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|Category||Comedy||Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Animation & Audio
Scene Selection Animation & Audio
Featurette - Circumstantial Evidence
Featurette - Bonsai Interactivity
Trailer - The Rowdy Girls
Trailer - The Toxic Avenger
Trailer - The Chosen One: Legend Of The Raven
(Not 154 Minutes as per packaging)
|Case||Transparent Soft Brackley|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame?||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1?||
|Macrovision||?||Smoking||Yes, Sgt. Kabukiman smokes (literally) during the transformations|
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The film begins with Lotus (Susan Byun) and her grandfather, Sato (Fumio Furuya), performing a magic ceremony of some kind, while Lotus drones on about a prophecy that when certain astrological events take place, and the world is in its most violent state, an evil being will rise to plunge the world into darkness forever. The only thing that can stop the evil one, naturally enough, is the Kabukiman. Wait a minute, haven't I reviewed a Troma film with this plot before?
Nonetheless, we soon find that the current Kabukiman, Ichiro (Masahiro Yamaguchi) and his occidental wife (Traci Mann) have an unwelcome guest in their home, who proceeds to kill them and their children. One of the policemen assigned to investigate is Sergeant Harry Griswold (Rick Gianasi), who goes to see an amateur Kabuki theatre performance. As luck and a Troma script would have it, Sato is one of the performers in this play, and the whole event has been organised by Reginald Stuart (Bill Weeden) as a trap to eliminate Sato. When Sato is killed by Stuart's men, led by the oddly-named Rembrandt (Thomas Crnkovich), Griswold attempts to apprehend the villains, only to be given one of the most disgusting on-screen kisses I have ever seen by the dying Sato.
This, of course, is the method by which Sato passes on the powers of the Kabukiman to Harry Griswold, who, over the course of the next reel, becomes Sgt. Kabukiman. Unfortunately, this is not a smooth transition for him, with his initial exploits hampered by a lack of coordination and control, not to mention his general unwillingness to become the saviour of the world. However, after his lack of control results in his being suspended by Captain Bender (Noble Lee Lester), Lotus straightens him out and trains him to make use of his powers. Meanwhile, one of Kabukiman's colleagues, Connie LaRosa (Pamela Alster), is investigating Reverend Snipes (Larry Robinson), a corrupt minister who works for Stuart. Stuart finds out about this and sends his thugs to kill her, which they do with true Troma style.
From there on, it's an all-out war as Kabukiman uses an array of Kabuki weaponry such as bullet-proof fans and heat-seeking chopsticks to bring down Stuart, who becomes possessed by the spirit of the Evil One. What's even more frightening about this film, other than the revolting worm-eating sequences and the gore, is the fact that a sequel, Sgt. Kabukiman, L.A.P.D., is planned for release in 2002. This is definitely a recommended film for bad-movie nights, so sink your teeth right in.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. I am still willing to give Tribe the benefit of the doubt and go with my feeling that this is how Lloyd Kaufman intended for the picture to be presented, but if anyone can confirm or deny this, feel free to let me know.
The transfer is sharp, more so than any other Troma release I have reviewed to date, although it is still nothing to get particularly excited about. The shadow detail is acceptable, but is not all that much to rave about, and there is no low-level noise.
The colour saturation of this transfer is mostly dull and subdued, partially due to the age of the film stock. The exception to this is the Sgt. Kabukiman costume, which looks especially funny in the context of the drab New York locations. Some cross-colouration artefacts were noticed from time to time, unfortunately, but these were acceptable since they were infrequent.
MPEG artefacts weren't a real problem for this transfer, although some motion blur becomes apparent when the film is played in slow-motion. Although this isn't how people normally watch movies, it is still a slight disappointment considering how rare it has become in recent releases. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a moiré effect on the back of a lounge chair at 27:15, a moiré effect on Griswold's suit jacket at 30:25, and a combined moiré with cross-colouration at 36:45, as well as some telecine wobble during the end credits. These were the most noticeable film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, though they were only moderately distracting. Film artefacts consisted of numerous nicks and scratches on the picture, but these were slightly less pervasive than what I was expecting.
This disc makes use of the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 71:04. This is during a natural fade-to-black, making it very hard to notice, not to mention completely non-disruptive to the flow of the film.
The dialogue is usually clear and easy to make out, although the level at which the dialogue has been mixed into the overall soundtrack seemed to vary at times. Some of the quiet dialogue sequences in such places as Captain Bender's office were a little muffled, and the higher frequencies were a little edgy, but these were only minor problems. There were no real problems with audio sync, except for some rather marginal ADR at times. A brief drop-out was heard at 91:44, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this was just sloppy editing.
The music in this film can be divided into three parts: contemporary numbers coordinated by Reggie Atkinson, a theme song by Dan Skye and Paul Short, and a score by Bob Mithoff that was, according to the credits, inspired by Madame Butterfly. Like the movie, it is thoroughly B-grade and very proud of it.
The surround channels were not used by this soundtrack, which is a slight pity considering the opportunities presented by the sounds of flying chopsticks. In any case, the subwoofer took mild amounts of redirected signal and added a nice floor to the soundtrack in spite of not being specifically encoded. Overall, the soundtrack is a good, but not great, example of a stereo soundtrack.
The video quality is reasonable.
The audio quality is okay.
The extras are numerous.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|