The second in Troma’s flagship franchise, and the follow-up to the film that made their name, ups the stakes in pretty much every regard as the worlds first toxic superhero returns for The Toxic Avenger Part II.
The story, which is as convoluted as you might expect, concerns Toxie once again saving Tromaville from a big evil corporation, in this case Apocalypse Inc who hint at being genuinely diabolical, while also seeking out his father who abandoned him at birth following a suggestion from his “Freudian psychiatrist” and heading to Japan to do so.
Its clear from the start that The Toxic Avenger Part II has a much bigger budget than the first film as the initial opening action sequence actually feels at least partially choreographed and seems to use actual stunt performers, while the explosive destruction of the Tromaville home for the blind is actually quite impressive.
This continues throughout the movie from more elaborate car chases to the more convincing gore to the whole middle sequence being shot on location in Tokyo.
Here things shift between the Troma staples of action and comedy to some oddly travelogue like moments with a rock band and dancers in a park where Toxie seems to be doing his best Michael Palin – although this being Troma they still manage to make it all look exceptionally scuzzy and pile on the stereotypes with a bath house and sumo scene and Yakuza-ish bad guys.
All this sets things at odds a bit as, despite the bigger production values (and believe me this is still low-budget, just not as low as the first), it still feels like a student film where every idea that might even slightly work is thrown at the screen to see what sticks. In the first this worked as the running time was somewhat shorter and the restricted budget worked in its favour as to what was possible, here though it does drag in sections and the genuine laughs are fewer.
In the end Toxie 2 continues in the footsteps of its predecessor but in an even less controlled way that leaves it not quite as enjoyable as some of the innocence of the extremely lo-fi and scuzzy original is lost, but that said, it left things on a generally good point and contained enough fun stuff to just about balance out the rest if the divisive style of Troma is your thing.