Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000)
By: Devon B. on January 14, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 109 minutes
The Movie
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Starring:David Mattey, Heidi Sjursen, Paul Kyrmse, Joe Fleishaker, Michael Budinger
Screenplay: Patrick Cassidy, Gabriel Friedman, Trent Haaga, Lloyd Kaufman
Country: USA
Citizen Toxie is a return to form for the Toxic Avenger series, and wastes no time letting the viewer know that Troma is no longer even entertaining the idea of earning an 'R' rating from the MPAA. This outing is so gleefully un-PC that it ALMOST makes up for its completely banal plot.

The DVD kicks off with Lloyd interviewing Toxie, playing on a funny joke about the actor playing Toxie being overdubbed in the film. The movie proper starts with Stan Lee telling everyone to ignore the previous two entries in the series. Then Toxie sets out to rescue a school of retards from a terrorist group, but after his hefty ward's augmented flatulence is ignited, an explosion occurs which opens a portal between parallel worlds. Toxie ends up in Amortville and his evil doppelganger, The Noxious Offender, takes his place in Tromaville. The alternate world plotline may seem dull, but Citizen Toxie is packed full of wanton tastelessness to make up for it.

Liquid shits; shot to hell retards; lesbians; intended pregnant Piñata; Lemmy; heads rammed through arses; Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf as God; retards trying to 'duck;' innards that become outtards then innards again; anti-abortionists sporting 'Choose Life or Die' signs; lesbians; Ron Jeremy as a religious mayor; naked pop up bubbles for the hearing impaired; amputation; self referencing hero poses; handicapped drug addicts; lesbians; and, vilest of the lot, Corey Feldman, all grace the screen. Even better than all of these wonderful elements is that sometimes the film is actually *gasp* funny. Yes, the satire actually works well in this film, much to my surprise. Normally a Troma movie appears to satirise mainstream cinema by being terrible (I guess that's the plan, anyway), but in Citizen Toxie the jabs have focus. The typical superhero disguise is sent up almost immediately, as are those annoying movie bombs that say they have 5 seconds till detonation, but eight minutes later they still have 45 seconds left so the hero has time to disarm it after successfully drop kicking the villain from a turnpike. The more intelligent humour is a nice refresher from the constant sodomy gags and such also featured. I think the Citizen Toxie's script is overall the best I've seen in a Troma helmed film (not in the Troma catalogue, in the movies the company has lensed itself), but it is held back by some conventional stuff. The film had limitations placed on it prior to conception since a way had to be figured out to get Toxie to fight Sergeant Kabukiman. The end result is a parody more of The Wizard of Oz than Citizen Kane, but that's okay because the whole thing is just so damn sleazy.

Toxie's makeup is improved from II and III, but I still prefer the original appearance. Toxie's voice is also dubbed deep again, much to the dismay of the actor who evidently didn't know his voice would go missing. Another step up, very important by Troma standards, is Lloyd finally cast a female lead who'd do nudity…kind of. The lead actress is VERY annoying, though, and she's not really worth putting up with just to see her breasts. Unfortunately, the film also has a few lesser gore FX, which get REALLY odd at times (see the bodiless sidekick), and lifts a few gags from other productions. Cowboy gives a moving speech that the viewer can't understand, a gimmick from South Park. The 'They're very slowly getting away' line is taken right from The Simpsons, a definite case of plagiarism. The ending sequence is similar to the ending of The Naked Gun 33 1/3, which might not seem so obvious EXCEPT that the bit with Kabukiman coming back after everyone else has frozen for the credits is lifted directly from one of the Police Squad episodes.
The DVD presents Citizen Toxie at 1.33:1, most of the time, but there are a couple of scenes that are in different aspect ratios. The film is reproduced pretty clearly. The image is not super sharp, but passable and I would not call it bad or even distracting. Layer changes cause slight delays on both discs.
The film itself is available in Troma standard 2.0 stereo. The commentaries are quieter than the film track. The cast track can leap around in volume and when the Tito character leaps in to yell the track can distort harshly. For the hearing impaired, English subs are optional. The subs miss words sometimes and not all the words make it on the screen, but are better than those found on Toxic Avenger III. There are no dividers if someone talks, and once again, sometimes words are replaced with coding.
Extra Features
This two-disc edition sets a new standard for sheer amount and quality of extras.

