The Toxic Avenger II (Blu-ray review, 1989)
Directors – Lloyd Kaufman & Michael Herz
Starring – Ron Fazio, John Altamura, Phpebe Legere, Mayako Katsuragi
Run Time – 96 minutes
Label – 88 Films
Toxie’s mean, green, and back on the screen! Melvin Junko was a nerdy 98lb weakling until he fell into a vat of toxic waste, turning him into the first ever superhuman superhero from New Jersey. This time the hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength takes on Tokyo. – 88 Films synopsis.
Lighter in tone than the original, if such a thing can be believed, ‘Toxie II’ is extremely daft, badly acted and full of cheap effects. A typical Troma studios pictures really, but one that was anticipated upon release in 1989. The original Toxic Avenger was quite a hit for such a low budget cheesy film and had developed a fanbase in the lead up to a sequel.
While Melvin felt compelled to fight bad guys in Toxie 1 due to his anti-bullying stance in this film the character has nothing to do. Literally, much of the film follows his exploits in Japan as he seeks his long lost ‘father’ instead of being in Tromaville.
As the Toxic Avenger is now caught in a soap opera storyline, done in true Troma fashion though, this detracts from the movie. Apart from the occasional silly fight scene the film concentrates on this storyline and involves a lot of dialogue. This means an awful lot of bad acting.
With this being Troma the bad acting is heightened as the actors ham it up. Phoebe Legere is the biggest culprit as Toxies blind girlfriend Claire. Her portrayal of someone visually impaired is to stare wildly into space and wave her arms around as she walks. The casting of this former musician, and her wearing of skimpy outfits, is clearly so she can add some eye candy to the movie.
Some of the already mentioned fight scenes will earn a chuckle for how frivolous they are. A school for the blind is attacked by the evil Apocalypse henchmen at the start of the feature, resulting in the Toxic Avenger beating them up. One henchman is a midget, Toxie picks him up and ‘squashes’ him into a ball. Later he grabs hold of someone’s arms and yanks them off, with the usual level of special effects being utilized to attain this image.
Behind the Scenes in Japan – A clip from a Japanese TV show featuring Mayako Katsuragi (Masami) being interviewed as footage is shown of the film being shot in Japanese streets. Poor picture quality throughout and there is no English translation.
Toxie Thoughts by Fangoria managing editor Michael Gingold – 2 minutes long, editor and sometime Troma actor Gingold talks about how he got involved with the film. He just showed up.
Tromatic Comments with Mike Mayo – 2 minutes long and seemingly shot in a vet practice, Mayo sings the praises of Toxie II.
Thoughts from Lisa Gaye – The lead female villain of the feature, Gaye discusses her Troma career in this 2 minute video. She proudly shows off her large breasts, Troma at it’s ‘finest’.
Scenes from the Tromaville Cafe – 5 minutes long video from Troma’s Edge TV, hostess Dsylexia and Lloyd Kaufman celebrate Toxie’s birthday. Sgt Kabukiman and Toxie go to Japan (which looks suspiciously like Manhattan) to finally find his father.
Most of the above have been released on other Troma home videos.
The disc also features a Kaufman commentary, trailers for the Toxie series and other 88 Films releases.
Ultimately this is not as good as the original but has the usual Troma charm to please those that ‘get it’.