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. The Toxic Avenger Part II is a spectacular sequel with even more ingenious special effects, even more bizarre action, and even more unbelievably famous fight scenes. He's come a long way from Tromaville, baby!
The beloved sequel to the best-selling Toxic Avenger, known to some as "Toxie in Japan," includes a brand new introduction from director Lloyd Kaufman and many other 'Tromatic' special features! Lovingly remastered by legendary Troma filmmakers Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, this Blu-Ray/DVD combo marks the film's first high-definition release in North America.
In 1984, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz created Troma's brand of a superhero, which was the 'Toxic Avenger'. It brought the small indie film studio into the limelight, which created an instant cult following, and made enough money to finance several more films. This superhero was a nerdy janitor who was bullied and picked on, but then fell into a vat of toxic waste and emerged a horribly disfigured superhero who would fight the bad guys in town.
The year 1989 came around and Kaufman and Herz decided to make a sequel and a quick buck as well, and thus 'The Toxic Avenger: Part II' was born. There are a lot of fun moments here with this sequel, but Kaufman and Herz decided the more over-the-top the better. Instead of telling a somewhat cohesive story from start to finish and furthering the Toxie character in their own Troma way, Kaufman and Herz decided to drag out gross out and gooey scenes too long and put together a bunch of schlocky-silly skits together with blood and guts, rather than keep the story flowing.
Don't get me wrong, there are some genuinely good moments here, but they wear out their welcome rather quickly, even when the crew heads to Japan for a change of scenery. After the events of the first film, Toxie lives with his girlfriend and works at the center for the blind. The town he lives in is free of the bad guys, where everyone lives more or less a hippy lifestyle. Of course, the evil people at Apocalypse Inc., the evil corporation whose sole purpose is to pollute the Earth has a new sinister plan.
However, they know that The Toxic Avenger will stand in the way of their cruel schemes, thus they try to kill Toxie. Meanwhile, Toxie is dealing with his own personal demons in addition to brutally killing the bad guys. He has severe depression and wants to know who his real father is, which sets him out on a journey via windsurfing to Japan to locate his father. It seems like Troma would have quit the character study here, but let's get serious for a minute. This is Troma, and Troma is mostly just interested in more nudity, gore, and violence.
One of the unfortunate things here is that Kaufman and Herz throw all the playing cards on the table in the first fifteen minutes of the movie in one long action scene of destruction, and the film never recovers. They literally blew their wad too early. There are a few later scenes that pack this kind of action, but it is very short lived with long gaps of slow pacing problems. In the end, I still love that this sequel is part of the whole Toxie franchise, but it's very inconsistent and riddled with trying to go the extra mile than telling a cohesive story.
'The Toxic Avenger: Part II' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Well, let's backtrack that sentence a little bit. When I say 1080p HD, that's stretching it. In fact this is more of a DVD quality looking image than a true HD presentation. Do not expect a vivid and detailed image here by any means. It's as if a button wasn't pushed or a switch wasn't flipped to upgrade the transfer, although there is an ever so slight upgrade from the previous DVD release. Pretty much all of the dirt, debris, warps, and damage from the film is still present throughout here.
There are issues with banding, aliasing and video noise as well. I would have expected that there would be an increase in detail, but unfortunately there isn't. I mean, it looks better than my old VHS copy, but that's about it. The good news is that the colors are brighter and well-balanced here for this new release, which was pleasing. All of the gooey parts shine on screen. I just wish the detail and fluidness of the image was better. Skin tones are natural, but the black levels have issues running deep, leaving this video presentation with less than stellar marks.
This release comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. Where's the new lossless 5.1 DTS track? Much like the video presentation above, this audio portion doesn't bode well either. Everything sounds flat, muted, and unfavorable for quality listening. Sound effects don't pop and don't sound robust. I get that this is a Troma film, but there should have been some tweaks to this new release in this section.
Dialogue is clear, although it's rough around the edges and sounds like it's trying to hard to be heard. There are also plenty instances of hiss, pops, shrills, and cracks throughout. The music is of course a lot of fun, and makes you laugh still, but it is muddled and never has a full sound. The dubbed Japanese dialogue is hilarious and never synchs up with anything. Again, I know this is Troma, but this could be better.
Intro (SD, 3 Mins.) - Your favorite crazy uncle Lloyd Kaufman intros the Blu-ray release of 'The Toxic Avenger II', complete with information on the release, jokes, and gross out gags.
Audio Commentary - Here is a fun audio commentary with Lloyd Kaufman who discusses making the film along with a ton of fun anecdotes from the set.
At Home With Toxie (SD, 4 Mins.) - Here is a fun extras where we visit Toxie in a mansion with his woman.
A Word From Troma's Villainess Lisa Gaye (SD, 3 Mins.) - Here is an older extra with Lisa Gaye discussing playing villains in Troma movies.
Toxie on Japanese T.V. (SD, 3 Mins.) - This bonus feature is in Japanese without subtitles with interviews with Kaufman and Mayako Katsuragi with some on set footage.
Old DVD Intro (SD, 1 Mins) - Like it says, here is the DVD intro from Kaufman.
Radiation March (SD, 1 Min.) - A fun extra that shows that pollution is a bad thing.
The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years of Troma (SD, 2 Mins.) - A Motorhead song plays over people getting awards and achievements.
Theatrical Trailer (SD, 3 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'The Toxic Avenger: Part II' starts out very strong and delivers everything that Troma has promised in the first fifteen minutes. However, the rest of the film is more or less a bore and keeps you clamoring for a scene like the one you saw when the movie began. That being said, I still enjoy this sequel on some sort of twisted and nostalgic level, because who doesn't love Toxie? The video and audio presentations here are less than thrilling for sure, but the extras are mostly fun. If you're a big fan of these films, you'll want this in your collection. If not, feel free to skip it.