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The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989) (NTSC)
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Details At A Glance
Menu Animation & Audio
Introduction-Lloyd Kaufman (President Of Troma)
Audio Commentary-Lloyd Kaufman (Director)
Featurette-Comments By Fangoria Managing Editor Michael Gingolo
Featurette-Comments By Videohound Author Mike Mayo
Featurette-Tour Of Troma
Gallery-Photo-Toxie Family Album
Featurette-Scenes From Tromaville Cafe TV Show
Featurette-Toxie 2 On Japanese TV
Featurette-Toxie Fifteen Years Later
Year Of Production
||Cast & Crew
NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.
†† Troma's follow-up to their most successful movie of all time,†The Toxic Avenger, is the sadly disappointing Toxic Avenger Part II. After young nerd Melvin (Mark Torgl) was transformed into a massive radioactive hulk following his exposure to nuclear waste, he took to the streets of Tromaville and transformed it into a crime and evil-free utopia, mostly through disembowelling.
† † Life has become peaceful and enjoyable for the citizens, who enjoy pursuits such as†"walking" and "dancing". Unfortunately, the evil Apocalypse Incorporated soon sees the potential of the city to become a horrible wasteland, and after blowing up a home for the blind they trick the Toxic Avenger into going to Japan to find his estranged father, leaving them free to murder and maim the innocent. Will our big radioactive hero survive and return to stop the onslaught?
†† With a scattershot mess of a plot that makes nearly no sense and constantly hints of racism, The Toxic Avenger Part II is a film that just does not work. Co-director and Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman jokes that Troma films are "hard-hitting satire", and even in joking the original Toxic Avenger was very much based on parodying comic book style superheroes in an exploitative B-grade fashion featuring†nudity and extreme graphic violence, whilst taking on underdog themes and corruption in a loose but entertaining and hilarious fashion. The Toxic Avenger Part II lacks it all; subtext, originality, humour, even the violence is stunted: extreme and repulsive in the first film, each scene is just stupid and nonsensical here. The film constantly winks at the camera, and the result is that none of the film is serious, believable or worth caring about, with most of the stupid humour falling flat (such as Toxie windsurfing to Japan, or making a hedge trimmer weapon out of a swordfish).
†† While Troma films are typically recognised and slandered over being B-grade filmmaking, what they tend not to be is bad filmmaking; as I've written in previous Troma reviews, it takes a fair degree of talent to take a low budget and use it to make a film that looks and sounds like a real movie, and even more talent to make it engaging, funny and entertaining to watch. That Troma tends to deal in the lowbrow shouldn't raise ire; consider the sheer volume of Hollywood films dealing in fart jokes and scatological humour, and then consider the finesse in which Troma actually does do interesting, edgy, occasionally smart films about or featuring transgressional topics like fetishistic sex, extreme violence, child abuse and even incest. Unfortunately, The Toxic Avenger Part II is not one of these films, and there's numerous reasons why this is; shot back to back with the third Toxie, the two films were originally going to be one before there was heightened interest from corporate funders and then the production suffered numerous setbacks including extreme cuts by the MPAA and distribution problems. These don't forgive the disappointing mess that it is, but offer some insight into why the film doesn't measure up to either the original, or the next two sequels.
†† With this in mind, there's still several scenes here that are worth watching, especially for Troma and Toxie fans who want to bridge the films in the series. These include an amusing moment involving a dump truck annihilating a horse-drawn carriage,†a scene involving baby-branding, an insanely gory set piece where an evildoer's leg is cut to pieces with a cleaver, and a later scene in which a transvestite is kicked repeatedly in the face. If only the whole film could maintain this high level of quality. A disappointment, but one still essential for the fans,†The Toxic Avenger Part II†is below average.
Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.
†††The video is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
†††The video transfer has a lot of problems, falling into the "average" category in the Troma quality spectrum. As a direct NTSC conversion, there's lots of bad interlacing and aliasing, which is particularly noticeable when there's text on the screen, but there's a surprising amount of film artefacts present across the film. There's even a particularly nasty occasion of digital breakdown at 51:01, which looks extremely awful. The use of different types of footage is also obvious, particularly when stock footage and flashbacks to the previous film are used. †† On the other hand, this is a consistently bright and detailed transfer, with a lot of sharpness and lovely bright colours flourishing onscreen. Shadow detail is not very good, however very little of the film is dark, with the majority of it looking lovely and cartoonish as the screen explodes in extreme violence. A mixed bag, then, it's definitely not on par with the†Toxic Avenger 21st Anniversary Special Edition, but it's not nearly as awful as†Rabid Grannies.
†††There are no subtitles.
Video Ratings Summary
†††The audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0.
†††For a low budget film, this audio track is very effective. Although simplistic, lacking any surround and using minimal subwoofer, it's very clear and very audible, doing the different effects and music justice. Sound effects range from the typical horrific violent sounds to effects you'd usually find in cartoons, which ham up the onscreen action accordingly.
†††The dialogue is a slightly different story, with some really bad ADR here for many of the Japanese parts, who have awful English voices dubbed over their lines, which often don't sync onscreen. It all remains audible, though, and the issue can mostly be understood as being part of the low budget foreign production issues. The music is also well mixed, although a mix of great Toxic Avenger themes and truly terrible other music, so the less said the better.
