• Toxic Avenger: The Japanese Cut

    Released by: Troma

    Released on: December 11, 2012.

    Director: Lloyd Kaufman

    Cast: Mitch Cohen, Andree Maranda

    Year: 1984

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    The Movie:

    The one that started it all! This 80s cult classic begins with Melvin, a nerdy little wimp of a man who works as a janitor at a very dated looking 80s health and fitness club. One day he finds himself to be the victim of a cruel prank. When Melvin is chased around the club by a bunch of bullheaded jocks he inadvertently ends up running outside where he gets covered in toxic waste from a truck that happens to be making a run from the nuclear power plant.

    This radioactive goop turns the previously wimpy Melvin into the Toxic Avenger (Mitch Cohen), a ‘hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength’ who sets about to right the wrongs of Tromaville and take down the bastards who did this to him. Making full use of his newly found super strength, he cleans up the town vigilante style and eventually finds true love in the form of a blind girl named Sara (Andree Maranda). When Toxie starts closing in on some corruption in town, the Mayor (Pat Ryan) turns the tables on our hero and the townsfolk soon take a different view of their own superhero.

    The movie is a kick - but you probably knew that already as The Toxic Avenger has been released on VHS, DVD and other formats a few times at this point and in different territories around the world. It was also released on laserdisc where it was presented in its ‘Japanese Cut’ and ran a full ninety-one minutes (running about four minutes longer than the previously released director’s cut) and was presented in 1.85.1 widescreen rather than the fullframe format most of us are used to. That release has been damn near impossible to find until now, as Troma have finally reissued this longer version on DVD – just in time for Christmas!

    But does it really improve on the director’s cut all that much? Not really. It’s longer and it has some alternate plot development and character development footage but don’t go in expecting much more in the way of sex or gore when compared to the director’s cut version. Hardcore fans of the movie will want to get this regardless simply because it is a marginally interesting albeit completely legitimate alternate cut of the film, but unless you suffer from completist syndrome it’s probably not an essentially purchase. With that said, if you don’t already have the director’s cut DVD, this is probably the one you want to go for as it is the longest – but it doesn’t necessarily flow better.


    So the movie is presented in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen but the source material used for the transfer is obviously dated so don’t expect a huge improvement in picture quality over the previous releases outside of the framing. The image is pretty soft and colors are a bit faded. It’s watchable enough but lovingly restored or cleaned up particularly well.

    The Dolby Digital Mono track is decent enough if not particularly remarkable. The English language dialogue is easy to follow and the score and effects sound alright, if a bit on the thin side. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided here.

    Extras are slim but we do get an amusing intro to the movie, trailers for all four Toxic Avenger movies, trailers for a few other recent Troma releases like Mr. Bricks and Father’s Day, the Radiation March footage that has appeared on pretty much every Troma DVD ever, and a short video with Lloyd Kaufman living in a box that was put up on Youtube a few months ago. Seizure inducing animated menus are included and there is chapter selection available for the feature off of the main menu.

    You can check out the intro on Troma's youtube channel:

    The Final Word:

    This one is for those who don’t already have director’s cut of The Toxic Avenger – which remains a great movie - on DVD or don’t have it on DVD period. It’s cool to see the Japanese cut after hearing about it for so long but honestly the extended footage doesn’t really add much to the movie. The presentation isn’t going to win any awards and the extras aren’t anything to write home about either. Ideally someday Troma will give The Toxic Avenger the proper release it deserves. Until then, this is out there for those who want it.