Genius Products // 2007 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // July 8th, 2008
One Girl...One Curse...Seventeen Bodies
They forgot to put the "waste" on the end of the title.
Van Sant (Tom Sizemore, Black Hawk Down) has a crazy daughter Lucille (Charity Shea, Alpha Dog) who just escaped from a mental institution with her crazy doctor. Van Sant's live-in psychic (Bai Ling, She Hate Me) tells him there's a curse against him and his daughter is going to kill him. So Van Sant sends Sid (Corey Large, Loaded) and Antoine (Danny Trejo, The Crow 4: Wicked Prayer) to find her and stop the curse. Meanwhile, the escaped Lucille doesn't seem to be doing well and ends up under the care of pimp Angel (Master P). Fast forward one year later and Sid is working in a strip club and falling in love with a coworker named Michelle (Susan Ward, Who's Your Caddy?). The only problem is, he keeps seeing images of a young woman who looks surprisingly like Lucille, as if he's being haunted. Sid has to figure out his past before it catches up to him.
Talk about lobbing me a softball. Putting the names Master P, Dominique Swain, Danny Trejo, and Charity Shea (not to mention Ron Jeremy) on a DVD cover and calling the film Toxic is just too easy. To give you an idea of what's in store, some friends of mine and I sat down to enjoy Toxic as a bit of bad-movie fun. We made it to the 15-minute mark before we turned it off, fearing our eyes would explode from all the wonky colors, fast editing, and pathetic dialogue. I finished the film solo a few days later and really wish I hadn't.
Here's what's in store for you should you brave the horrors of Toxic:
* Unnecessary, Tarentinoesque time-warping. The plot is relatively straightforward (and obviously done to death), so the filmmakers chose to spice it up with a bunch of flashbacks and flash-forwards. It might have worked if I'd cared at all for any of the characters, but they were all boring and repugnant.
* Obnoxious voiceover. To hold together the rapid-fire pastiche of images that fuel the narrative, the filmmakers rely on the voice of Lucille delivering some of the most trite and pretentious dialogue I've ever heard. The script is desperately trying to add an ominous air to the film, but it falls miserably flat.
* Decent actors debasing themselves. Say what you will about Ron Jeremy (I happen to enjoy his appearances in Troma movies), but when he looks ashamed to be in a flick you know something is up. Despite his lack of discrimination in choosing roles, I like Danny Trejo and was saddened to see him mugging for the camera in this film. Tom Sizemore is a parody of his sex-tape persona, which should be amusing but comes off as pathetic. Even Master P mumbles his way through the film with the look of someone who lost a bet.
* A "twist" ending. Naturally, it's ridiculous and psychologically improbable. I also saw it coming from a mile away and got bored waiting for the film to catch up.
* My condolences. I've probably sat through worse movies, but there was something so completely tired and unnecessary about every aspect of Toxic that makes it stand out.
The DVD has a slick, overprocessed look that I assume is intentional. The audio is fine, if not spectacular. Luckily, there are no extras. If I had to sit through people discussing the film I might have succumbed to an aneurysm from laughter.
The top three reasons to watch Toxic:
1) You have No Limit records fetish and have to see everything that Master P has done.
2) You have a Ron Jeremy fetish and have to see everything he's ever done. Put this film on the list somewhere after Desperately Sleazy Susan or Halloweenie.
3) You've got a friend fresh off the boat who doesn't know anything about action movies from the past two decades. Sit him or her down with this film and get all the clichés out of the way.
To be fair, the cinematography of the film is interesting. Or, I should say that the cinematography that you can see between the blink-and-you-miss-it edits looks interesting.
Toxic is typical subpar direct-to-video action tripe. The plot is ridiculous, the stars bored, and the action poorly choreographed. This type of feature should at least be good for a laugh, but Toxic aims so low that even laughter gives the film too much credit. Avoid this film like it was radioactive.
Guilty. Everyone involved in Toxic should be thrown in the dump.
Review content copyright © 2008 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R