Friday, April 24, 2015

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II (Blu-ray Review) - Troma

Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz
Written By:
Color/108 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: April 14, 2015

The Film
In the follow up to Troma's break out hit from 1984, Toxie is living with his girlfriend and helping out around the Tromaville Center For The Blind until Apocalypse Inc. comes in and slaughters damn near everyone to set up shop for their toxic chemical dump. Knowing that Toxie will fight them every step of the way they devise a plan to get the hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength to travel to Japan to find his long lost father where they have a chemical waiting that will strip Toxie of his powers.

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II is more of what we came to love five years earlier but with more ridiculous writing and comedy. While Toxie isn't busy fighting ninjas and kabukimen he's eating plastic noodles (because that's what the Japanese eat!) and using fish as weapons. When he finds out his dad is smuggling cocaine inside of fish one of the big fight scenes, which there are plenty of, breaks out and Toxie must make his bitter reunion with his father a short one. The Japanese scenes were filmed in Japan where Toxie damn near hit rock star status and it lends an air of credibility to the picture making it's small budget look far bigger than it really was.

The acting is what you'd expect from any Troma production. Overacting runs rampant and is encouraged, dubbed fart jokes are plentiful and most of the story is hokey as hell. It's all lovable but I feel like it lost a little bit of the mean spiritedness that the first film had that really allowed the comedy to shine as an equalizer to the sleazier side of things. I still love this film for all of its faults and victories. It is a mighty fun ride through Tromaville and Japan filled with fights, farts and tits. Oh yeah, there's a good bit of gore in one particular scene that is hilarious!

I must add that this cut is substantially longer than the previous DVD so there's plenty of added footage here that makes this release worth checking out on its own!

The Audio & Video
Troma gives THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II its North American Blu-ray debut with very mixed results. Early reports I had read tore this disc apart, and I can see why. It is far from a home run but to call this disc a total disaster really isn't fair. It is a decisive upgrade from the DVD, which admittedly isn't saying much. The HD presentation isn't particularly sharp and detail levels fluctuate greatly. However there are some quite nice looking shots. Unfortunately they're usually stuck between a lot of mediocre looking scenes. There's a bit of damage remaining on the source material inlcuding scratches and speckling that would have been nice to have seen cleaned up and restored. The 16x9 anamorphic transfer leaves a lot to be desired but it isn't a Rabid Grannies level travesty.

The English audio sounds fine. It's a clean and clear mix with no background noise or damage that I noticed. The mix between dialogue, including voice overs, and the soundtrack is great and there's never a moment where dialogue gets lost in the mix. The A/V job is a serviceable upgrade to the DVD.

Please note: Screengrabs have been taken from the DVD and DO NOT reflect the quality of the Blu-ray.

The Extras
-Audio commentary with the directors
-New introduction by Lloyd Kaufman
-"At Home With Toxie" featurette
-"A Word From Villainess Lisa Gaye"
-"Toxie On Japanese TV"
-Radiation March
-Original DVD intro
-The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years Of Troma
-Troma Trailers
-DVD version of the film

The Bottom Line
While this is far from what I'd call a "definitive" release it is an upgrade both in terms of additional footage and slightly with the A/V. While a bit light on the extras as none of them are anything substantial aside from the commentary track I still recommend the release.


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