Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (Trancers 4: Journeys Through the Darkzone) Reviews
Thomerson is still firing the wisecracks but the medieval setting for this is really bad looking. This kind of location can either work looking quite authentic or not work and look really obvious, this is the latter. Everyone is running around what looks like some local woods (you expect to see them run into a car park half the time) and a Romanian castle but you can tell the sets a mile off. Lots of really iffy looking fights, weapon usage and a really cheesy baddie at the top of the tree.
Plot wise its getting a bit messy, horrendously corny and badly cliched...actually I kinda lost the plot to be honest. Too many characters and little sub plots going on with rather messy direction and editing. still it doesn't matter as in the end you know Deth will win somehow.
I like this films title I might add, not really sure how it relates to the events in the film but its kinda cool.
The story here makes more sense than most Full Moon releases and Jack Deth is back fighting trancers... lots and lots of trancers.
With plenty of comedy and action, this Trancers outing should please fans but for some reason it doesn't. Is it the mix of a fantasy setting with the scifi or were fans just wanting more of the same from the previous outings?
I'll admit the time travel to a medieval world is a little tired and Jack Deth doesn't seem so badass without his super gun but this film still worked for me and continuing on in the direction the previous films had been down would have probably seemed just as tired. Worth checking out at least once.
Deth, still singeing Trancers and other monster scum through time, this time gets a new hot, hard ass female boss. After butting heads Jack then heads back to work but thanks to a hidden monster in his time machine, he gets catapulted to an alternate medieval dimension that, of all things, also has Trancers! So Deth with the help of some human rebels and a rogue Trancer (son of Caliban, leader of the tracer cult), decide to rise up and do what Deth does best, singe some Trancer ass!
The trancers here are a little different here (though a good definition of them is never given in the previous films) as they are more vampire like. They suck on their victim's necks, turning them different colors until they just vaporize. It's really cheesy and I wouldn't even call these bastards Trancers as they really seem to have no psychic abilities or turn yellow and zombie-like. They just seem to be extremely strong, aristocratic, asshole vampires.
I do like the concept of throwing Deth into a medieval setting but the film is very poorly executed. The worst aspect is the production values which are extremely low even compared to the previous films. The second problem is the plot set up as the plot is broken up into two separate films. Yes this and Trancers 5 were filmed back to back so the film ends on a very abrupt note. This also means that we are also graced with a extremely short running time and a extremely long, boring title sequence to pad the clock. The acting is also beyond terrible especially with bad actors spouting off badly written medieval dialogue with "thee" and "thou".
You know what pisses me off the most though? How they did away with the android Shark. Shark was set up in the previous film like he was going to be returning badass character in sequels to come but right away we are told that he was destroyed in a mission (his head is even used as a lamp at Deth's home). Thanks a lot for ruining that concept Full Moon!
Tim Thomerson still makes this disappointing sequel worth watching thanks to his tongue-in-cheek one-liners. Fans will definitely find something to like. Stay tuned for Trancers 5... if you actually care to see the tie-up that much.
As we enter this entry in the 'Trancers' franchise, the plot lines from the previous three entries have all been tied up, and so this movie takes us off in a totally different direction. With a very large fantasy element, it drops Jack in a medieval setting, and adds vampires to the mix (that call themselves Trancers - just enough plot to keep it part of the series), and on the whole this is not a good thing. The plots for these movies are not classics by any means, but 'Trancers 4' is really thin on the ground in the story department, and even at a lowly 74 minutes, it feels drawn out. Certain main plot points are never explained, and by the time you reach the finale, the whole thing is a bit of a mess, and the cliff-hanger ending just makes you wonder how they could stretch this out in to another movie. On the plus side, the lighthearted approach does make Tim Thomerson's comedic acting abilities shine through, and did have this reviewer giggling quite a few times. In the end this is not the best entry in the franchise, and one wonders if 'Trancers 5' will be any better.
The setting for this film does seem silly. This time, Jack is sent to an alternate universe where "trancing" is still being used for devious purposes. But this time around Jack is in a medieval setting instead of a modern/futuristic world. And this bizarre course for this film to take ended up bringing the series back on track, and Jack of Swords is on the same level of goofy fun that I enjoyed with the first two films, and missed with the third one.
Once again, Tim Thomerson takes charge of the character of Jack Deth and brings him to life unlike any way he has done in the previous films. There are a lot more comedic moments this time around, and Jack is at the center of a lot of them. On his journey to this alternate universe, some of Jack's technology has gone wonky. He has a watch that slows time down for ten seconds, but the user remains normal speed. This time around, the user is slowed down and the rest of the world is in regular speed. It was great watching Thomerson during this moment in the film, as it was watching him throughout the film.
The villains of the film are kind of neat. This time around the trancers are vampire-like. They use their special abilities to suck the life-force out of people, and have become sort of an unholy legion that rules over this world. I just wish there was more time spent developing Caliban (Clabe Hartley), the leader of this group. He wasn't menacing as he should have been, and Hartley wasn't very good with his performance. In the end, he become a throwaway nemesis.
I'll admit that Trancers 4: Jack of Swords felt like another filler entry in the series, but it still had enough good going for it to win me over. Since the filmmakers didn't appear to be taking this film too seriously, it helped break up the monotony that the series was getting into. It may not be a classic film, but it is still another enjoyable flick from Full Moon.
Tim Thomerson is a fine B-movie star, who became an icon of the genre as soon as he walked on the screen in the original. However, the sequels are not quite on par with the first film, although that doesn't mean they're all unwatchable.
In my opinion, Trancers 4 took a big risk for a big reward by taking Jack Deth out of his element, and trying something different. Hell, every franchise has to reinvent itself in order to continue, right?
The first three films had a detective noir mood to them, whereas this one (and part 5) have Jack on the run from vampiric trancers called Nobles in another world, far far away.
While it's more or less a forgettable movie ride for the majority of viewers, you still can't help but root for underdog Deth and his merry band of helpers, as flimsy as they are.
Being a low budget flick, you don't get any A grade special effects or a deeper meaning. All it is is a fun film, that barely runs an hour and a half. As a matter of fact, its sequel "Sudden Deth" is criminally short as well, which makes me wonder why they didn't just edit them together as one movie. I guess this tactic was accepted in the nineties, since so many others followed suit.
Not a bad entry, if you are in the mood. But part 5 marks the last of the real Trancers magic, before it was brought back in Trancers 6.