The Toxic Avenger.
Troma’s number one hit character is the Toxic Avenger, the hideously deformed creature of super-human size and strength and the first superhero from New Jersey.
The character has had 4 films, a cartoon series, a toy line, a Genesis and Nintendo game, and even a musical! All versions are about Melvin – a super geeky mop boy who works at a fitness club. He is pranked by some local bad guys (who run over children for fun) and he falls into toxic waste and becomes a superhero.
The series features bizarre killings and really grotesque imagery that I will talk about. So if you cant take it, then don’t read on!
I have actually seen all 4 films and the first 3 cartoon episodes. This is a review of all.
The Toxic Avenger.
The first in the series and it’s really good. It’s easy to see why Toxie (as he’s affectionately called) took off. Melvin is a geek – like really over the top fake – and these villains (2 guys 2 girls) hate him for no reason. In fact they hate everyone – they play a game where they run over people for fun (same as Death Race 2000 – even the point system is used). Earlier in the film they run over a boy riding his bike and take photos of his exploded head to laugh at it later! Anyway, so Melvin falls into the toxic waste and transforms into the Toxic Avenger. He proceeds to clean up Tromaville (town in New Jersey) buy viscously destroying criminals. He rips arms off, he shoves hands into boiling oil, he bakes them in pizza ovens etc. If you wanna see criminals punished than this is the movie to watch!
My only gripe is that the main villains didn’t get as rough a death as some of the others in the film, but hey what can you do. He makes one of the really nasty girls sit on the hot rocks of a sauna! That’s pretty beats!
As for Toxie himself, he is just great. Everyone loves him and he speaks very politely – kind of like Superman. He helps old ladies cross the streets, he rescues cats out of trees etc. He even finds love. Sara (remember that name SARA) who is a blind woman he rescues grows to love him and stays with him the entire series!
The Toxic Avenger Part 2.
Lloyd Kaufman (president of Troma Studios) was attending several film festivals when someone said “Hey I want distribution rites to Toxic Avenger part 2 – I heard you have already started filming.” Kaufman was stunned as no plans were being made to do a sequel, but after hearing that someone wanted to distribute it, he lied and said they are ready to film! He quickly got a script together and shot so much footage that they made 2 films out of it! Toxic Avenger 2 and 3 were born.
TA2 has the first every appearance of Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite and Spawn) and the plot revolves around an evil chemical company Apocalypse Inc and how they want to destroy Tromaville with toxic chemicals.
Apco Inc have developed a way to kill Toxie (he cant be shot or stabbed etc) but only Japan can produce the chemical needed to kill him (Japan, as stated in the film, make all the good stuff that America has). The villains have to get Toxie to go to Japan though, cause the cost of importing from Japan is too high. They make Toxie believe that his father (long lost father) is Japanese. So Toxie goes to Japan and searches for his father. In the narration of the film Toxie tells us that he is half Japanese which explains why he sometimes has very NON-American thoughts like: working hard, saving money, and not living off of credit cards.
He goes to Japan and fights a bunch of guys and learns Sumo Wrestling and fights his father who ends up being a fake. Spoilers don’t count in Troma – if you watch a trailer it reveals it all anyway.
The problem with part 2 is that I got the “R” rated version – which means less gore and the gore was important in this one cause the story was kinda whatever. It’s true that there was some good fighting in the beginning, but the Japanese stuff was getting very boring.
The Toxic Avenger Part 3: The Last Temptation of Toxie.
Toxie returns from Japan to fight Apocalypse Inc. In part 2 they escaped, so they are now back. Toxie’s girlfriend Claire (the blind one) wants to see again – wait, CLAIRE??? I thought her name was Sara? I forgot to mention that in part 2 her name was changed to Claire and she is Claire again in this film. Anyway, Apoc Inc offers Toxie the money to get Claire her operation if he joins them as their mascot. He does, after they convince him they are now good guys, and Claire gets her operation and can see again! It doesn’t last long cause Toxie finds out that Apoc Inc is still bad and he must fight them.
As it turns out, the head of Apoc Inc is really Satan, whose true form is a Green Dragon that Toxie must fight in the end.
Now all this sounds really good right, but this is the worst of the series – really boring and slow. Satan looks cool, sure, but their fight is pretty lame, I even had the unrated version, but there wasn’t any gore anyway – that’s cause there were no fights! I assume that since 2 and 3 were supposed to be one film, that the violence in the beginning of part 2 was enough (villains blow up a hospital for the blind), but now that 2 and 3 are separate films, it just seems 3 lost out.
This is strictly for fans of Toxie only.
Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part 4.
Stan Lee narrates this film and tells us that he is sorry about how crappy parts 2 & 3 were and that this is the real sequel. How often do studios do that!
Anyway, this one continues from 3 but Claire is back to Sara again and Toxie now has his morbidly obese sidekick Lardass. The “Diaper Mafia” attack the school for the very special (a school for retarded children) and they start killing them all – Toxie shows up and kicks major ass – the villains here are so evil but Toxie really just punishes them so badly – disembowelled one guy, made another guy eat his own shit, and rammed a guy’s own head up his ass (weird I know). Even though Toxie wins this battle, the diaper mafia sets off a bomb that blows up everyone but Toxie, Tito the Retarded Rebel, and Honey Sweety (a retarded girl). The explosion causes a dimensional rift and The Toxic Avenger gets replaced with his evil doppelganger The Noxious Offender, from a parallel universe.
“Noxie” ends up in Tromaville and kills a bunch of people. No one knows that he is not the real Toxie (they both look the same – but Noxie has some hair and a gold “N” necklace) and they now believe that Toxie has gone evil. The mayor (played by Ron Jeremy) assembles other heroes to take Toxie down – these heroes include: The Vibrator, Master Bater, Mad Cow Boy, Dolphin Man and Sgt Kabuki Man NYPD (who has his own movie and is already well known).
In the meantime, the real Toxie and the 2 retards have to escape Amortville (tromaville backwards) and get back home.
This is the best film in the series by far. All the comedy is spot on and its very vulgar in its satire of social issues like abortion, school violence, media violence, treatment of retarded people etc. There is so much packed into this movie that it’s hard to believe its only 100 mins.
Toxie ends up fighting the evil Kabuki Man in one great fight sequence! It’s cool to see him fight another hero from a different Troma film.
This one is a must buy and you can enjoy it even if you didn’t see the others – one special note – in Amortville Noxie’s girl is named CLAIRE and in Tromaville she is named SARA – even the film makers know they messed up the names!
Saturday morning style cartoon based on Toxic Avenger. Ok, now this cartoon is aimed at all audiences. They even made toys! So how the hell are they gonna do this? Well they did it. They simply ignore and omit all the gross stuff, nudity and violence. Melvin still falls into “waste” (not toxic waste – is there a difference really?) and becomes a hero. This is one odd cartoon and it didn’t last long, but I have to say it’s really fun! I loved it! I only saw the first 3 episodes, but they were funnier than part 2 and 3 and I like how Toxie works as a kids hero!
It’s defiantly hard to see him that way after watching all the crap from part 4, but hey, it worked for me. I loved it.
So there you have my 2 cents on the whole Toxic Avenger series – I heard they are remaking it, of course that will suck unless Troma does it, but they wouldn’t – they would just make part 5. Whatever, it’s all good.
I really wanted to see the musical, I heard that was excellent, but its not playing in Toronto anymore, but when it returns ill check it out and give my thoughts on that!