• 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.

The Toxic Avenger Part II

TITLE: The Toxic Avenger Part II

YEAR: 1989

GENRE: Superhero/Comics and Horror

After the tremendous success of the independent cult classic The Toxic Avenger, Troma Studios executives Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz had images of a superhero franchise dancing in their heads and knew that their deformed anti-hero was ripe for sequels and marketing. During the production the studio filmed way too much material for one film and came up with the bright idea of creating two films from the footage. This turned out to be a pretty dismal mistake as both sequels lost money in their theatrical releases and both final products fall woefully short of the original classic material. The Toxic Avenger Part II does have some classic bloody moments but lacks any originality or depth to raise it up to the level of the original classic.

Five years after the original film, Toxie (played by Ron Fazio and John Altamura) has eliminated crime from his beloved Tromaville and is settling into a life with his girlfriend Clare (Phoebe Legere). The problem is that Toxie is now bored of his suburban life and even looks for little white lies and old men cheating at checkers to pass the time. Toxie wants to meet his biological father, and is lured by a psychologist to go toJapanin a search for his dad. It turns out that the psychologist is really an employee of the corrupt chemical business Apocalypse Inc. which plans to turn Tromaville into a huge toxic waste dump. After a few bloody adventures in the Far East, Toxie returns to Tromaville to chase out the evil corporation and bring peace and harmony back to his stomping grounds.

There are some truly funny yet nasty scenes in The Toxic Avenger Part II but overall the film offers little to the Toxic Avenger legacy and comes across as a bit stale. The limited fight scene between Toxie and some swordfish/human monster is actually quite clever and was way too short, and Toxie’s convalescence with a group of sumo wrestlers had entertaining moments. Other than some of the funny moments, The Toxic Avenger Part II is pretty stereotypical and has numerous elements that can be annoying. Toxie’s narration of the film is in some type of nasally, adolescent tone and detracts from the film, and the portrayal of Clare as an accordion playing, big haired 80’s arena rock goddess was irritating and greatly detracted from the original girlfriend portrayal who was sweet and mostly innocent. Most of the acting is downright terrible and the storyline lacks inspiration. On the positive, the blood and gore effects by Joel Harlow (who later moved on to Hollywood and did the special effects for three of the Pirates Of The Caribbean films) is plentiful and fairly well done.

Legere was famous for doing sexy burlesque-style shows inNew York Citywhile playing an accordion, which explains the idea behind the most annoying aspects of the film. Michael Jai White made his theatrical debut in this film as a corrupt corporate executive; White eventually donned his own superhero outfit as Al Simmons and his alter ego in Spawn as well as the voice of various villains in comic book TV shows such as  “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” and “Justice League”. The Toxic Avenger Part II costs $2.3 million to produce—almost five times the cost of the original—and only brought in a little under $800,000 in its theatrical release. A year later the sequel The Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie was unleashed to an even more unreceptive public. There are a few redeeming moments in the sight gags, but The Toxic Avenger Part II has that thrown together feel and is limited in terms of continuity and originality. Die-hard Troma film fanatics will find some fun here, but most film fans will see The Toxic Avenger Part II as a waste of time.

* *

–Mark

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