The Toxic Avenger Part 2
The Toxic Avenger Part 2 1989
Since The Toxic Avenger was Troma’s first real hit, it’s no surprise that it became a sequel, and when that sequel originally ended up being over 4 hours long, it turned into 2 sequels. There are a large number of changes from the first movie to the second. Almost the entire cast was changed up, everyone from Toxie’s mother and girlfriend to Toxie himself, even being changed within the movie. The tone more or less remains the same gore-filled action comedy with hammy acting and cartoonish sound effects, though I didn’t have as much fun watching this one as I did the first one. I think they realized what they had and tried too hard to recreate it, giving it a much less charming feel to it. There’s also some odd choices in budget, while it feels like they spent more time or money on Toxie’s makeup, the fake eye moves occasionally, and there are some added effects used later in the movie. And yet there also seems to be less money spent on the other effects. A few people get shot, but there are no gunshot wounds or any blood at all, and the gory death scenes felt much tamer and sillier. If there wasn’t also a larger amount of nudity, I would almost think that they were considering to aim for a PG-13 rating. There are still some laughs to be had, but it’s far less entertaining on the bad movie scale.
The movie starts off with Toxie being both happy and yet also depressed at the fact that Tromaville is now a beautiful place to live, with absolutely no criminals. But with no criminals, a hideously deformed superhero has no purpose and volunteering at Tromaville’s home for the blind just isn’t very fulfilling. Luckily, evil pollution-creating big business that goes by the name Apocalypse Inc has its sights set on Tromaville, blowing up the home for the blind to make way for a toxic waste dump. There’s also an attempt to explain Toxie’s ability to detect and destroy evil by way of tromatons, toxic chemicals in his body. Part of Apocalypse Inc’s plan to get rid of Toxie is to send him to Japan where they have the technology to create anti-tromatons, but not the ability to transport them, which is basically an excuse to make half the movie be The Toxic Avenger in Japan. During this part, everyone is badly dubbed when they’re not speaking Japanese, and there’s plenty of Japanese stereotypes like plenty of schoolgirls, women wearing full on Geisha kimonos, and Kabuki performers. I will say that for the most part, the best part of the movie was while he was in Japan.
One part that I really did not care for in this movie is the all too present voiceover narration by Toxie himself. It’s extremely expository in the dullest sense possible, spoonfeeding the audience everything they need to know about what’s going on, as if it wasn’t simple or obvious enough as it was. One description I read about The Toxic Avenger Part 2 was that it felt like a kids movie for adults, and I think that is exactly the best way to describe it. There’s a handful of gore and nudity that make it unfit for children, but it’s presented in such a straightforward way that it’s like it’s aimed at adults with the mentality of a child, and for the most part, the good parts of a bad movie aren’t enough to help it along this time.
The special effects in this movie were both better and also worse than the first movie. There are more attempts at doing something new and unique, especially with some of the gags coming from Toxie himself, but it seems like all the effort was put into those few gags which meant they had to skimp in other areas, like squibs for gunshot wounds, and just overall fewer scenes of gore. Even though I’m not a huge fan of gore, I thought those moments were something that helped set The Toxic Avenger apart from other superhero movies, and the lack, or at least lack of quality in this movie was something I oddly missed. The acting was once again extremely exaggerated as in the first movie, though I either have quickly gotten tired of it, or they took it one step too far and I did not find it anywhere near as endearing as I did in the first movie. This is especially true for Toxie’s girlfriend who spends a lot more time emphasizing her slutty wardrobe and showcasing her singing/accordion playing.
The villains of this movie are led by a rather boring executive type who is somehow making a business at creating pollution. For a little while I felt more like I was watching a Captain Planet movie rather than the Toxic Avenger. In the first movie it was already supposedly set up that Tromaville was the toxic waste dump capital of the world, and even though The Toxic Avenger got rid of all the criminals, there was never any environmentalist subtext, in fact he still lives in the nature preserve slash garbage dump where there are plenty of open toxic waste barrels lying around. Aiding the executives of Apocalypse Inc is a hodgepodge group of henchmen and women briefly including the first role of Michael Jai White who would later go on to play Spawn. Most of the more random henchmen are dispatched in the opening fight scene, though the end of the movie has a group of biker chick looking henchwomen who spend most of their time flexing their muscles. I’m still curious to finish out this series of movies, though I’m not looking forward to it quite as much as I was after the first one. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.