Feb 11

The Toxic Avenger II

Year: 1989
Country: USA

Director: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman
Starring: Ron Fazio, John Altamura, Phoebe Legere, Rick Collins, Rikiya Yasouka


The first superhero from New Jersey is back!


It’s been five years since the events of the first film and Tromaville is now a peaceful place to live in. Toxie hasn’t got any crime to fight anymore so he spends his time together with his girl Sara to help out on a center for blind people.

The evil corporation Apocalypse Inc are not happy with the way Tromaville has developed and sets out a plan to trick Toxie into going over to Japan so he can find his father. While Toxie is over there, they start to change Tromaville back into a toxic dump, and only the return of The Toxic Avenger can once again save the city.

As to be expected after the success of the first Toxic Avenger, we get a sequel! Lloyd Kaufman and his Troma team set out to film most of the sequel in Japan and they actually shot so much footage that it only made sense to them to create two films instead of one. I guess that makes perfect sense when you’re used to squeezing out everything possible from every dollar they had available, but it also did hurt both these sequels.

Instead of creating one big movie, they had to stretch the material for this to work as a full length film on its own. Some of the scenes overstay their welcome and should have been cut down, the pacing seems off and there’s too many filler scenes. Even though I did like some of the cultural gags when Toxie was in Japan, storywise it didn’t feel like it went anywhere.

There’s more focus on slapstick humour and they failed or didn’t want to recreate the gritty atmosphere from the first film, which makes it feel a little toned down even though it got multiple gory scenes. It is also filled with colorful bad guys including transvestites, a dog faced villain, sumo wrestlers and of course the big evil corporate bad guy who runs Apocalypse Inc, which we will see even more of in Toxic Avenger 3.

I was not surprised to see that the girl who played Toxie’s love interest Sara from the first one had been changed, but I’m not sure why they even changed the character’s name to Claire. It’s still a blind hot chick, did they forget the name of the character in the first film? Phoebe Legere plays her this time and she is portrayed even more over the top and ditzy this time around. Toxie is also played by another guy, but he is dubbed over most of the time and in the mask, so it doesn’t matter that much. They also added the sweet Mayako Katsuragi as Masami for the japanese scenes and she surprisingly comes off very down to earth and normal, perhaps a way of Troma to not disrespect the Japanese too much?

Lloyd Kaufman and his partner in crime Michael Herz is once again in the directors chair(s) and that was a good choice. Even though this film is a step backwards in terms of quality, I could easily have seen this turn into a turdpile with a more inexperienced director. Just look at what happened to the Class of Nuke ‘Em High sequels for example.

The Toxic Avenger 2 might not be a good movie, frankly the first one wasn’t either. But it also lacks compared to that one in terms of comedy delivery and engaging the viewer with the story. It’s still a must see for lovers of Troma and Toxie, but I don’t think others would find much to enjoy with this.




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