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Movie Review: Troma Films

We’ve all heard of the big name production companies: Miramax, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Etc.  There also happen to be a number of independent production companies out there, one of the more infamous being Troma.  Never heard of Troma?  You’re lucky, because the name might as well be Trauma, seeing as how the films are so bad, that’s the state in which you’ll end up.

Troma is known for producing independent films that are all way too long, involve mindless violence, random sex/rape scenes, and low budget locations and casts.  However they did have a moment with the big boys.

One of their early films, the Toxic Avenger, was effectively an Urban Swampthing: a geek gets dumped into a vat or mutagenic ooze, turns into a superhero, beats the shit out of bad guys.  For at least 3 movies.  Anyways, in the early 90s, mutants were big, and Lloyd Kaufman, the genius behind Troma somehow convinced someone that they could market a kids show off of Toxie, called The Toxic Crusaders, where Toxie and other freaky mutants protect the city from bad guys.  I watched the cartoon, and even had a Toxie action figure.  Hey, it was the early 90s, I wasn’t even 10 yet.

As the story goes, as a fan of the cartoon, with an action figure, I went into a local video rental store (because this was in the days before the total control of Blockbuster Video and ensuing control of Netflix), saw Toxic Avenger Part 2, and told my parents I wanted to see it.  They read the box, were very skeptical, but I convinced them that since I had the action figure, it couldn’t be bad.

I was wrong.  Remember what I said about the ultra violence, rape, and nudity.  Now imagine an 8 year old going into this thinking he’s going to watch a live action cartoon, and instead gets that.  It scars him for life.  The problem is, these movies will scar anyone for life, no matter what their age.

Recently my weekend group has been bombarded by viewing a plethora of bad films, and then taking out our aggression for such god awful drek in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  So I thought I would take a moment to review two Troma films that we have recently been stupid enough to watch.

SGT. Kabukiman NYPD

Yes, that is the actual title.  The next films title is just as horrible.  The plot is that there is a long and complicatedly drawn out celestial event that is about to happen, involving a dragon going through the rings of Jupiter, and a monkey riding a jaguar, after a nubile has been devoured.  Or something.  The only reason I can recall that much is that they mention this event every 10 minutes in the film until it actually happens.  The characters are a cop who gets the powers of Kabukiman and while trying to be serious is a total goof ball, not in the good way; his “Japanese” girlfriend/trainer whom teaches him in the ways of Kabukiman to thwart this evil prophecy, and have a graphic and intense sex scene for like 20 minutes with the hero; the cops partner, a large breasted woman whose only purpose is to get gang raped in a park; various thugs, a black preacher, some lame cops, and the villain.  There is also a young baboon that someone carries to my horror (I am afraid of baboons, and was shocked to witness the thing not devouring someones face) who also uses a gun at one point.  There is a cheap foam monster.  The only part worth watching is a choreographed chase scene that ends in an explosion.  The movie is so bad I do not recommend it to anyone, no matter how into mind-numbingly painful movies you are.  It was so bad, I really was pissed off that I sat through it.

Surf Nazis Must Die

I told you this had a bad title.  An earthquake measuring 8.6 on the ricter scale kills over 80 thousand in California, turning it into a deserted Mad Max-style post apocalyptic wasteland where rival gangs fight due to the lack of control.  Or so you’re told.  While there are gangs, the largest is actually of 6 kids on skateboards, the second are the Surf Nazis with a whopping 5 members.  Also in the wasteland is a retirement home, a pawn/head shop, and people enjoying strolls on the beach.  I know if I was living in California and a quake destroyed most of it, killed some of my friends, I would also enjoy casual beach treks in gang populated areas.  To give them credit, they did find a great location: a beach in California where there are oil wells on the beach.  See, they don’t even need to cordon off an area, since no one would go to the beach anyway.  From the box, you assume that this will be a revenge story of a large angry black mother trying to avenge her son who was murdered by the Nazis.  This plotline exists for about 10 minutes in the movie, and all t the end.  The rest of it is a story about the Nazis, who are all gay save their leader, Adolf, who is bi.  This becomes a running joke amongst the other gangs and the Nazis themselves.  They also deal with a Warriors inspired “joining of the gangs,” where you get to see the Neon Tye dye early 90s surfers, the Surf Samurais, and a group of middle aged guys in wetsuits.  As with the other Troma film, this one is way too long, and while terrible, it actually wasn’t as bad as Kabukiman.  Still, I don’t suggest this.  Although the music was pretty intense and enjoyable.

Fortunately we have spaced in bad, but good, movies, as opposed to these just bad ones.  I think Eric the Viking is next on our list, and I’m actually looking forward to that.

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