The Toxic Avenger Part II. Film Review

DIRECTOR: Lloyd Kaufman & Michael Herz
SCREENPLAY: Gay Partington Terry
STARRING: Ron Fazio, John Altamura, Phoebe Legere
RUNNING TIME: 109 Minutes
FORMAT: Blu-ray
Reviewed by Guy Adams

A few months ago, 88Films released their lavish UK blu-ray of The Toxic Avenger, the movie that gave birth to the divisive, ever-amusing Troma Studios as we know it (the film that launched a thousand shits? No?) It was loaded with extras and, I hope, terribly successful for them as it was gloriously fun and an excellent presentation.

No great surprise then that we now have the sequel. Longer, sillier and even more self-indulgent it sees the chemical-waste infused superhero take a trip to Japan to meet his father. Well, no, that suggests the move is plot based but it clearly isn’t, it’s just so we can have fun in Japan for forty-five minutes, show some naked Japanese girls, and have lengthy, ludicrous martial arts sequences involving fish. Which is fine.

Back home in Tromaville, the evil Apocalypse Inc. is up to no good, but will Toxie arrive back in time to save the day? Do we care? Not really. You don’t care about Troma movies, you sit back and let them slap you in the face.

Perhaps Troma is best summed up in the performance of Phoebe Legere who plays Claire, Toxie’s girlfriend. Phoebe Legere is composed entirely of hairspray, suspenders, small items of colourful lacy fabric, an accordion and an acting style visible to the blind. Which is good, as she’s playing a blind person, in that falling over furniture and laughing sort of way. You’re never sure if you’ve fallen utterly in love — or lust — with Phoebe Legere or want to see destroyed via an airstrike (nothing less would do). That’s Troma, adorable and unbearable in equal measures.

The film opens with Apocalypse Inc. attacking the School for the Blind where Claire works (by which I mean totters about in her underwear spraying people in the face with a hose, nice work if you can get it). An endless array of assassins march out of a stretch limo to kill the Toxic Avenger. One of them is a kung-fu dwarf. The Toxic Avenger rolls him up into a ball and plays basketball with him.

Am I making this sound offensive? Well, it is I suppose, but all offered in such a gleeful, kindhearted sense of lunacy that it’s impossible to dislike anyone for it. Troma just wants to have so much fun that eventually the audience will too.

Like their previous disc, the blu-ray comes with lots of extras, behind the scenes footage and interviews where Lloyd (misspelled, most appropriately, as ‘loud’ on the 88Films website) Kaufman and actress Lisa Gaye shout at you. There’s also a commentary from Loud.

THE TOXIC AVENGER PART II is as unhealthy, brightly-coloured and possibly fatal as the toxic waste that gives its hero his powers but also such mad, exuberant fun I challenge anyone not to grin inanely at it for a few hours.