Trancers 6: Life After Deth (2002) — Gender swapping can’t save this series

“Trancers: not really alive, not dead enough, until I’m through with them.”

Justin’s rating: Girls are weird, amirite?

Justin’s review: If you manage to scrape up a Trancers fan from somewhere and mention the sixth film, expect a whole lot of denial, redirected anger, and kicks to the family factory. It’s not that this is the black sheep of the franchise; it’s the intestinal worm that wound its way through the black sheep only to be left steaming in a field of audience indifference.

Full Moon couldn’t afford Tim Thomerson this time around, which should tell you something about the available budget at play here. Instead, they slap a picture of Helen Hunt on the side of the fridge and reappropriate stock footage from prior films to give Jack Deth an introduction before sending him back to 2022 and into the body of his daughter, Jo. I guess we’re back to how time travel worked in the first film, because everyone here seems ignorant that they have much more convenient time capsules.

In any case, Jack has to figure out who is trying to kill his space-enthralled daughter and put an end to them — and all of the trancers popping out of the woodwork once more. The big question here is why the trancers are back after Jack Deth having (supposedly) killed them all in the third film. The answer is, naturally, “space rocks.” Just go with it. Seriously, please do, because if you don’t, Full Moon won’t be able to feed its employees. This trancer cult is led by a woman who gives her rap sheet as “heroin, armed robbery, prostitution,” which was on many G.I. Joe character bios.

Zette Sullivan has her hands full playing Jo as a woman possessed by a guy, and… well, I’m not going to be unkind. Sometimes she manages, but often she does not. I guess it didn’t matter how well she played the role, because fans come to Trancers to see Thomerson, not some random Doctor Who incarnation, and this no doubt felt like a slap in the face to the loyal fanbase (who were the only ones showing up to watch this, let’s be honest).

I do appreciate that they made some effort to get this series back to some semblance of continuity, because I was beyond tired of that two-part diversion in FantasyWorld. The long second watch, trancers-as-zombies, and time traveling through ancestors’ bodies are all welcome returns… it’s just that it takes place in a film with a $20 budget and so many close-up shots that many times I doubted if the actors were in the same scenes. Or the same continent. It’s also kind of laughable how this movie sees the world of 2022, what with its CRT monitors and people writing their schedules down in paper address books.

Even though everyone looks like they were pulled off the film crew to double as actors — because they actually, totally were — at least the movie is competently assembled. That’s not often something you can say about low budget disposable flicks. It’s just that the story and characters don’t offer a compelling reason to stick around. No doubt that Full Moon was hoping for some sort of renaissance with this series, but it proved to be a rather lame epitaph instead.

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