Monday, September 12, 2016

Trancers (1984)

Let's set the scene - in a place where political correctness has yet to be born, and hobo baseball is a hilarious joke set starkly against a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a time where a New Age soundtrack and glowing lights mean everything is okay, and punk Jingle Bells makes everyone feel better, in a place of moshing and hideous hair cuts, where you actually light your cigarette before you go inside...this is 1984. This is Trancers. Cue Jack Deth, Angel City PD. He's just time traveled back from 2247 to catch a villain that uses his psychic brain energy to convert the weak-minded into zombies that do his bidding. He's lighting matches with his teeth, blowing up corpses and fending off crazy old ladies that turn into zombies and attack him with a cleaver. As dr_foreman says, this is truly "the eternal struggle between detectives and zombies."
This movie is filled with so many one-liners, you'll feel like you've been slapped in the face,

"If I see you in LA again, I don't care if you're a kid, an old lady or a kitty cat, I'm gonna kick your ass."

Not to mention all the other verbal ice cream sundaes:

"Did you mean what you said to me last night?
- Yeah sure. What did I say last night?
You said that making love to me is like the ethereal union of two lost souls."

Mmm, lick it up.

Have I waited this long to mention that Helen Hunt stars in this sci-fi flick? What a travesty. Hey, sweet confederate flag jacket Helen Hunt. It suits you.

The trailer for this film almost says it best:
"Jack Deth is back. And he's never even been here before."

So do yourself a favor, and spend some time with the good kind of Trancers.

Final Judgement: "Dry hair's for squids."/"You're swaying in the strike zone!"/Time travel never seemed so right.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ticker (2001)

While pawing through mounds of action movies in my living room, this movie was an easy choice for me, mostly because it has so many of my favorite actors all in one movie. The stars, oh the stars. We're talking Dennis Hopper, Steven Seagal, Ice-T (it counts!), Jamie Pressley, Tom Sizemore, Nas, and, can you believe it(?), the bad guy from The Mask! What a crew. Like, how could I not watch this movie? And then I see that it's set in San Francisco, my old hood, and that completely seals the deal. So much glee, so much anticipation. Alas, it became clear to me early on that getting all of those amazing actors all into one movie was the last bit of effort anyone bothered to put into this movie. Don't worry, it's still an epic film (or else I wouldn't review it) - just one with little to no effort put into it.

When I first started watching this millennial classic, I thought to myself, "Wow, they managed to get all known movie cliches in one movie! Impressive!" A little further into the film, I found myself saying, "Dang, not a single line in this movie is original. In fact, I am pretty sure that every single line has been said in between 1 and 100 other action movies." Not much later, I was pretty much convinced that the makers of this movie didn't actually know how to write a script so they just used a computer to randomly sort the occurrences of certain themes and output an algorithm of what should happen in their movie. The result is the most cliche action movie I've ever had the pleasure to witness. But it was a pleasure. Sort of a morbid pleasure, but a pleasure none the less.

And hey! I wasn't that far off! It turns out that this movie looks hastily done because they threw it together in 12 days. 12. Days. In fact, Dennis Hopper was only on set for 1 day, and he didn't even meet any of the other actors. Impressive! Definitely coulda fooled me. I suddenly feel a whole lot better about that horrid Irish accent that he brought to set with him for that one lonely day. Let's just say that the only believable characters in this movie are the members of the blues band at the club.

And perchance did any of movie seem oddly familiar? Don't worry, you're not magical - it's just because a 12-day budget doesn't allow for those old-fashioned hoo-diggy things like cast and crew. Instead, they took the smart way out and "borrowed" footage from 8 other movies to, you know, just, like, fill out this one, make it a normal movie length. Sweet deal. If you're at all tempted, you can see a list of all the movies they used on the imdb trivia site.

But there are a few - nay - several things that make this movie both redeemable and postable, beyond the "lunchbreak cameo by Ice-T" (thank you Kastore). Let me go ahead and list them for you here:
1) Massive explosions with sad Irish music over them, 2) the most sophisticated interrogation techniques I've ever seen, 3) Dennis Hopper saying things like, "That, Pooch, is the very essence of our existence. Synchronicity. Synchronicity," in his Irish accent, and last, but definitely not least, 4) Steven Seagal practicing Zen preacher skills. Yes, he's a Zen bomb-defusing ninja. That alone could save any movie. And so it does. So it does.

Final judgement: I do not regret watching this movie.