Tromaville ain't big enough for the both of 'em.
The inanities of Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV are so abundant that it's hard to give you an adequate story description with a straight face. Those who have come to know and love the Toxic Avenger movies will be shocked to hear that this time around there's not one but two Toxies running around town! When Toxie (David Mattey) and his sidekick, Lardass (Joseph Isaac Fleishaker), attempt to save a batch of mentally retarded children from a group of mad terrorists, he's sucked into an alternate dimension by an explosion and thrust into the town of Amortville (get it? Tromaville spelled backwards!). It's here that he runs into a villainous version of Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD and various other citizens of Amortville (now back-assward versions of the Tromaville folks). Back in Tromaville, a Toxie doppelganger has taken over: Noxie, AKA The Noxious Offender. Unlike Toxie, Noxie wants nothing more than to cause widespread panic, chaos, and destruction. Tromaville doesn't know what to make of Noxie—after he kills Mayor Goldberg (porn legend Ron Jeremy) with a crucifix, the town is plunged into madness (well not really, but that sounded dramatic, didn't it?). To make matters worse, Toxie's blind wife, Sarah (Heidi Sjursen), is pregnant with his child…and Noxie's! Somehow, someway, Toxie must find his way back to the real world before Noxie dismantles both Toxie's life and the entire town of Tromaville!
It's not often that I'm nearly at a loss for words. While watching Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, I sat, mouth agape, staring at my TV screen in disbelief. Could it be that fans of the original Toxic Avenger had something to celebrate? After two lackluster sequels (The Toxic Avenger Part II and the tepid The Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation of Toxie), Tromaphiles will be more than ecstatic to learn that director Lloyd Kaufman's Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV is as gleefully disgusting and offensive as his original 1985 classic. While I realize that's hard to fathom, 'tis true—Citizen Toxie is a wet dream come true for fans of the series. Now I know that it's hard to top the original—naked women masturbating to pictures of dead children is certainly hard to beat. Citizen Toxie nobly attempts to offend everyone by showing the wholesale slaughter of retarded children, filming a giant penis monster's attempts at raping another man's rear, and everything in between. Yes, Citizen Toxie is everything you've come to know and love from Troma: sleaze with a capitol "S." And yet I admire a man like Kaufman: he doesn't just throw caution to the wind but also decimates it with a dull wood chipper. The gleeful anarchy that runs though Citizen Toxie is contagious: what B-movie fan among you doesn't get misty eyed at watching Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman duking it out in a meat grinding factory (and when a superhuman cow enters the picture…well, you fill in the rest). So, is Citizen Toxie any good? Compared to Schindler's List, no. Then again, if you're comparing a movie like this to a movie like that, you've apparently had your head caught in a tragic combine accident. I'd love to tell you that the actors are all worthy of Oscar's accolades, but…well, no I wouldn't. If a Troma movie had good actors in it then it wouldn't be any fun—part of the charm is how atrociously everything is. Interestingly, porn king Ron Jeremy gives one of the better performances in the movie, and that's not saying much—the man didn't gather the nickname "the Hedgehog" for nothing. For those with a keen eye there are some fun cameos to be spotted, including scream queen Debbie Rochon, comic book legend Stan Lee (providing the opening and end voiceover), and a certain mystery celebrity from the Troma universe whose secret I wouldn't dream of giving away. Vibrator toting superheroes, mutant babies fighting inside a mother's womb, rotund sidekicks forced to give homosexual oral sex for cash…Toxie's back, and it's a four star adventure in perversion. This movie is highly recommended to anyone who whose tastes run toward the tasteless.
Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, its original aspect ratio. For a low budget Troma movie, this transfer looks pretty good. There are inconsistencies throughout (a small amount of dirt, some image imperfections), though considering the source materials this isn't shocking. It's a shame that Kaufman didn't decide to film this sequel in widescreen—nothing would have pleased my heart more than to see Toxie in 1.85:1! Otherwise, the colors and black levels are in fairly good shape, making for an above average viewing. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English. Like the video presentation, this sound mix is adequate, if mediocre. There isn't much to this soundtrack—the sound is clear of any major distortion or hiss, which is the best news I can report. No directional effects or surround sounds are featured, and none are needed. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are included on this disc.
Can I toxically super size your DVD for you? Sure to induce multiple orgasms in diehard fans, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV is presented in a coveted two-disc DVD edition! On Disc One you get a plethora of extras, including some funny outtakes of various cast members flubbing their lines, a large batch of deleted scenes that will blow your mind (and your stomach, depending on which ones you watch), trailers for other Troma films (as well as one for Lloyd's new book "Make Your Own Damn Movie!"), and no less than three commentary tracks (one with director Lloyd Kaufman, one with various cast and crew members, and one with the editor). The best of these are the commentary tracks, especially Kaufman's, which explains why Troma came back after 15 years to do another Toxie film (to make money, of course!). If you're on a limited schedule his track is well worth your time, if you can stomach watching the film again.
Heading into Disc Two you get…well, tons and tons and tons of featurettes. So many, in fact, that it would be impossible (or at least far too time consuming) to go over them all in this review. What fans should know is that Troma has packed this second disc with all kinds of behind-the-scenes featurettes, documentaries, and footage. Some of these mini-featurettes are better than others. If you've ever wanted to see how they produce special effects like making Toxie's head come alive or making a penis monster snap and bite, you'll be happy as a clam. Some of the stuff, such as the script meetings and the featurette on the naked old guy (who is actually naked…ewww), doesn't go down quite as easily (and are boring to boot). And what would a Troma movie be with out all the gratuitous breasts? One featurette takes us to the last day of shooting at the Playboy mansion with various Playmates and cast members, including B-movie star Julie Strain (her breasts are so large they have their own sun). Other featurettes include the New York City premiere (including an intro at the theater by Lloyd), footage from various film festivals, and mini-featurettes on various parts of the film's conception, production, and release. In other words, this second disc is packed with everything you've always wanted to know about Toxie and Troma, and most likely some that you wish you could forget.
All in all Troma fans won't be disappointed with the work Mr. Kaufman and crew have put into this two-disc edition! Long live Toxie!
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary Track by Director Lloyd Kaufman
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