Future Cop II (1991)
By: Paul Ryan on March 8, 2010  | 
Big Sky Video | All Regions, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 | 85 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Charles Band
Starring: Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Richard Lynch, Megan Ward, Biff Manard
Screenplay: Jackson Barr
Country: USA
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It's been six years since 23rd Century lawman Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) defeated cult leader Martin Whistler. Stranded in the late 20th Century, Jack has married the woman who helped him back in 1985, Lena (Helen Hunt) and keeps a regular eye on former baseball champ Hap Ashby (Biff Manard), the ancestor of the ruling council president from Jack's time. But something's not quite right in the city of Los Angeles, as a movement of environmental activists (recruited from the streets and mental hospitals) creates trouble for Hap – now a teetotaling millionaire – and holds captive in its ranks a woman named Alice (Megan Ward), who is actually Jack's doomed first wife, sent back from the future just prior to her death. Led by the nefarious Dr E. D. Wardo (Richard Lynch), the brother of the late Martin Whistler, the movement threatens to turn the entire population of L.A. into those crud-faced, brainwashed zombie warriors called Trancers. But can Jack defeat Wardo, protect Ashby (again), and juggle the inconvenient presence of two wives?

Future Cop II (or to go by the on-screen title, Trancers II) actually isn't the second outing for Jack and Lena, as they featured in a mini-sequel that was part of Charles Band's unfinished, unreleased anthology film Pulse Pounders which has remained unseen since Empire Pictures collapsed in 1988. But as we'll possibly never see that film due to swathes of legal red tape, this "official" sequel (produced by Band's subsequent production company, Full Moon) does a pretty good job of picking up where the first film left off. Reuniting most of the first film's cast, and adding an impressive roster of B-movie faces (including Hammer vet Martine Beswicke, and Re-Animator stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton), there's a lot to enjoy here. This is despite some static direction from Band, with lots of close-ups of actors delivering their lines direct to camera. Veteran B-villain Lynch brings his usual icy presence to his bad guy role, and Megan Ward is very cute as Jack's "other" wife. Thomerson and Hunt are great as usual, and while the script lacks the wit of original writers Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, there are some oddball lines dotted throughout ("Goddammit MacNulty, the next time someone hands you an exploding ham, I'm gonna pass the mustard!!") that are ably delivered.

You do wish Band was more of a dab hand at action scenes, with the climactic shootout marred by flat staging and a camera that doesn't move much, but for a low-budget, made-for-video flick, you could do far worse.
A massive step up from the abysmal transfer of the first film (possibly the single worst transfer I've seen outside of public domain bargain bin fodder), the video for Future Cop II isn't without issues, but is overall pretty good. Presented in its original 4x3 ratio (as it was made directly for home video in the days before widescreen tellys), there are odd bits of telecine wobble, and a slightly soft image in places, but there are also very few film artefacts to be found. Big Sky have added the text "aka Future Cop II" under the original title in the opening credits, which is unnecessary and annoying, though thankfully they haven't slapped a trailer for the next sequel over the end titles like they did with the previous entry.
The 2.0 audio has a few nice stereo effects here and there, and all dialogue is clear throughout.
Extra Features
Bloopers: The same seven-minute reel of goofs and behind-the-scenes mucking about that appeared on the first Future Cop disc, though at least this time it's been attached to the correct film. Thomerson struggles to keep a straight face throughout, Band smooches Hunt in mid-scene and Crampton has a few dialogue fluffs.

Trailers: Along with the original trailer, the disc comes with previews of the first and third Future Cop installments and a trailer for Puppet Master II. The theatrical trailer for the first Future Cop is faded and soft, but still looks far cleaner and better detailed than the full DVD, whilst the second and third film's trailers have some ugly frame rate issues. It would have been really nice if the behind-the-scenes "Videozone" featurette that accompanied the film's original US video release had been included here (particularly as they were never included on any of the original Australian Full Moon releases back in the day), so its absence here is disappointing.
The Verdict
Not as sharp or as clever as the first film, but good fun all the same, Future Cop II has a who's-who of B-movie faces and some amusingly silly touches. Big Sky has done a much better job on the video transfer this time, although extras are minimal.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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