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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Trancers [Blu-ray] (aka "Future Cop")


(Charles Band, 1984)




Full Moon Blu-ray in US (exact same?):



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Empire Pictures

Blu-ray: 88 Films



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:16:43.265

Disc Size: 36,453,925,407 bytes

Feature Size: 20,355,975,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 24th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1862 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1862 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2117 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2117 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps






Feature length Audio Commentary by Director Charles Band and star Tim Thomerson

Trancers: City of Lost Angels (Pulse Pounders Episode believe lost for 25 years and now finally restored and completed) (24:41)
Flashback Weekend Trancers: City of Lost Angels Premiere Documentary (7:16)
Pulse Pounders Show West Promo (1:22)
Cybercrime: The Making Of Trancers Documentary. Featuring Director Charles Band, Jack Deth actor Tim Thomerson and writers Danny Bilson and Paul de Meo (14:29)
Rare Archive interviews with Tim Thomerson, Megan Ward and Helen Hunt (2:01
High Definition Stills Gallery
Preview for Dungeomaster Sequel (1:09)
Trailers for Trancers 1-5
88 Trailer Reel (21:55)
Booklet Notes by Dr. Calum Waddell
Newly commissioned artwork by Rick Melton
Reversible Sleeve Incorporating Original Artwork




Jack Deth - a bounty hunter in the bleak Los Angeles of the future. He's become obssessed with chasing Whistler - an evil criminal who uses powerful hypnotic powers to convert people into zombie like creatures known as trancers. Whistler has managed to escape through time travel and is loose in 1980s L.A. but Deth is on his trail.



The Film:

After "singeing" psychic villain Whistler (Michael Stefani) – who was responsible for the death of his wife – Angel City cop Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson, NEAR DARK) has spent the last twelve years ridding the planet of "Trancers", the "not quite living and not dead enough" victims of Whistler's psychic powers. When his superior McNulty (Art LaFleur, ZONE TROOPERS) gets on his case for neglecting his regular assignments to go after Trancers, Deth finally turns in his badge and takes to diving for souvenirs in the underwater city of "Lost Angeles". He initially refuses the summons of the Angel City council until he is informed that Whistler is still alive. Council members Ashe (Anne Seymour) and Spencer (Richard Herd, PLANES, TRAINES & AUTOMOBILES) inform him that Whistler has gone back in time three hundred years to pre-quake Los Angeles to kill their ancestors, thus erasing them for the present in a bid for absolute power. In order to stop Whistler – who is inhabiting the body of his ancestor police lieutenant Weisling (also Stefani) – Deth will have to take over the body of his own ancestor journalist Phil Deth (also Thomerson). He seeks out the help of Phil's one night stand Leena (a pre-MAD ABOUT YOU/AS GOOD AS IT GETS Helen Hunt) to guide him through primitive Hollywood to find the council members' ancestors Chris Lavery (Michael McGrady, THE THIN RED LINE) and Hap Ashby (Biff Manard, THE WRONG GUYS), but she does not believe him until a mall Santa turns Trancer and tries to kill them. With Whistler Trance-ing the full force of the L.A.P.D., Deth and Leena are soon on the run with a minimum of weapons provided by council engineer Raines (FAMILY MATTERS' Telma Hopkins, who would also appear in two of the film's sequels) and even less help from McNulty whose only ancestor is an eight-year-old girl (Alyson Croft, MAID TO ORDER).

The most popular and successful of the four productions by screenwriting team Paul Di Meo and Danny Bilson (THE ROCKETEER – who I have a feeling would rather have been in Los Angeles directing this than in Italy helming the simultaneously-produced ZONE TROOPERS – for Empire Pictures' producer Charles Band (who directs here), TRANCERS would be resurrected as one of Full Moon Entertainment's direct-to-video series (with Hunt appearing in the 1991 direct sequel and Thomerson hanging on for four out of the five). The film moves at a good clip at seventy-six minutes, sometimes feeling like build-up has been elided, thanks to the effortless "tough guy" charisma of Thomerson and chemistry with a pre-MAD ABOUT YOU Hunt that makes their hasty attraction and sudden declaration of love workable amidst the small-scale action (the effects work of prominently-billed John Carl Buechler is surprisingly minimal). It's easy to see why this entertaining film is an Empire Pictures fan favorite, but one can't help but wish it had been a bit more ambitious overall given its winning aspects; as such, it has the aftertaste of assembly-line product more so than its sequels.



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Another, modest-budgeted, mid-80s science-fiction pop-corner, Trancers gets a dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray from 88 Films in the UK. I see it simultaneously came out in the US by Full Moon Films and I expect it is the same, region FREE, disc (it also lists the same extras).  It sneaks into dual-layered territory and has a solid bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The 1080P supports solid contrast and there is some minor depth in the 1.78:1 frame.  It's very clean, quite thick but seems a very strong representation of the original film.





















Audio :

88 Films give the option of a DTS-HD Master bump in 5.1 surround at 1862 kbps or a similar encode in 2.0 channel slightly more robust at 2117 kbps. The surround separations were, predictably, not very crisp but it did export some significant depth at times. A team of Mark Ryder and Phil Davies composed the score (both their very first for film) and it sounds like it benefitted from the uncompressed (via both tracks). There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


NOTE: We understand that the Full Moon, US, Blu-ray has Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks rather than lossless. (Thanks Eric!)


Extras :

We get a new feature length audio commentary by director Charles Band and star Tim Thomerson. It's amusing and informative with plenty of details including anecdotes about Helen Hunt. The 25-minute long Trancers: City of Lost Angels is advertised as a Pulse Pounders Episode believed lost for 25 years and now finally restored and completed. There is also a Flashback Weekend Trancers: City of Lost Angels Premiere documentary, a Pulse Pounders Show West Promo and a 1/4 hour documentary entitled Cybercrime: The Making Of Trancers featuring director Charles Band, Jack Deth actor Tim Thomerson and writers Danny Bilson and Paul de Meo. There are some, brief, vintage interviews with Tim Thomerson, Megan Ward and Helen Hunt, a stills gallery, some trailers and previews. The package has a liner notes booklet with notes by Dr. Calum Waddell and the case has newly commissioned artwork by Rick Melton and a reversible sleeve incorporating original artwork.



Tim Thomerson and Helen Hunt really help this film with their onscreen presence and chemistry. Trancers was exactly what I was expecting with the low budget effects being somewhat charismatic.   The 88 Films Blu-ray provides a decent, although not dynamic, a/v presentation - likely as good as it will get. The supplements add further value and I can see many enjoying this - for what it is - on their Home Theatres one late night. Recommended to those with modest expectations or aficionados of this sub-genre. 

Gary Tooze

November 27th, 2014





Full Moon Blu-ray in US (exact same?):



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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