The following is a quadruple review for all four movies in the "Toxic Avenger" series.
These might contain spoilers, justa headsup, so don't get angry if I give anything away.
Also in this review I'll be discussing the "Toxic Crusaders" ABC Saturday Morning cartoon.
The Toxic Avenger
Released in 1984, "The Toxic Avenger" is quite possibly the best independent, low-budget movies ever made. The plot is fairly simple: A nerdy guy named Melvin working at a health spa accidentally falls in a barrel of toxic waste, which transforms him into a a hideously hero with superhuman size and strength. He proceeds to hunt down, and punish criminals in the harshest ways possible (the Taco Bell scene springs to mind) and not only does he give the criminals their just deserts, he tortures and brutally maims them in the process, rightfully so. He is backed up by his friends who all support him and he has to do battle with virtually every criminal outside Manhattan, in the small town of Tromaville, until it all comes to a big climax fight with the corrupt mayor. All in all, it's a darn fine film, made by an incredibly talented director, Lloyd Kaufman, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a book signing at a local shopping mall. If you like gore, superheroes, Troma, be absolutely sure to check out "The Toxic Avenger!"
The Toxic Avenger II
My personal favorite in the series. The movie starts off with Toxie, five years after the events of "The Toxic Avenger," who is working at a community center for the blind, when he recieves a mysterious package, which turns out to be a bomb from an evil corporation known as "Apocalypse Inc," who want to take over the small burg of Tromaville. This is followed by an incredible explosion, which in turn is followed by one of the longest choreographed fight scenes I've ever seen in any medium, where Toxie fights off about twenty-five bad guys, one by one. I don't want to give too much away, but Toxie is lured to Japan, where he learns his long-lost father is living, he fights bad guys in Japan, and finds his father, who turns out not to be what he expected. One thing leads to another and Toxie comes home to America, where he has to fight even more bad guys and then there's this chase scene between a Taxi Cab driven by a disgruntled cabbie, in the backseat is Toxie, sandwiched between an equally disgruntled old married couple, and they chase a man on a motorcycle with nitroglycerin strapped to him, who is planning on blowing up City Hall. Again, I don't want to give too much away, but in my humble opinion, "The Toxic Avenger II" is the best in the series, it also ends on something of a cliffhanger. It's just a great, fun movie in general, so check it out if you liked the original.
The Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie
With one of the most brilliant opening scenes I've ever seen, "Toxic Avenger 3" is a bit of a letdown after the first twenty minutes or so. It has its moments, but for the most part, it tries too hard. This was actually the first Troma movie I ever saw, and I loved it at the time, but I had no idea that Troma made movies that were a hundred times better than this. Aside from the opening scene and the grand finale, this movie is kind of boring and repetitive. Picking up where "Toxic Avenger 2" left off, the chairman of Apocalypse Inc is trying to bring down Toxie in various ways, but he finally convinces Toxie to work for him for a huge sum of money which will pay for his (Toxie's) girlfriend's eye-replacement surgery, enabling her to see for the first time in her life. Not much else to it, other than it's unusual length for a Troma movie, I believe the running time is a little over two hours. It may be the weakest in the series, but that doesn't preventing me from loving it. But trust me when I say this one's for fans only.
The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie
My least favorite in the series, like "Class of Nuke 'Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown," I was heavily distracted when I watched this one, so it's hard for me to give it a fair review. It came out in 2000, boasting the tagline "The Real Sequel," which I thought was a little unfair because parts 2 and 3 weren't that bad. The plot follows Toxie, who gets mixed up with an evil counterpart known as "Noxie," who wreaks havoc on the good people of Tromaville. The one thing I did like about this movie is the fact that they brought back (who I think to be) the original 'voice' of Toxie, who has a much more booming, powerful and commanding voice than the guy from parts 2 and 3. Unfortunately, I didn't see as much in this movie as I did the others, and I feel Troma's place in the universe was really in the 80s and 90s, the year 2000 seemed to destroy a lot of good mediums, from movies to video games, it all went downhill by 2001. But I digress. There was one thing I really liked about this movie, and that was former pornstar Ron Jeremy as the mayor of Tromaville, who, despite being a pornstar, is actually a pretty good actor in general, and I see why they picked him for a few of their movies. All in all, this one is regarded by many as 'The Real Sequel,' and that might be so, but it just didn't hit the spot for me the way those first three did. Check it out, but approach with caution.
Though I haven't had a chance to watch all thirteen episodes yet, I have seen the first two, and will say that they're really the kind of cartoon I dig-- the late 80s, early 90s style that boasted lots of action and morals and happy endings to boot. For some reason, this show never made it into syndication, for the life of me, I don't know why; it's like "Captain Planet," but not as horribly preachy in it's environmental tone (which is actually very subtle). The animation resembles the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoons, which follow a similar plot. I feel privileged to be able to watch this show, it's like seeing a lost gem that was never put on proper display. Goofy as it may be, I really like what I've seen of this little cartoon and will keep on watching it. I think this one's only available in the "Complete Toxic Avenger" boxed set, which I bought, but I may be wrong, definitely check it out if you can find it.
Well, there you have it, my review for all four "Toxic Avenger" movies and the cartoon.
These movies are really good and are very creative, they're awesome in every way.
Like I said, if you like Troma, superheroes or blood and guts, be sure to check them out!