Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.: Unrated Director's Cut (1990) (NTSC)

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Released 21-Sep-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Cult Introduction-Co-director Lloyd Kaufman
Audio Commentary-Co-director Lloyd Kaufman
Gallery-Photo
Featurette-A diverse range of Troma type features
Trailer-Troma trailers
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 104:52
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered 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 Rick Gianasi
Susan Byun
Bill Weeden
Thomas Crnkovich
Larry Robinson
Noble Lee Lester
Brick Bronsky
Pamela Alster
Shaler McClure
Jeff Wineshmutz
Joe Fleishaker
Fumio Furuya
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $14.95 Music Bob Mithoff


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 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

     Ancient prophecy: during a once in 1,000 year alignment of the stars the Evil One will be unleashed upon the Earth. The only person who can stop him is the Kabukiman, with his ancient powers passed down through the generations. Now Sato (Fumio Furuya), the current Kabukiman, is about to pass on his powers. However, wealthy industrialist Reginald Stuart (Bill Weeden) has other ideas and he orders his thug Rembrandt (Thomas Crnkovich) to kill both the incoming Kabukiman and Sato. But just before he dies Sato passes on his powers to the nearest person: Sgt. Harry Griswold (Rick Gianasi) of the New York Police Department. The powers effect Griswold at different times and in strange ways. For example, he gains a liking for raw fish and transforms at odd times into the superhero Sgt. Kabukiman. Unfortunately, he is unable to control his transformations or his special powers so he turns to Sato’s granddaughter Lotus (Susan Byun) for help and she becomes his teacher. Together they must face the crime wave unleashed by Stuart in conjunction with the Reverend Snipes (Larry Robinson). But time is running short: will Griswold be ready in time to face the challenge of the Evil One?

     Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is what one expects from a Troma film. In the first 5 minutes we have nudity, violence, humour, blood, gore and gross acts of indecency with worms and it pretty much continues in the same vein from there. The acting is on par with other Troma films (very poor, although Rick Gianasi is not too bad), the dialogue silly and while some sequences work, others look as if they belong in a different film, such as the clown chase scenes. Indeed, the tone is so varied it feels as though ideas were thrown together randomly just to see what might work. On the plus side, the film obviously had a bigger budget than many Troma films, shown by the motor vehicle chase and crash (the crash was reused in Tromeo and Juliet (1996)), as well as the sets, some of which look a cut above other Troma releases. As well, by far the best thing in the film is Susan Byun as Lotus. She moves and fights well, looks absolutely stunning (both dressed and undressed) and somehow manages to deliver some of her lines of dialogue with a straight face, such as “the Dragon will dance through the hoop of Jupiter and at that moment the monkey will ride the jaguar and the tiger will feast on the nubile . . . ”. That is no mean achievement: try it at home!

     The character of Kabuki-Boy first appeared as a villain in The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989). That film was partly made in Tokyo and Kabuki-Boy was transformed and got his own film when Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman jokingly mentioned at a Japanese press conference that he was making a movie about the character and Japanese investors became interested. As Kaufman reveals in his commentary, part of the reason for the film’s jumbled tone was that the Japanese investors were expecting a “family friendly” film with toy and game spin-offs, and Kaufman was caught between producing such a film and the usual Troma excesses. Clearly, the Troma excesses won. The film does have its moments, but is only intermittently funny and it is saddled with a plot that throws diverse ideas and sequences together. Not the best of Troma, but far from the worst thanks to the delectable Susan Byun and a slightly bigger budget.

     Note. When you select the film from the menu an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman (0:51) plays first. If you press skip on the remote you are taken back to the main menu. If you don’t skip, you are taken to the scenes menu, where you select the first chapter to commence the film. A very messy way of starting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33.1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical ratio is listed as 1.85:1.

     Kaufman in his introduction states that the DVD is digitally remastered; this may be so, although the reviews of the earlier DVD releases indicate that the film was one of the cleaner Troma titles. While there are still frequent dirt marks, grain and aliasing they are really not too bad and not as excessive as in, for example, Class of Nuke ‘em High. The film also paused for a fraction of a second on a number of occasions, including 8:01, 30:58 and 64:32. Although brief, the pauses were noticeable.

     The picture is soft and lacking detail and sharpness is only reasonable. Colours varied substantially; sometimes they were very muted, while elsewhere, such as Griswold’s Kabukiman costume or the final version of the Evil One, they were quite vibrant. Skin tones were fine, brightness and contrast varied considerably. Blacks were good, especially during the finale in the night, although shadow detail was often indistinct.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 384 Kbps that is functional. This is a mono track and all sounds emanated from the centre speaker.

     Dialogue was mostly clear although the sound level did vary throughout the film so some dialogue became indistinct, and the lack of subtitles didn’t help. The music and effects were predictably flat. There was no surround or sub use.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The score was a combination of the annoying Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. theme song by Dan Skye & Paul Short and a classical operatic sounding score by Bob Mithoff “inspired” by Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. “Stolen” would be closer, but no less effective because of it!

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The cover of the DVD is misleading when it lists special features. For example, it lists a “Brand new audio track by Rick Gianasi, star of Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D . This is in fact approximately a 9 minutes long section included under the “Circumstantial Evidence” section - How I became a superhero: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. spills his guts.

Introduction by Lloyd Kaufman (0:51)

     This plays before the film – see comment above.

Commentary by Lloyd Kaufman

     This commentary does not appear on the extras menu. Select from the remote, audio channel 2. Kaufman is interesting and generally informative, covering a number of aspects of the production, various actors, locations, family cameos, continuity goofs and working with animals. Apparently the monkey was a real stinker until he was almost eaten by the lion! Well worth a listen.

Mutant Flying Fish Sushi Stills

     21 movie and behind the scenes stills. Silent screen, use the remote to advance.

Circumstantial Evidence (total 22:05)

    Includes the following featurettes

Coming DVD Distractions

     Trailers for Troma titles: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (3:35),The Toxic Avenger (3:10), Tromeo & Juliet (2:12) and Class of Nuke’em High (2:55).

Bonsai Interactivity

     Although on the menu, this feature which includes the Troma Intelligence Test and Tour of Troma Studios cannot be accessed from the menu. It is however on the DVD; use the remote to access the chapters.

Credits

     Silent page of film and DVD credits.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 0 US release is identical to the Region 4 release, down to the NTSC format.

Summary

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. has been released twice before in Region 4 and each version has been reviewed on this site: the JJC Entertainment release here and the Stomp Visual release here. Is the new release worth an upgrade?

     The earlier JJC release has the Circumstantial Evidence featurettes, different trailers, but no Kaufman commentary. The Stomp version contains basically the same extras, less the trailers. The video and audio on all releases appear similar. If you have the Stomp version there is no need to upgrade as all versions are the unrated Director’s Cut. Kaufman notes that there was a kid friendly PG cut at some stage, but this does not seem to be available. Perhaps just as well – it would hardly be a Troma film without the sex, gore and violence!

    Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is what one expects from a Troma film. In the first 5 minutes we have nudity, violence, humour, blood, gore and gross acts of indecency with worms. The film does have its moments, but is only intermittently funny and it is saddled with a plot that seems just an excuse to throw some ideas and sequences together. Not the best of Troma, but far from the worst thanks to the delectable Susan Byun and a slightly bigger budget.

     The video and audio are what one expects of Troma. The extras are worthwhile, although not as extensive as the DVD cover would suggest.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def 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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