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Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (Unrated): SE
It's here! It's here! Seems like only YEARS ago when CineSchlockers first squealed in anticipation of this release. Actually, just about a month shy of TWO to be exact. In April of 2001, at the Chiller Theatre Expo, yours truly sat transfixed as then Troma DVD guru Ronni "Raygun" Thomas chain-smoked and foretold all the Tromatic goodness we'd see when the set hit stores early in 2002. Well, spring passed without said digital debut, but yours truly filled the void with a report from the Dallas theatrical premiere and also relayed a surprising new revelation that Troma's latest DVD honcho, Brian McNulty, had up'd the ante to THREE DISCS! Then summer faded and so did that third disc. Street date after street date continued to fizzle as fall spilled into an eagerly-anticipated holiday release, that ultimately, became another toxic disappointment. Now that it's HERE, all is forgotten as Troma's truly dropped its biggest load yet with a staggering two-disc special edition that steams with so many extras that it leaves little doubt it'll be THE genre release by which ALL OTHERS are measured this year. Definitely worth the wait!
Didn't see Parts 2 & 3? Not to worry. They sucked! So declares a stirring Stan Lee voiceover heralding our hero of super-human size and strength that culminates with the apologetic declaration: "THIS is the REAL sequel!!!" When unsavory members of the Diaper Maffia storm Tromaville's school for the "very special" and begin machine-gunning slow-witted, taco-gorging hostages, Toxie and faithful ward Lardass swoop in to permanently stink-can these dastardly diapers by hyper-gruesome means such as literally cramming a dude's head up his hiney. During the blood-splattered melee, plot rears its hideous mug when a budget defying explosion craters the school creating a dimensional rift that rockets The Toxic Avenger into evil, evil Amortville and his demonic doppelganger, The Noxious Offender, into the peaceful, yet bizarro tranquility of Tromaville. While Toxie struggles to peaceably adjust in an appearance obsessed culture, Noxie immediately yanks off the arms of the police chief and demonstrates a murderous new technique in crowd control. Folks in Tromaville can't believe how MEAN their dear, sweet Toxie's become. Folks in Amortville can't believe what a WEENIE their fearsome, maniacal Noxie's become. Your basic radioactive fish-out-of-water story, right? Hardly. Amid the mayhem are chainsaw-subtle satirizations of most contemporary ills of our society. Abortion. Plastic surgery. School shootings. Hate crime. Media voyeurism. Corporate greed. Best of all, Troma's put all the head-crushings, explosions and lesbian tongue rasslin' BACK INTO what they proudly bill as "a shot-by-shot replication of the original classic by Orsen Wells."
This outing, the longsuffering hulk beneath four-hours of Avenger latex is one David Mattey who apparently never grasped the trials he'd have to weather in this exercise in guerilla filmmaking. Such as the indignity of having his voice REPLACED after filming in favor of more FM-hewn pipes (Clyde Lewis). Doesn't much matter anyway because Paul Kyrmse steals the flick with his inspired comedic antics as a cowardly, booze-addled Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD. As Chester and Lardass, CineSchlocker idol Joe Fleishaker delivers the tour de farce performances of HIS hefty career. Jiggling newcomer Heidi Sjursen, clearly a method actress, adeptly uses blindness as sufficient motivation to never FIND a bra in her titillating turn as Toxie's baby's mama. Porn icon Ron Jeremy goes braless as well as Tromaville's fundamentalist mayor. Think THAT's ironic? Wait til you see how he croaks. Also keep those peepers peeled for unforgettable cameos by CineSchlocker faves Corey Feldman (his best role since Blown Away) and the late great Hank The Angry Drunken Dwarf whose first and last SOBER interview appears among the extras.
