Tag Archives: Paramount Home Video

Trancers II (1991, Charles Band)

Without its cast, Trancers II couldn’t possibly succeed. It’s an unfortunately limited success as is, but without everyone’s enthusiasm–regardless whether they have a good role or not–the film just couldn’t work. There’s a whole bunch of charm to Trancers II, but only the cast is actually able to deliver on any of its potential.

Jackson Barr’s screenplay, for example, is pretty solid. It’s not great, but it gives all the characters something to do–well, most of them. It’s director Band who screws up the execution of it; all of the film, he goes between this boring close-up one shots on each actor. It’s not editors Andy Horvitch and Ted Nicolaou’s faults, it’s pretty obvious there’s just not the coverage. And it sucks because there’s a lot of good work and even more potential to Trancers II.

I mean, for a very cheap, awkwardly (in terms of acknowledging it) campy, sci-fi thriller, it’s got a lot of potential. Certainly for better parts for its cast, who do a lot with often very little. Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt and Biff Manard are all good. Manard’s performance suffers because of Band’s direction. Thomerson and Hunt run into the limits of Barr’s screenplay–and how Band directs those scenes–but they’re good. Richard Lynch is good as the bad guy. Alyson Croft is good as future cop Thomerson’s partner’s teenage ancestor. Megan Ward is all right as Thomerson’s future wife (Hunt being his modern day wife). She tries. She doesn’t get the support she needs from Band, but Ward does try.

Phil Davies and Mark Ryder’s music is occasionally good, occasionally bad, often mediocre. But there are some definitely high points. Bland photography from Adolfo Bartoli doesn’t help matters. Not to mention Band wasting Jeffrey Combs.

Trancers II is this odd but great concept poorly executed.

1/4

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Charles Band; screenplay by Jackson Barr, based on a story by Barr and Band and characters created by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo; director of photography, Adolfo Bartoli; edited by Andy Horvitch and Ted Nicolaou; music by Phil Davies and Mark Ryder; production designer, Kathleen Coates; released by Paramount Home Video.

Starring Tim Thomerson (Jack Deth), Helen Hunt (Lena Deth), Megan Ward (Alice Stillwell), Biff Manard (Hap Ashby), Art LaFleur (Old McNulty), Alyson Croft (McNulty), Telma Hopkins (Cmdr. Raines), Martine Beswick (Nurse Trotter), Jeffrey Combs (Dr. Pyle), Sonny Carl Davis (Rabbit) and Richard Lynch (Dr. Wardo).


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Dollman (1991, Albert Pyun)

Wow, I’ve never written about an Albert Pyun movie for the Stop Button? I hadn’t realized how lucky I’ve been over the last five years not to see one. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Pyun movie as an adult.

Dollman went straight to video. Some of it looks like it might have been shot on video too, really bad video, but it’s not like good film stock was going fix this one.

The film sort of defies description. I was expecting The Incredible Shrinking Man with a wisecracking cop (played by Tim Thomerson). But it’s nothing along those lines. Even though Thomerson’s human-looking alien cop is only supposedly to be thirteen inches tall, there’s not a single scene of him interacting with some oversized prop or an exaggerated set. Dollman‘s too cheap for those effects.

It’s too cheap for a lot, apparently. Thomerson has a double for long shots, one with completely different hair. The double does some of the process shots too, for when Thomerson’s on screen with regular-sized people.

The script’s a disaster–it’s more of a social piece about the Bronx than a sci-fi action thriller–but there’s occasionally hilarious dialogue.

Thomerson’s pretty disinterested, but his lines usually go over well. The film also stars Jackie Earle Haley, playing a gang banger out of the seventies. Haley occasionally does really well. The script’s weak for him, but he’s got a lot of charm, even as a vicious moron.

It’s lame.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Albert Pyun; screenplay by David Pabian and Chris Roghair, based on a story by Charles Band; director of photography, George Mooradian; edited by Margeret-Anne Smith; music by Anthony Riparetti; production designer, Don Day; produced by Cathy Gesualdo; released by Paramount Home Video.

Starring Tim Thomerson (Brick Bardo), Jackie Earle Haley (Braxton Red), Kamala Lopez (Debi Alejandro), Humberto Ortiz (Kevin Alejandro), Nicholas Guest (Skyresh), Judd Omen (Mayor), Michael Halsey (Cally), Frank Doubleday (Cloy), Frank Collison (Sprug), Vincent Klyn (Hector), John Durbin (Fisher) and Merle Kennedy (Maria).


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