TRANCERS 5 features the gimmicky pairing of a '90s anti-hero from Earth with characters whose origins are very loosely Shakespearean. The result is flat, lumbering, deja-vu entertainment.
In his fifth adventure, cynical detective Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) travels through space and time to the Land of Lord Caliban (Clabe Hartley). In previous installments in the TRANCERS series, Deth has allied himself with the Tunnel Rats resistance fighters, making a dent in Caliban's tyrannical
reign. Nicknamed Wolf's Head, dauntless Jack Deth pits his urban smarts against the supernatural Trancers, who suck out people's lives to preserve their domain. Joined by Caliban's rash son Prospero (Ty Miller), who's cast his lot with the underdogs, Jack must make his way to the Castle of
Unrelenting Terror to seize the jewel he needs for inter-dimensional travel, now that his time/space machine is destroyed. Meanwhile, Caliban's partisans revive their deposed ruler through a magical portrait.
Deth and Prospero elude the seductive illusions at the Castle, though Deth still doubts his companion's loyalty. Unlike Jack, freedom fighter Shaleen (Terri Ivens) sacrifices herself on occasion to restore the health of trancing rebel-in-the-making Prospero. After Jack Deth defeats both a
fearsome creature and a doppleganger, he gets his hands on the jewel. But Caliban appears and locks up Jack and Prospero. Summoning the spirit of his mystical painting, Caliban slips away with impunity. Although the ruling class reclaims the palace, Caliban's comeback is short-lived. Caliban
scores for the bad nobles by stabbing Jack, but Lucius (Mark Arnold) is defeated by trancing trainee Shaleen and Prospero cuts down his father, seizes the jewel, and joins Jack Deth for a fast getaway to LA.
This simplified synopsis doesn't begin to catalogue all the trancing episodes, swordplay, and supernatural apparitions in TRANCERS 5, but the episodes are so similar they all run together. Never has a film started off with so much regurgitation of plot points from previous entries in the series
(by comparison, PUPPET MASTER 5 is a model of lucidity). Combined with cryptic, pseudo-medieval dialogue, the result is a jumbled disarray; one suspects that a TRANCERS film festival would quickly lose even devoted fans of the series, because each movie shamelessly cannibalizes the one that
preceded it. Wiped out by chronic sequelitis, the viewer quickly tires of watching this '90s know-it-all (a character that is itself a variant on the '40s slap-em-around detective) make fools out of ersatz medieval simpletons. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity.)
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