34 breasts. 116 corpses. Finger sharpening. Bomb gobbling. Tongue ripping. Crucifix to the mouth. Exploding school for the "very special." Pregger pinata. Puking. Uterine wrestling match. Gratuitous urination. Multiple diddling. Toe sucking. Exploding wangdoodle. Multiple disembowelments. Self-gratification. Value-sized ruby slippers. Hypodermic closeup. One firesuit stunt (recycled from the original flick). Angry man love. Face ripping. Huzzah to the Troma screenwriters for having Kevin Eastman say in admiration of wife Julie Strain, "I could DIE in these breasts!" (Then does). Toxie catches Tito chasing the dragon, "That better be INSULIN, young man!" Our Rebel Retard's favorite catch phrase? ... "F#%& this place, man. I'm out of here!" Sarah rationalizes mid-three way, "IT'S GOOD FOR THE BABY! IT'S GOOD FOR THE BABY!" After being dragged until there's nothing left but his head, Barry Brisco deadpans as Pompey, "You know, a black man in America gets used to having nobody behind him. I guess I just got NO BODY at all!" Nothing like self-aware villainy, "I'll be back, mother f@#&er! If there's a sequel, I'll be back!!!"
Phew! Troma set the bar incredibly high with its extras oozing, Best of Schlock 2001-winning Terror Firmer, and they've come valiantly close to besting themselves with yet another two-disc extravaganza:
Three commentaries: Editors Gabe Friedman and Sean McGrath, who also share writing, producing and countless other credits, deliver the set's best track with a perfect mix of humor and practical "How'd they do that?" insights. Of particular note, is the harrowing saga of how McGrath saved the flick from certain post-production destruction and Friedman's moonlighting as a lesbian-friendly easter bunny. Legendary auteur and CineSchlocker idol Lloyd Kaufman also shares his typically EXUBERANT recollections and free-form sociopolitical condemnations. While the third track is a sometimes clunky mix 'n' match of candid commentary from fan-turned-actor-turned-writer/assistant director Trent Haaga and stars Joe Fleishaker, David Mattey, Paul Kyrmse, Heidi Sjursen and Michael Budinger (mostly as his retarded, rebellious alter ego).
Apocalypse Soon: The Making of Citizen Toxie: The box cover may trumpet a comfortable 95 minutes, but at TWO HOURS AND SEVENTEEN MINUTES this meandering, often downright BORING documentary actually comes a great deal closer to matching the original running time of its Francis Ford Coppola namesake. It's tragically hamstrung by an incredibly un-Troma and just plain lame "What's the Word of the Day?" crutch that's presumably meant to pull all of it together. Just where IS the entertainment value in watching countless citizens of Tromaville stare blankly into the camera in a vain struggle to produce said "Word?" At half the length, they might have begun to reclaim the ingenious spectacle of Farts of Darkness: The Making of Terror Firmer, but even this well-intentioned disaster soundly beats the self-congratulatory swill the majors insist on slinging.
Other production footage: Now, no one panic, there's still PLENTY of excellent behind-the-scenes video to keep master thespian Mattey's toxic tantrums company. Sit in as Lloyd and the writing team brainstorm solutions to finalize the shooting script, and in the process, give birth to "Tito" and a sly bit of clowny, car-crash recycling. Witness earnest Armando the PA's priceless career crisis upon realization that his dream of being a writer will require he actually produce a screenplay. Join a mad search for MIDGETS! Discover what extremes one fan is willing to endure in pursuit of his dream role. Behold the two ANGRIEST radio personalities in Canada when Ms. Sjursen turns spaz. Wander the boob-a-licious Playboy Mansion grounds. Catch Kaufman mid-stream at the beautiful, on-set Tromaville toilet (a.k.a. the nearest bush). There's well over TWO HOURS of such goodies, not counting upwards of a DOZEN easter eggs, none more delish than Heidi and TromElissa's lusty video rehearsal. Bless you, Gabe!
But, wait, there's more: About 15 mins of deleted scenes including the Noxie/Kazinski oration originally seen in the theatrical cut. Each of the 19 trims feature optional commentary by the editors. Kaufman and Mattey provide an amusing intro to the flick in which the dub'd star is allowed, in true Troma fashion, to voice his ire. Both discs showcase a staggering wealth of content via inventive, entertaining 3D environments that are, for want of a slicker word, well, COOL!!! In all, yet another Troma triumph that proves these sultans of schlock can go chest to melon-heavy chest with the very BEST discs big-money Hollywood has to offer. (2001, 108 mins, Unrated version, Fullframe [per Kaufman's preference], DD 2.0, Commentaries, Deleted scenes, Documentary, Featurettes, Trailers.)
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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.