Story: A few years have passed since Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) defeated the nefarious Whistler, so he has settled into the world of the 90s quite well, enjoying life with his wife Lena (Helen Hunt). Things seem to be calm and the future is bright, at least until another time traveler starts causing problems and Jack has to return to active duty. A mysterious villain known as Dr. E.D. Wardo (Richard Lynch) has used time travel to visit the 90s and construct a “tracer farm,” where he has managed to create a virtual army of tranced people to serve his crooked ends. Wardo is abducting homeless citizens and mental patients, then turning them into tranced servants, so of course, Jack is hot on the case, though a visit from his “future wife” complicates things at home. Can even Jack Deth take down Dr Wardo and keep his home life from imploding?
Entertainment Value: Trancers was a fun flick, with some fresh sci/fi elements and a good sense of humor, so I hoped that would signal a trend for the sequels that followed. In the case of Trancers II, those positive traits are still present, just in lower doses and surrounded by rather mundane, forgettable elements that dull the shine of those positives. The narrative is fine, repetitive perhaps, but fine and it sets up the movie for action, humor, and b movie vibes like the original, though it winds up bogged down in the less than entertaining aspects instead. I liked parts of Trancers II, especially the weird baseball guy and that wild baseball game, but there weren’t enough of the charming or fun sequences this time around. Jack is still fun at times and rattles off some one liners and the cast is able to make more out of the material than it deserves, but it simply isn’t consistent enough. There is too much emphasis on a convoluted story that feels a lot like a retread of the first Trancers, rather than running with the humor and b movie threads that made that film so much fun. I think there are some fun scenes here and I wanted to love this one, but it just doesn’t click like the original.
Trancers II has a good cast, complete with returning cast members from the core roles, which is another reason its hard to believe it turned out so mediocre. Tim Thomerson is someone I can watch in anything and he certainly tries to make this material work, bringing his usual charm and humor, but he can only do so much here. He delivers the line with enthusiasm, but the one liners aren’t always as sharp in this one and the script just kind of gives him a goose egg to work with. His scenes with Helen Hunt are fun and once the love triangle emerges, that is a humorous scenario. The movie works better for me when it lets the characters loose to be silly and cheesy, as it adds to the b movie fun, so more of that and less drawn out exposition would have been welcome. Jeffrey Combs is here as well, but he doesn’t do much and that’s a shame, as he often shines in this kind of movie. The cast also includes Barbara Crampton, Martine Beswick, Sonny Carl Davis, and Richard Lynch.