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Toxic Avenger Part III, The

Troma // Unrated // May 12, 2015
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted July 15, 2015 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Picking up pretty much where the second Toxic Avenger film left off, Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie finds the first superhero from New Jersey bored. It seems that he's basically eliminated all of the crime that previously plagued Tromaville from the city and is starting to feel a little stale. What to do? Well, he sets out to pony up enough scratch to pay for the operation to restore his blind girlfriend's (Phoebe Legere) eyesight. There's only one problem: he's short on dough.

So in order to make this happen, he takes a high paying job with Apocalypse Inc., a massive corporation run by a shifty chairman (Rick Collins). Things get off to a pretty great start but before you know it, things have gone to Toxie's head and he starts to turn into a yuppie! It turns out that Toxie has inadvertently made a deal with the devil, literally, and now it's up to him to set things right once more in Tromaville. After all, if he doesn't… who will?

While none of the Toxic Avenger films are going to win any Academy Awards, they've earned their place in horror/schlock/exploitation history by way of loads of politically incorrect humor, buckets of gore, and gratuitous sex and violence. And while the widely panned sequels in the trilogy aren't as strong as the first movie, they're still pretty funny and entertaining in their own rights. The scenes in which our oversized mutated superhero goes about his domesticated life are pretty funny and the interaction between Toxie and his blind lady pal are unusually cute in that weird way that scenes like that can be.

This one doesn't have as much going for it in the trash/schlock department, however. The concept behind this, that being Toxie taking on a decidedly evil corporation out to enslave the population of his town, is a good one and it's a concept that Troma still milks to this day (the recent Return To Nuke'em High and Poultrygeist features being prime examples of the studio's penchant for railing against the corporate takeover of America) but the sleaze factor is dialed down quite a bit. The opening scene, which is a highlight real showing off some of Toxie's greatest moments, is a series of grandiose gross-out moments but those are all taken from the earlier films… once we get into the third movie proper things feel a little neutered. There are moments here that work to be sure, but fans of the series by this point want to see all manner of bodily dismemberment and gooey, gory, gross out humor. That aspect of this one is dialed down considerably.

The movie has its moments though. The scene where we see Toxie embracing his new lifestyle and acting like a tennis player is amusing in its ridiculousness and once Toxie gets around to throwing down with the Prince Of Darkness himself, Kaufman and Herz show some creativity and deliver a few memorable set pieces. The monster costume is cool, Toxie looks good here and the makeup appliances used to bring Satan to life are amusing to see. There's some fun stunts and a bit of snappy comedy to keep things from completely falling apart. This is, however, Toxie-light and rightfully, almost universally, regarded as the weakest entry in the series thus far. Thankfully Kaufman and company would once again fire on all cylinders with the fourth film, but this one… well, fans will want to see it simply to see it just go in with properly tempered expectations.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Troma's 1080p AVC encoded 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen high definition transfer of The Toxic Avenger III isn't going to blow you away but it looks okay. For an early nineties low budget production it looks quite good, particularly when compared to the muddy looking fullframe DVD that was released years back. Colors are improved over that prior release but are still a bit faded looking at times. There's a fair bit of grain and some minor print damage is noticeable but it doesn't really take away from the experience much, and let's face it, you wouldn't want to see a movie like this DVNR'd to death anyway. The source material obviously wasn't in perfect condition but there's a noticable increase in clarity, quality and detail from previous versions of the film.

Sound:

Unfortunately, the only audio option available for the movie is a standard definition English language 48 kHz 224 kbps Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. No lossless option has been provided, and there are no alternate language dubs or subtitles options available. The quality and clarity of the mix is fine, but it's a pretty basic affair. There isn't a whole lot of channel separation to note but dialogue is easy enough to follow and understand and while the mix is a bit low (meaning you'll have to turn up the volume a little bit higher than you may be used to), once you compensate for that you won't experience any major issues. This isn't a fancy mix by any stretch but it gets the job done. Lossless audio would have been nice though, given that this is a Blu-ray and all.

Extras:

The disc starts off with a quick three minute introduction from Kaufman before the main menu loads. Once you get to the menu and head into the extra features section you'll get your choice of two commentaries, the first with Kaufman and the second with Joe "Flieshaker." Kaufman's track is an active track in which he talks about how this is ‘the best Toxic Avenger film ever' and how it's a personal film from his point of view. He's joined by two editors, Ronnie Thomas and Shawn McGrath, and he gives an amusing scene specific breakdown of the film. This is done with Kaufman's typical sense of humor as he talks about who played Toxie and why, the costumes, budgetary issues, whose an @$$hole and who isn't and more! The ‘Flieshaker' track is basically a joke. He introduces himself as one of the stars of many Troma films and how most will recognize him as Michael Herz. There's a lot of in-jokes here that casual Troma fans might not get but that the more devoted ones will. There's a load of dead air here which makes it a bit of a chore at times but it can be amusing in spots.

Tromoma is a twelve minute piece where we see how the NYC Museum Of Modern Art honored the Troma legacy with some showings. Cast and crew members are interviewed here, with Kaufman describing this as ‘kind of like putting a crackhouse next to Tiffany's… and we're the crackhouse. Also found on the disc is a quick two minute featurette entitled The American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years Of Troma. Make Your Own Damn Horror Film is an eleven and half minute long piece where Kaufman heads to the set of a low budget movie where he interviews a few cast and crew members about their experiences. A Halloween Carol is a ten minute parody short taking off A Christmas Carol with Kaufman as the Scrooge character. Moving right along we get a two minute ‘infomercial' for Rabid Grannies that runs two minutes (and lies about the ‘crystal clear HD transfer'), a one minute short called Pests! that sees Kaufman railing against media conglomerates, the omnipresent Radiation March, trailers for all four Toxic Avenger films and for the two new Nuke'em High movies.

The director's cut of The Last Temptation Of Toxie is included on a DVD version that mirrors the previously released DVD edition Troma put out years ago. Along with this cut we also get the same commentary from Lloyd Kaufman and Joe Fleishaker. There are also interviews with ‘Satan' and other cast members included, as well as footage from the Toxic Avenger Museum, and a wealth of other smaller bonus features like the standard ‘Radiation March' as well as the ‘Troma Intelligence Test', a tour of Troma Studios, and trailers for other Troma releases.

Final Thoughts:

The Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie is the weakest of the films in the series and hardly a highpoint in Troma's filmography. It does, however, have its moments and fans of the studio's most iconic creation will want to see it. The Blu-ray offers a decent upgrade in terms of picture quality and the Kaufman commentary is fun. But yeah, not a perfect release by any stretch however if you're a fan of the movie this is worth getting. If you haven't seen it before though, rent it first.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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