The third film of the Trancers franchise takes a more detailed look at the Trancers themselves and their creation whilst sticking to the positives of the original series but is let down by the obviousness of its even lower budget.

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When I watched the original Trancers a few weeks ago, I was unaware of any sort of sequels and thought it was simply a one off sci-fi/action B-movie. Then I discovered there was six and have thus begun to watch the rest of the franchise, with number three being the most recent one I’ve seen.

Number three begins in 1992 where Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) lives alone having been divorced by Lena (Helen Hunt – who only has two scenes). Then he is kidnapped by a shark-head robot called Shark (or Godzilla to Deth) and taken to the future. tumblr_musra0rxnf1qav0w2o1_500

Here it is explained that despite Deth’s victory over Whistler and his brother in the first two movies, not much changed in the future and in fact the Trancers are winning the war. Deth is then sent back to year 2005 in an attempt to stop them from every existing.

In 2005, which the film opts to look and be pretty much the same as 1992, we are introduced to our new female lead R.J. (Melanie Smith) who is part of an army experiment headed by the threatening Colonel Muthuh (Andrew Robinson). The experiment involves drugging people into a trance state releasing inner strength and making them perfect soldiers… although as we see the results are not yet perfect.

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Much like in Trancers II much of the plot is laid out on the table in the opening ten minutes, allowing the rest of the film to focus on the interesting things – in this film the Trancer experiment themselves and the villain Colonel Muthuh. The problem is that these things just as interesting and the characters just aren’t as strong. Melanie Smith although she tries hard just doesn’t have the same screen presence as Helen Hunt and is far too shy in front of the camera to play the dominating female character she is supposed to.

The film, being made for TV, has a lower budget than the previous two films (which where already cheap to begin with) and this is obvious right from the start with dodgy effects, crappy scenery and stunted performances making the film difficult at times to watch… this isn’t helped by the inclusion of several bizarre and pointless scenes such as a sex-trancing and a Gladiators style fight scene. The costume for the ‘Shark’ character is also one of the worst and cheapest ones imaginable and his presence has almost no purpose in the movie. The entire things feels a little thin in comparison to the previous two films and for the first time in the series I am sad to say it felt like a Terminator rip-off rather than its own original story.

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For all the flaws this film has it does however keep the heart of the previous two films; with the Trancers (with even better make-up), Jack Deth’s character and the best villain of the series so far making it entertaining.

Trancers III is a solid film that does not reach the heights of the previous two but hints at greater things to come in the next installments, I hope.

6/10