Toxic Avenger Part II, The (Blu-ray) (1989)

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Released 19-Jul-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Cult Introduction-Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary-Director Lloyd Kaufman
Featurette-At Home with Toxie (3:51)
Featurette-A Word from Villainess Lisa Gaye (2:15)
Featurette-Toxie on Japanese TV (3:07)
More…-Original DVD Intro by Lloyd Kaufman (0:41)
More…-Radiation March (0:56)
More…-The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years of Troma (2:03)
Trailer-Troma Trailers x 7
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 108:42 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Herz
Lloyd Kaufman
Studio
Distributor
Troma Studios
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Ron Fazio
John Altamura
Phoebe Legere
Rick Collins
Rikiya Yasuoka
Tsutomu Sekine
Mayako Katsuragi
Shinoburyo
Lisa Gaye
Jessica Dublin
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Barrie Guard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Toxic Avenger (John Altamura / Ron Fazio) has obliterated all crime and corruption in Tromaville. He lives in the toxic waste dump with his blind girlfriend Claire (Phoebe Legere) but suffers from depression and is seeing a psychiatrist because there is nothing left for a superhero to do! Toxic does spend time with Claire running activities at the Tromaville Centre for the Blind and he finds a cause when the dastardly Apocalypse Corporation and its Chairman (Rick Collins), seeking a site for a chemical waste dump, blow up the Centre for the Blind to have the property condemned. Toxic is, thankfully, on hand and although he cannot prevent the destruction of the Centre he does save Claire and defeats the legion of goons and thugs the Chairman and his head villainess Malfaire (Lisa Gaye) set upon him.

     It becomes clear to Apocalypse that they must get Toxie out of the way. In Japan Apocalypse scientists have come up with a special, but volatile, chemical substance which may neutralise Toxie’s powers; to get Toxie to Japan they bribe his psychiatrist to tell Toxie that his depression will be cured if he finds his father, who is currently in Japan. So Toxie heads to Tokyo, by windsurfer; there he saves a young Japanese woman Masami (Mayako Katsuragi) from a potential rape and she then helps Toxie to find his father, Big Mac (Rikiya Yasuoka), in a fish market. But sadly for Toxie, Big Mac turns out to be a crime boss and drug dealer, so Toxic has to battle a diverse array of Japanese thugs before finally defeating his father and causing his death. Distraught, Toxie returns home just in time to stop Apocalypse’s takeover of Tromaville, save Claire from an attack by the “Bad Girls” led by Malfaire and to meet his real father.

     The Toxic Avenger Part II uses a completely new cast from The Toxic Avenger, including two different actors as Toxie because the first actor John Altamura was fired during production. Not that it matters, as acting and continuity are not priorities for a Troma movie. Nor is plot and The Toxic Avenger Part II is rarely coherent as it is essentially little more than a collection of gross out violent scenes. For example, in the first twenty minutes Toxie battles the Apocalypse goons during which we see a man squeezed to death in a wheelchair with blood and guts flowing, arms and ears are ripped off, eyes gouged, heads explode with sprays of blood, headless corpses dance, blood spirting from their necks. This last act highlights the nature of the violence in The Toxic Avenger Part II; it is totally gross, over the top and played for laughs, the mayhem in this sequence accompanied by the jaunty Duke Ellington / Irving Mills tune It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.

     When Toxie gets to Tokyo there is a sort of travelogue of Tokyo’s sights, some nudity, more crass and gory violence using a variety of weapons including fish, a Bruce Lee impersonation and of course, this being Japan, sumo wrestling also gets a look in and a joke. From here the film runs out of steam for when Toxie returns to Tromaville the most that the writers can come up with is a motorbike and car chase that, while a few cars are trashed, is really lame and nothing inventive.

     The Troma trademark school of acting is also in full view. Most Troma films contain exaggerated overacting that is barely under control; in The Toxic Avenger Part II it is out of control, with Phoebe Legere extremely annoying (although, in her defence, the part is far more of a bimbo than the Sara of the first Toxic Avenger) while Rick Collins is not far behind. There are still some humorous moments; if you throw in enough jokes a few have to work out, but these moments are not frequent enough. Indeed, some of the funniest things are watching the bemused reactions of Japanese people in the background of shots while the film was shooting without permits. Continuity is laughable; in one fight scene between Toxic and two costumed opponents the fight takes place in quite heavy rain but in the cuts to onlookers they are in full sunshine. The other interesting thing is that none of the extensive sections of Japanese dialogue are subtitled (in the previous DVD release, some of the Japanese dialogue was subtitled, although a lot wasn’t).

