STUD), but in a year’s time, Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH would change the Western landscape forever. Andrew V. McLaglen’s BANDOLERO! is more on the traditional side of the fence, though it does exhibit a dash of Spaghetti flavor in its storytelling.

Outlaw Dee Bishop and his gang attempt to rob a bank in Valverde, Texas. The heist is going well until rich Nathan Stone walks in with his beautiful Mexican wife, Maria. Stone tries to break it up, and gets shot for his troubles, thus alerting the attention of Sheriff July Johnson and his deputy, Roscoe. The lawmen successfully catch the gang as they’re leaving the bank. Stone dies, and Dee and…

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The Fabulous Forties #2: Second Chorus (dir by H.C. Potter)


I’m currently in the process of watching and reviewing all 50 of the films in Mill Creek’s Fabulous Forties DVD box set.  Yesterday, I got things started by reviewing Port of New York.  Today, I’m looking at the set’s 2nd film, 1940’s Second Chorus.

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As much as I love all of my Mill Creek box sets, watching Second Chorus reminded me of one of the drawbacks of watching a Mill Creek release.  Since Mill Creek specializes in films that have fallen into the public domain, a lot of their DVDs are more than a little rough.  The Mill Creek version was obviously transferred from a seriously deteriorated print.  As a result, the picture is often dark or blurry while the sound is occasionally iffy at best.  That’s a shame because Second Chorus is an entertaining little film.

In Second Chorus, Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith both play college students.  (Burgess is the wacky one while Fred is … well, he’s Fred Astaire.  He’s confident, he’s suave, and he’s always ready to perform.)  Fred appears to be in his late 30s while Burgess looks closer to 50 but, fortunately, their age is meant to be a part of the joke.  Fred and Burgess have intentionally failed their final exams for seven years so that they can stay in school and continue to lead the college jazz band.  They are perennial college students and who hasn’t known a few of them?  (Apparently, in 1940, there was no such thing as academic suspension.)

When a debt collector comes looking for them (apparently, Burgess bought a set of encyclopedias that he never paid for), Fred manages to charm the collector’s secretary (Paulette Goddard) away from him.  Paulette agrees to serve as Fred and Burgess’s manager and even manages to get them a job with real-life band director Artie Shaw.  (Shaw plays himself and seems to be perpetually annoyed whenever he’s on screen.)  Will Fred finally accept some responsibility, act maturely, hold down a job, and maybe win the heart of Paulette Goddard?

Now, I should point out that, while I enjoyed Second Chorus, Fred Astaire apparently considered Second Chorus to be the worst film that he ever made.  While Second Chorus is definitely no Top Hat, I think that Fred Astaire was being a little too harsh in his assessment. The music is good, the dancing is fun to watch, and the plot … well, who really cares about the plot? It’s undoubtedly a silly film that has very little going on underneath the surface but Astaire and Meredith make for a surprisingly effective comedy team.

And while nondancer Paulette Goddard may not have had as effective a chemistry with Fred as Ginger Rogers (but then again, who did?), I still loved watching them perform the I Ain’t Hep To That Step But I’ll Dig It number.  This entire number was reportedly filmed in one take.  Goddard had little dance experience but it didn’t matter because her partner was Fred Astaire and Fred was so good that he could make anyone look like a natural.

Second Chorus is an entertaining little movie.  Just avoid the Mill Creek transfer.