Future Cop V: Sudden Deth (1994)
By: Paul Ryan on July 13, 2010  | 
Big Sky Video | All Regions, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 2.0 | 72 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: David Nutter
Starring: Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller Clabe Hartley, Terri Ivens
Screenplay: Peter David
Country: USA
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Stranded in the parallel world of Orpheus following the events of Future Cop IV: Jack of Swords, Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is on a quest to track down the one thing that can send him home, a mystical jewel called the Timeond. Much to Jack's displeasure, his sole ally in his quest is Prospero (Ty Miller), a Trancer (though a "good" one) and turncoat son of the vanquished Trancer ruler Caliban (Clabe Hartley). Their quest takes them to the fabled Castle of Unrelenting Terror (which with its bevy of spectral belly-dancing beauties, is actually more reminiscent of Monty Python's Castle Anthrax, but I digress), while complicating matters – a little, anyway – is a resurrected Caliban, determined to destroy Jack and vanquish the human-led resistance once and for all…

The trials Jack Deth suffers in the Castle of Unrelenting Terror are nothing compared to what the viewer has to endure. Tedious, under-produced and slow-moving – even at 72 minutes – Future Cop V: Sudden Deth is a real effort to sit through. Jack and Prospero's quest is thoroughly unexciting, with uninteresting challenges (evil doubles, distracting sirens, etc), dull action scenes and a general air of half-heartedness throughout. Compared to the still-impressive first entry, there is no sense of urgency whatsoever, with the ending a foregone conclusion. By this point in the series, virtually all of the elements that made the first few entries good, B-grade fun – fast pace, amusing time travel concepts, film noir look - have gone, and the hard-bitten, Phillip Marlowe-esque Jack Deth looks completely out-of-place in this fantasty setting. Thomerson nonetheless gives it his best, but even he can't carry this tired, dreary dud.

A rumoured falling-out between Thomerson and Band (reportedly over how the former was paid by the latter for these last two films), coupled with Full Moon's ongoing financial problems, meant this was the last time Thomerson appeared in a Future Cop/Trancers film (though it appears they patched up things enough for him to cameo as Jack Deth in Band's Evil Bong). For the absolute Full Moon completist, there is one more entry in the series – 2002's Trancers 6, which was the first title this reviewer covered for Digital Retribution – but that one doesn't even have Thomerson (barring some clumsy stock footage) and looks like it was made for a fraction of what this one cost. Like so many other film series, the adventures of Jack Deth ended with a whimper, not a bang, but at least there was some real fun to be had at the start…
A little better than the previous two discs, this isn't as dark, but still quite soft. Colours are a little faded, there's a bit of pixilation here and there, and some telecine wobble is evident.
The end credits state that the audio was "mixed and recorded in a THX sound system theatre", but that hasn't carried over much to this DVD. There's a bit of stereo activity here and there, but nothing to get excited over. Dialogue is fine.
Extra Features
The making-of featurette looks at co-star Jeff Moldovan's fight choreography, and his unusual method of assigning animal characteristics to each performer. In response, Thomerson snorts, "Jack Deth don't be playin' no animals, y'understand?" We also get a look at how you shoot actors with arrows (interesting) and how the Timeond prop was made (not so much). There's also the original trailer. That is all.
The Verdict
Not quite as feeble as the subsequent sixth entry, but still pretty paltry, Future Cop V: Sudden Deth is for series fans only, and even they might be calling themselves squids for sitting through it.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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