• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD

TITLE: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.

YEAR: 1990

GENRE: Superhero/Comics

In today’s multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbuster world usually the most expensive films are the ones that feature a superhero. It is not uncommon for these films to have production costs well in excess of $200 million and another $150 million in promotional expenses. However, there was a time when the superhero films were definitely low budget productions and usually the minimal financing showed through. The 1982 Fantastic Four film and the 1970’s Spiderman flicks were especially bad, yet the films had a charm to them in one way or another. Troma Studios, one of the kings of micro-budget cinema, has delved into the superhero genre with smaller budgets but more memorable results, including the 1984 classic The Toxic Avenger and its short-lived children’s TV show “Toxic Crusaders”. Another Troma venture into the superhero genre is Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, a humorous and entertaining caper that is praiseworthy and more entertaining than some of the Hollywood films with a hundred times the budget.

Harry Griswold (played by Rick Gianasi) is a New York City police officer who is your typical beer swilling, hot dog eating screw-up civil servant. Through a desperate situation from a sensei master, Griswold gains the powers of Kabukiman, an ancient warrior with incredible powers from Japanese samurai culture. Lotus (Susan Byun), the daughter of the dead sensei, finds Griswold and trains him in the art and weapons of Kabukiman, including bulletproof gale-force creating fans, flying chopstick projectiles, and parasols that set the enemy on fire. Griswold must learn his new skills quickly, as an evil spirit from the Far East known as The Evil One is coming to The Big Apple, and the battle for humanity commences.

This film was made when director Lloyd Kaufman was at his absolute best, and Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD is a quality production. Unlike some Troma films, the script actually makes sense, flows in a congruent and natural progression, and has some entertaining one-liners. The chemistry between Gianasi and Byun is especially good in this production and the viewer is drawn into their relationship and subsequent romance. This is especially true during Griswold’s training when Lotus occasionally smacks him with a stick right in the crotch and says “A man learns best through his nether regions”. The star character is creative enough as well, sort of like a samurai warrior with kabuki face paint wearing a geisha-style robe. The powers of Kabukiman are also fairly creative, the fight scenes are a little kooky yet fun enough to watch, and the transformation scene by evil businessman Reginald Stewart into The Evil One (you knew it has to be an 80’s business executive, didn’t you?) is effectual. The great battle between our two nemeses is a little anti-climatic but the film ends with a good taste in the mouth of the viewer. Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD is also a little more subdued than most of Troma’s ridiculous productions, but it still has its moments of insanity expected from a Lloyd Kaufman production.

This is not a perfect film, but Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD is more enjoyable to watch than many of the big budget Hollywood DC/Marvel superhero films including Ghost Rider, Electra, and Hulk (the Ang Lee debacle, not the quality 2008 film starring Edward Norton). I would have loved to see some sequels to this film other than Sgt. Kabukiman’s appearance in Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV where he is a slobbering perverted drunk. I think Troma has a good character here that I would better develop, and I think the Troma fans would embrace another film featuring this New York superhero. In the meantime Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD will just have to due, and that is not a negative at all. If you are a fan of the big budget superhero films and have not seen Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD make sure to give this film a try as you may find a new caped friend.

* * * *

–Mark

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