Blu-ray Review: The Toxic Avenger Part II

Starring: Phoebe Legere, Lisa Gaye

Director: Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz

Rating: 7/10

toxic-avenger-part-two 2In one of the special features on this disc, Fangoria editor Michael Gingold, who was on extra on the film, points out that Toxic Avenger Parts II and III were originally supposed to be one movie, which perhaps explains why Part II feels rather padded out. This time round, Toxie finds himself targeted by a chemical conglomerate with designs to take over Tromaville. Unable to put a scratch on him with their legions of goons, they trick him into heading for Japan where other trials await him…

Japan? That’s random. But actually it’s the saving of the movie. There’s more brains on the floor toxic-avenger-part-two 3than there is in the script in the daft first half hour which mixes extreme gore with heavy-handed Mad-style facetiousness, but once the action switches to Tokyo the energy picks up considerably. The Japanese cast seem to instinctively grasp the Troma idiom and give it their own spin, and there’s lot of fun to be had, with travelogue scenes of Toxie visiting the sites and an unforgettable moment where he clamps a baddie’s nose in a waffle iron. Strange fish jokes abound, some attractive locations are well-exploited, and there’s an ebullient cameo by real-life Japanese TV personality Tsutomu Sekine.

toxic-avenger-part-two 5All of this is so vibrantly colourful and strange that it goes a long way towards making up for the film’s many flaws, the most notable of which is a peculiar tentativeness in the characterisation of Toxie himself. As with 88 Films’ release of Toxic Avenger, the transfer is excellent. Tromavile Centre for the Blind’s flower garden looks extremely bright and dewy, and the later tea ceremony in the park is very lush.

Of the extras, the highlight is the audio commentary by Lloyd Kaufman. This starts off slightlytoxic-avenger-part-two 4 rambling but soon becomes extremely informative as he reminiscences fondly about shooting in Japan, talking about the excellence of the crew and the enthusiasm of the extras (apparently the nude ladies in the bath house scene worked for free). We also learn that Phoebe Legere (who plays Claire, Toxie’s girlfriend) designed her own barely there costumes – so there you go, she had only herself to blame.

 

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