Reviewed by Guy Adams.
In Sweden they eat soured herring. The fish is fermented in a tin for six months, stored with just enough salt to stop it actually decomposing. When the tin is opened, the smell is so strong, so repellent that people eat it outdoors for fear of ruining their homes.
How would you review soured herring? If you love it, you love it, everyone else thinks it’s evil stink fish in a can. It is the epitome of acquired taste.
So let’s talk about Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
The movie opens with a voice-over (from Stan Lee, fact fans, credited as ‘Peter Parker’). The voice-over apologises for the previous two sequels, as well it might, and promises that this is the “real” follow-up. Excelsior.
We jump to the Tromaville School for Very Special Children. The, and I quote, “retards” are learning about Mexicans. They are doing this by smearing nachos on their faces (except for Tito, the class rebel, who, not in the mood for spicy snacks, is masturbating over an ‘Over 50s’ porn magazine).
The classroom is invaded — Columbine style, an intentional ‘satire’ on director, Lloyd Kaufman’s part — by the Diaper Gang. They are wearing nappies and wielding guns. Most of the gang threaten the students with the aforementioned guns, one decides to just slap people repeatedly in the face with her breasts. They are bloated, veined bowling balls but the recipients of their mammillary blessings seem unmoved.
The leader of the gang will only talk to a reporter from the Bikini Channel. Little do they know that the bikini-almost-clad model and her large cameraman will turn out to be the Toxic Avenger and his “morbidly obese” sidekick Lardass in disguise.
Cue, the copious, lingered-on in close-up, be-shitment of nappies, the wholesale slaughter of the kids from machine-gun fire and a brief interlude that allows the Toxic Avenger to dash home and impregnate his wife, leaving Lardass to try and save the day by smothering a bomb in peanut butter and eating it. Oh, and Tito the masturbating rebel pops to the broom cupboard to enjoy a little heroin (“Being a teenager sucks. Being a ‘tarded teenager sucks worse. The drugs make it suck less.”)
For extra comic-effect, do tune in to Lloyd Kaufman’s commentary where he discusses the fact that, by not editing out footage of the World Trade Centre in the opening shot, Troma is one of the few movie production companies not to have lost their moral compass.
While the previous sequels were surprisingly dull, that is not a criticism that could be levelled at Toxic Avenger IV. Actually, it’s probably the only criticism that can’t be levelled at it.
Like 88Films previous releases, the Blu-ray comes with plenty of special features, three commentaries (director, writer and editor… unusually for low budget moviemaking, these are three separate people, just goes to show how Troma had gone up in the world by 2000), outtakes, deleted scenes, interviews and even a feature length making of documentary.
Do you like Troma? Do you like the Toxic Avenger? Then get stuck in, it’s well-fermented. If you don’t then avoid open the can inside your home, the smell will cling forever.