REVIEW: Citizen Toxie – The Toxic Avenger IV (2000)

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2000, Troma Inc.

Director:
Lloyd Kaufman
Producers:
Michael Herz
Lloyd Kaufman
Writers:
Lloyd Kaufman
Trent Haaga
Gabriel Friedman
Patrick Cassidy
Cinematography:
Brendan Flynt
Editing:
Gabriel Friedman

Cast:
David Mattey (The Toxic Avenger/The Noxious Offender)
Heidi Sjursen (Sara/Claire)
Paul Kyrmse (Kabukiman)
Joe Fleishaker (Chester/Lardass)
Dan Snow (Sgt. Kazinski)
Michael Budinger (Tito)
Lisa Terezakis (Sweetie Honey)
Barry Brisco (Pompey)
Ron Jeremy (Mayor Goldberg)
Trent Haaga (Tex Diaper)
Rick Collins (Amortville Police Chief)
Mark Torgl (Evil Melvin)
Mitch Cohen (Lucifer)
Stan Lee (Narrator)
James Gunn (Dr. Flem Hocking)

After three installments, the last being in 1989 that hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength is back and this time he will face his toughest enemy yet: an alternate version of himself!

At the Tromavilla School for the Very Special, the Diaper Gang take a class hostage due to the fact that teacher Ms. Weiner is pregnant from an interracial relationship. When the police are unable to do anything about it, enter the one and only Melvin, the Toxic Avenger, who now has a sidekick in the form of Lardass. When Diaper Gang leader Tex informs Melvin that if he dies a bomb implanted inside him will detonate. Melvin’s Tromatons unleash and he kills Tex. However, with the bomb going off, Melvin and two students, Tito and Sweetie Honey are able to escape.

However, Melvin, Tito, and Sweetie Honey are no longer in Tromaville. Due to a very strange circumstance, they have ended in an alternate universe named Amortville. Meanwhile, a more evil version of Melvin, dubbed The Noxious Offender, has arrived in Tromaville. Noxie begins to wreak havoc in Tromaville while Melvin tries to find a way back to Tromaville. With the help of local scientist Chester, Melvin hopes to find his way back to Tromaville but will have to come face-to-face with his doppelganger in order to save his wife Sara, who is now pregnant with twins, one from Melvin and one from Noxie!

It’s happened! After The Toxic Avenger III and its cartoon counterpart, The Toxic Crusaders, one would think with Troma’s busy schedule that we would possibly never expect another movie with the iconic figure that has become Troma’s trademark. However, Lloyd Kaufman was finally ready and with the help of three others, wrote a new adventure that would mesh Orson Welles’ classic Citizen Kane and the likes of Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, but more like two alternate universes and this would be made before but released after the sci-fi film The One, starring Jet Li.

Once production was ready, enter a new actor to play the Toxic Avenger and his doppelganger The Noxious Offender. Aspiring actor and stuntman David Mattey hopped on board and with the voice of Clyde Lewis, is a worthy Toxic Avenger. His introduction literally scares the [censored] out of one of the Diaper Gang members and adds an interesting notion that he now has a sidekick briefly seen in just the opening action scene, Lardass, played by the late Joe Fleishaker. What helped Mattey earn the role is that he is quite good with the staff, which enables him to do well when using Toxie’s mop as a weapon.

Heidi Sjursen doesn’t offer much to the role of Sara when compared to original star Andree Maranda. She is seen more in a goofball role. While the name’s thankfully reverted back to Sara and the alternate universe version would be named Claire (the name of Melvin’s love interest in Part II and III), we are talking 21st-century Troma, and so it’s at this point forgivable. As for the appearance of another Troma superhero character, Kabukiman, Paul Kyrmse pulls it off well in both versions of the heroic Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. and his doppelganger, who shows some pretty decent martial arts skills in a fight against Toxie.

There are numerous celebrity cameos in this film, all using pseudonyms. Look for Corey Feldman as Sarah’s OB/GYN, Jason and Randy Sklar as newscasters who appear sporadically, the late Howard Stern Wack Pack member Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf as God, and the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead as himself seen during the Noxious Offender’s first massacre in Tromaville. Even look out for Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn as Dr. Flem Hocking, who talks to the audience about alternate universes. There are also some notable members of the original cast who appear in this film. The original Toxic Avenger, Mitch Cohen, plays a redneck supremacist who gets a taste of his own medicine from Toxie in Amortville and look for the original Melvin himself, Mark Torgl, in a very Troma-tic scene in the third act of the film.

Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV meshes the original and the modern day tones of Troma’s trademark meshing of comedy, action, and horror. It is amped up quite a bit, but this is what’s expected: a 21st-Century Toxic Avenger and it delivers. Look for the opening shot of the film, a look at the World Trade Center, pre 9/11, which in its first screening post-9/11 received a major ovation from the fans with Stan Lee’s narration.

WFG RATING: B+

DVD/BLU-RAY

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