     The Toxic Avenger was a major success for Troma, so of course there had to be a sequel. They did try to cut costs (probably spending all the money sending some people to Japan) and for example they use a mask for Toxie rather than the make-up of the first film, and it shows. The first film was crass, bloody, gross, violent and over the top but it did play a lot of the violence ostensibly straight, the humour coming because it was so crass and extreme. The Toxic Avenger Part II is just as gory and over the top, but it plays the sequences obviously for laughs which is one reason, in my view, that it does not work as well.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Toxic Avenger Part II is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78.1, in 1080p with the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This HD presentation is a vast improvement over the previous SD prints. There is softness in the wide shots but close-ups are firm and blood and gore clear. Colours are good. There are some speckles, but nothing distracting and grain is nicely controlled. Skin tones are fine, blacks are pretty solid and although some shadow detail was lost it was not too bad.

    There are no subtitles, not even of the Japanese dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
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Audio

    Audio is a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track at 192 Kbps. The commentary track is the same.

     The dialogue was clear and easy to understand. Effects were quite loud and sharp, including the explosions. There was occasional slight hiss.

     Lip synchronisation is off in the Japanese sections where the characters spoke English, as all were dubbed.

     The score by Barrie Guard adds the Toxic Avenger Theme Song as well as sampling Amazing Grace and It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing. The music called attention to itself on many occasions, so I guess suited the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
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Extras

Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman (3:06)

     Plays on start-up prior to the menu; Kaufman promotes the Blu-ray release of The Toxic Avenger Part II while touring the sights of Copenhagen.

Commentary by Lloyd Kaufman

     Kaufman normally provides fun commentaries but, recorded in 2002, this is not one of his best and not as good as his commentary on the previous DVD release. He sits with a couple of Troma editors and is very dead pan and tongue in cheek as he talks about the different cuts of the film, identifies scenes that were not in the originally released DVD, issues with the MPAA, stunts, fight scenes and gore, how this sequel came about, the cast, the three different actors who played Toxie, why part of the sequel was made in Japan, Japanese food, their experiences of shooting in Japan, dubbing the Japanese actors and mistakes they made. Part of the issue with the commentary is that it is not in sync with the film, so that when Kaufman identifies actors, mentions locations and things of interest it is about 5 minutes before that sequence occurs on the screen, which is rather annoying.

At Home with Toxie (3:51)

     Toxie shows off his 2nd wife Vicki, his 800 acre property Mutant Meadows and his stately home. He has come a long way from his home in the Tromaville Toxic Waste Dump!

A Word from Villainess Lisa Gaye (2:15)

     Gaye talks about the Troma film experience and shows off some of her assets.

Toxie on Japanese TV (3:07)

     A Japanese TV promotion for the film with some behind the scenes footage. In Japanese, no subtitles.

Original DVD Intro (0:41)

     Lloyd Kaufman provides an introduction to the original DVD release and displays some merchandising.

Radiation March (0:56)

     Anti-pollution message in the Troma style.

The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years of Troma (2:03)

     A Troma promotional tape.

Troma Trailers

     Trailers for Troma titles: The Toxic Avenger (3:10), The Toxic Avenger Part II (2:19), The Toxic Avenger Part III (3:00), Citizen Toxie (3:28), Troma’s War (3:46), Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 (3:24) and Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 2 (1:48)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This release of The Toxic Avenger Part II is almost the same as the US version, with the same extras and the US FBI anti-piracy warning. However, a review of the US Blu-ray I read indicates that it is only 480i, not the 1080p we get. That would make our release the preferred version.

Summary

     The Toxic Avenger Part II has been released in Australia twice previously on DVD and each was reviewed on this site here and here. Each of those releases was a different cut version of the film, running 102:49 and 95:13 respectively. This Blu-ray release is short on extras in comparison to the DVDs but it does, for the first time in Australia, contain the uncut version of the film running 108 minutes (not 95 minutes as stated on the Blu-ray cover) complete with the extra gore and the previously missing scenes in Japan. For a summary of the additions check out the movie-censorship site here.

     The Toxic Avenger Part II has its moments but the silly acting (extreme even for a Troma film) and lack of a coherent plot means that the film conforms to the generally accepted lore about sequels. However, fans of the film or Troma will know what to expect. Most fans will probably have a copy of the film but certainly the video of the Blu-ray is an improvement over the SD versions by some margin and this is the full uncut version of the film so I think for fans an upgrade is warranted even though the extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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