Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV

Citizen Toxie posterAs always when I comes to Troma there are two ways of looking at their movies; the first is the way in which you approach any other film, but this would just lead to a review that entirely missed the point of the production, the other is, of course to go with it and get lost (as best as possible) in the ensuing exploitation mayhem.

Positioning itself as a direct sequel to the first Toxic Avenger a debate could be had about what this means to the overall story, but again that would be largely pointless as the film barely manages to hold a plot together.

What plot there is though is a new twist on the previous Toxie tales as, in a Star Trek like fashion, our hero is transported to an alternate, evil, dimension and his counterpart ends up back in Tromaville and all hell breaks loose.

This all follows a protracted opening sequence that sees the Tromaville School For The Very Special attacked by a marauding gang of the ‘Diaper Mafia’ which sets the bar high for schlock and sick jokes.

Citizen Toxie
Toxie does some disemboweling

In some ‘classic’ Troma moments we see a man’s finger sharpened before being stabbed through his own head, a fairly full on disembowelment and ‘re-embowelment’ and a man with his head, literally, up his arse before being decapitated.

While this is going on we get various bodily excretion moments which push the joke to and beyond breaking point while one of the gang and one of the school’s pupils fondle each other in the background.

This sets the tone for the whole hour and fifty minutes which makes this something of a perfect storm of both Troma and exploitation cinema in general.

Ron Jeremy in Citizen Toxie
Ron Jeremy as Tromaville’s mayor

Crammed in, seemingly wherever they may fall, is abundant gore, sex (of pretty much all kinds you can get away in an 18 rated film that isn’t all out porn), hugely politically incorrect humour (it seems the main target here is the mentally disabled), Nazis, the KKK and many cameos spanning the pop culture spectrum from Stan Lee to Lemmy Kilmister to Ron Jeremy.

Unsurprisingly, even when viewed in context, this scatter shot approach comes with varying levels of success spanning a great little spoof on The Phantom Menace and Toxie as Noxie (his evil counterpart) square off to a scene where one of the aforementioned school’s students tries to sell another for drugs.

This non-stop schlock approach also leads to the film becoming exceptionally tiring, as there is never a chance to breath and take stock before something else is happening and, unfortunately, the hit rate isn’t as high as it might be and a lot of the charm of the earlier movies is lost as Citizen Toxie looks surprisingly high budget posing as something much cheaper (though its far from a high budget movie).

Toxie and Sarah
Toxie and Sarah

Something I really missed here that was a highlight of the other two sequels (Toxic Avenger Part II and The Last Temptation of Toxie) was the performance of Toxie’s wife Sarah which added a big chunk of the genuinely surreal when played by Phoebe Legere, here though that is missing and, while the appearance of Sgt Kabukiman NYPD does try to bring back a bit of the surreal tone it is ultimately missing.

In the end Citizen Toxie is, in many ways, the ultimate Troma experience condensed into one film but, for me, it was missing something of the surreal charm of their better output replaced by further pushing the sleazier end of their work.

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