Action, Adventure, Comedy, Horror, Sequel, Super Hero

The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)

Comments Off on The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989) 10 May 2015

toxic blu ray

Studio: Troma

Theatrical Release: February 24, 1989 (limited)

Blu Ray Release: April 14, 2015

Director(s): Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Arguably Troma’s most popular hit, The Toxic Avenger was a huge success for the New Jersey company back in the mid 1980’s. Troma went on to create Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Surf Nazi’s Must Die, and Rabid Grannies which all helped launch the company into notoriety. It was inevitable that a sequel to their biggest hit would eventually resurface. In 1989, The Toxic Avenger Part II was released (shockingly the original video release was by Warner Brothers) to an even wider audience. But like most sequels, the film didn’t live up to the expectations that fans had hoped for.

Melvin and his blind main squeeze Claire (not sure why they changed her name from Sarah to Claire, as she was once called in the original film) now work for a school that helps the blind. Tromaville has been cleaned of crime and the Toxic Avenger has all but retired. However, the evil corporate toxic company Apocalypse Inc. wants to take over Tromaville and need to somehow get rid of the Toxic Avenger who stands in their way of domination. After a failed attempt to kill off the Toxic Avenger at the School of the Blind, the company decides the psychological route may be the only way of defeating the superhero.

Toxic Avenger Part II

Knowing that the New Jersey superhero never knew his father, they plan a way in getting the Toxic Avenger to think that his long lost father lives in Tokyo. Wanting desperately to see his father, the Toxic Avenger travels to Tokyo while the evil Apocalypse Inc. take over Tromaville once and for all. While in Tokyo, the Toxic Avenger can’t help but battle crime while in this new setting. When he finds out his long lost father is a drug lord, the Toxic Avenger puts an end to him and travels back home to take on Apocalypse Inc.

Toxic Avenger part 2

The change of tone from the first film (a black comedy/ horror satire) to this sequel (a slapstick comic book action film) is one of the many reasons why this sequel is quite jarring. Characters are overly wacky and hammy to the point where it gets downright annoying. Many of the actors mug for the camera by making goofy faces as if that’s suppose to be funny. If it wasn’t for some of the gore scenes and nudity, the film’s target audience seems like it was aimed for children. It is unclear why Kaufman and Herz decide to change the tone that they had so successfully established in the original movie.

The toxic avenger part II

But the film isn’t a total failure. I did enjoy some of the fight sequences and overly graphic kills (yes, this is the unrated version unlike previous R rated releases in the past). The opening attack on the School of the Blind may be the best part in the film as its one long fight after fight after fight with various henchmen who all get dispatched rather brutally. I also enjoyed the Tokyo setting as a change of pace. But comparing this film to the original is like comparing apples and oranges, there is no comparison.

toxie loveTroma’s blu ray is also a mixed bag. The picture quality varies from shot to shot. At times the picture looks colorful and crisp and other times it looks soft and even blurry. There is still a lot of print damage remaining as well. While the picture is a step up from previous DVD releases, Troma could have done a better job in releasing one of their most popular films. Even the audio at times was hard to hear and I had to turn up the volume quite a lot during a few sequences.

the toxic avenger part 2The packed extras do help as the blu ray has all of the special features from the last DVD ported over (including the DVD itself), including a new introduction by Lloyd Kaufman. Please note, the audio commentary track by Kaufman is a must listen. He is open, honest, blunt and often hilarious in some of his comments about the actors or special effects. His commentary tracks are usually pretty good and this is no exception. I had a much better time watching this with the commentary track on.

toxicWhile there are a few decent highlights in this sequel, one can’t help but be disappointed in the overly slapstick-y and childish tone of The Toxic Avenger Part II. The mediocre presentation of this brand new blu ray doesn’t help matters either.

Movie and Blu ray Rating: ★★½☆☆

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