Audio Ratings Summary
|Surround Channel Use|
Animated Menus with Audio †††The Toxie-inspired menus reek of radioactive waste and mutation, complete with a creepy orchestral rock theme that puts you right in the mood!
Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman (0:39) †††A much shorter intro by Lloyd for this film, I suspect because it's one of the most poorly received Troma films and thus there's little to talk about. In shiny 1.33:1 that looks better than the actual film. Might I also add that this is forced when you go to play the film, and unskippable, an issue present on most Troma DVDs, and it's extremely annoying.
Commentary by co-director Lloyd Kaufman †† Lloyd earns my†blessing quickly, opening his commentary track discussing the many many different cuts of the film that derived from battling with the MPAA, a move that he describes as being long before they understood the Hollywood game, one that is only won by "the sons and daughters of the Hollywood elite. No, scratch that, only the sons of the Hollywood elite. No, scratch that too, the white sons of the Hollywood elite." Lloyd is one of the all time best DVD commentators, and even at his worse he always has a lot to say on the making of his films, on the business itself, and plenty of†hilarious little anecdotes about Troma and the people who make up the Troma family. Very funny and charismatic, as well as occasionally crude and profane, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to his commentary here, joined by Troma editors Gabe Freedman and Brian McNolty; he acknowledges a lot of the failings of the film as well as discussing the odd circumstances that led to it being made and the problems encountered, that seriously diminished the final experience. Additionally, his discussion on animal cruelty and Japanese tea ceremonies never failed to amuse.
Toxic Family Album †††A collection of "never-before-seen" movie stills from the production of The Toxic Avenger Part II, these are unfortunately small images that you can scroll through, including some nifty shots of a bearded Lloyd Kaufman alongside the usual violence and gore - I just wish these were better quality, preferably as huge jpgs on a DVD-ROM. Have galleries on DVD video discs ever made sense to anyone, with the poor resolution and inability to scroll through them with ease?
Interactive Tour of Troma Studios †††The same interactive tour as seen on many of the Troma DVDs, this is great fun for fans with several sections to explore. Features extreme violence and gratuitous sexual content!
Radiation March (0:53) †††An extremely strange, surreal dance clip thatís really a public service announcement against pollution. I have no idea what this is doing on this DVD, aside from being very clearly in the vein of Troma, itís a bizarre though enjoyable addition to the package.
Toxie 2 on Japanese TV (3:07) †† This is an odd one - it seems to be Japanese promotional material for the Toxic Avenger franchise, with two TV presenters discussing something in Japanese over various clips of and behind the scenes of both The Toxic Avenger and The Toxic Avenger Part II. The quality is pretty awful, in 1.33:1 as if recorded†from VHS, and not understanding anything that's being said doesn't help. A totally confusing extra.
Scenes from the Tromaville Cafe (4:52) †††A scene from Troma's Edge TV in which Lloyd, several Tromettes and various members of the Troma team are celebrating Toxie's birthday, but he's not in the birthday mood, as he realises he is a b******. Fortunately, Sgt. Kabukiman is there to teleport him to Japan (which looks a great deal like New York) where he can try to find his father. Instead, he finds God, and the skit ends with a repulsive moment that asks the seminal question "Got milk?" It's briefly amusing, and goes on too long, but Troma fans know what to expect - in nifty 1.33:1.
All I Learnt About Filmmaking I Learnt From The Toxic Avenger (1:15) †††A short trailer for Lloydís book, featuring Michael Herz, Sgt Kabukiman, and a random scantily dressed girl.
Toxie Fifteen Years Later (3:51) †††A "Behind the Music" style mocumentary short about the life of Toxie. Now living with his second wife, his life is mostly dedicated to starring in home improvement†television programs. Relatively insane, fans will dig it. Grainy, interlaced 1.33:1.
Aroma Du Troma (2:00) †††An extremely violent two minute montage of Troma clips advertising their most infamous films, with all the nudity and gore you can poke a stick at. It ends with a car flying through the air into a boat and exploding.
Public Service Announcement (3:36) †††An excerpt from Tromaís Edge TV offering 90 seconds of uncut gratuitous nudity as a solution to those trapped in a hotel room unable to afford the cost of inhouse pornography.
Public Service Announcement #2 (2:28) †† The Vice President of America Al Gore, who's now a bearded black man, is here to talk to us about global warming, while two naked girls make out and rub ice on each other's bodies. Also, fart jokes! The best d*** DVD extra ever made. Surprisingly good quality 1.33:1.
Interviews - Fangoria Managing Editor Michael Gingolo (1:54), Mike Mayo the Video Hound (1:47), †Lisa Gaye (2:15)
††† These brief interview with†various industry people discuss Troma films and other tidbits, specifically relating to experiences with Toxie. Not essential viewing, but okay. In different levels of video quality in 1.33:1.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
R4 vs R1
NOTE: To view
non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually
also NTSC compatible.
†††The R1 and R4 are identical except for the same omissions plaguing other Aus Troma releases - the Troma Intelligence Test and Trailers are missing - I'd recommend whichever is cheapest, unless you HAVE to own the two extras.
†† The Toxic Avenger Part II is a pretty awful movie. Toxie deserves better!
†††The video and audio are both B-grade average.
†††The extras are plentiful and plenty entertaining for Troma fans.
© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
|DVD||LG LH-D6230, using Component output|
Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
|Speakers|| B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)|