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Toxic Avenger Part II, The
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by Jack Sommersby

"Our Drano-Chugging Hero is Back"
1 stars

A good deal of the production budget went to its Tokyo location shooting when that money would've been far better spent improving the splatter f/x.

One of those ultra-low-budget Troma productions, The Toxic Avenger Part II is the sequel to the 1984 original, which was all too obviously conceived to emerge as a cult classic. It told the tale of a ninety-pound high-school nerd harassed by bullies who accidentally wound up falling into a can of toxic waste that transformed him into a superhero mutant who proceeded to clear his town of Tromaville of all its criminal element. It’s a couple of years later, and our hero isn’t having the greatest time of it: with Tromaville now a safe haven, he doesn’t have a whole lot to do; he’s bored and eking out an existence with his ditzy blind wife, with both of them working at a dilapidated retirement home. And it’s this very same location where an evil conglomerate, Apocalypse Inc., is aiming to take over to use as a chemical-dumping ground -- they dispatch a team of assassins to do in our hero, and, in an overlong, abysmally-staged action sequence, he does each one of them in with his grizzly-bear-like strength. (This mop-carrying mutant brushes his teeth with a toilet brush and ingests Drano like it were soda; and with the biochemical protons in his body producing “Tromatons” that sense evil and make him act to destroy it, he’s far from the kind of superhero Stan Lee would have envisioned.) With his enemies temporarily at bay, our Toxic Avenger gets word that his long-lost father who he’s never met is residing in Japan, so he makes his way over there for some sort of family closure, where he’s met with another array of adversaries but also a fifteen-year-old girl who’s impervious to his grotesqueness and befriends him. It turns out Daddy is a vicious mobster, and this inevitably puts our quintessential decent-hearted offspring against Daddy and his array of kung-fu henchmen, with the ensuing goings-on lackluster to the extreme. Gosh knows we don’t expect technical or contextual virtuosity from the folks at Troma, but even on an undemanding level The Toxic Avenger Part II is inert and lacking the macabre wit of the early gross-out works of Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) and Peter Jackson (Bad Taste) before they went mainstream on us. Neither of the credited directors, Michael Herz nor Lloyd Kaufman, knows a thing about camera placement, and in their big showoff pieces they definitely prove themselves the amateurs that they are. (You know you’re in trouble when the best part of the picture is someone exclaiming “Holy California Roll!”) Obviously, Troma isn’t vying for respectability, but, detrimentally, they confuse novelty with ingenuousness, thus rendering their stuff dead-on-arrival because they buy into the hogwash that an outlandish story premise in and of itself automatically equates into something successful. Not so.

For fans of the movie, the DVD offers a bountiful array of special features.

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originally posted: 02/22/15 01:49:04
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  24-Feb-1989 (R)



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