The outtakes are pretty amusing. We get to see Ron Jeremy flubbing lines, Hank coping a feel, Lloyd screaming, and Fleishaker REALLY flubbing lines.

The deleted scenes section is a little annoying because with each scene played, the screen flips between the prior menu and the deleted scenes menu. Nevertheless, some of the deleted scenes are worth checking out. There's a great line from a Weekly World News reporter who decides to go look for that paper's most recognisable icon. Ron Jeremy had a funny scene where he claims to have a prepared speech, but it's discovered he's pulling a hoax. Another mostly good scene focuses on Lloyd receiving an Oscar in an alternate universe. One scene to definitely check out is the press conference Noxie calls. The scene is way too long, and would never work in the film, but has a pretty cool idea. Noxie and co. have recruited underlings, and they're all minorities or females made up like Nazis. Even the women sport Hitler 'staches, which I thought was a pretty cool way to piss off the people who would support those fascist ideals. Most of the other cut scenes were no loss to the film, but there is an extra gore effect (complete with bad pun), an extension of the clock racing gag, some news satire that's just not punchy enough, and some wisely cut hero bonding fluff.

From the deleted scenes I ventured into the Citizens of Tromaville area. This menu also flips between screens after each selection, which was still annoying. The citizens stuff is mostly behind the scenes things. There is much more on the bonus DVD, but here there's some additional off-camera goofing; the chance to see Toxie get made up; Ron and Al crafting a scene; some general cast stuff; the perils of having Corey Feldman in the film; and brief interviews with Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and James Gunn, author of Scooby Doo. The best thing in this section is crewmember Zork's plight to keep a part with all of one line, the integral bit being the naked video he submitted to Lloyd.

And the extras are just getting started. There's not one, not two, but THREE commentaries. Lloyd has a solo commentary, which is up to his usual standard. The track is full of self-deprecation, but also gives lots of info and remains enjoyable. Credit where it's due, Lloyd doesn't just bash the people who he didn't see eye to eye with on the set; he often trys to address their pleasantries too.

The cast commentary is much more chaotic than Lloyd's, with various people leaping in. They all seem to be recorded separately, but the Tito character seems to mouth off at some of the others, so perhaps he was recorded to link the other people's comments. The commentary is quite jumpy, and it's difficult to keep who's who straight. At least it's fast paced, anecdote filled, remains listenable throughout, and is sometimes funny. This track is harsher on the film than Lloyd's, in particular around the editor's handling of the action sequences. The story of attempting to cast midgets for the climax varies greatly from this track and Lloyd's, so somebody is fucking with somebody else.

The editor's commentary is funny and they actually manage to find new things to talk about. It was very entertaining to hear them justify their cuts and edits in a very faux aggressive way. They point out a few things they would change, and present a different take on the fight scenes the actors claimed were messed up by the editors. The editors also clear up the mystery of the changing aspect ratio, and constantly point out the production office. It seems that there were location scouts on Citizen Toxie, but the only locations they found were really close to the office.

Those are the listed extras, but there's also a bunch of Easter eggs. One within the film itself is that the alternate 'evil' version of Sarah is named Claire. This is a reference to the actress that played Claire in the two discarded prequels being such a nasty nut job.

As for things you actually find on the first disc, there are also plenty of those. Press left on 'Citizens of Tromaville' in the extras menu to get the DVD credits. Press down on 'Scenes' in the main menu to see Debbie Rochon giving a very tongue in cheek (I hope) discussion of her character. To see the Toxic Poodle cartoon, press left on 'Play movie' in the deleted scenes. Press down on James Gunn in 'Citizens of Tromaville' to see Tito and Sweetie looking for crack. Press left on 'American Tragedy' in the deleted scenes to get the commentary by the editors option. This can also be heard by toggling the audio selection while in the scenes, and the option is listed on the box, so maybe I'm just not seeing the obvious way to select it. And, the most important egg of all, press right on 'Play movie' in the audio menu to see a rehearsal of the lesbian scene that was shot before the lead actress refused to do that scene nude.

Virtually every time I explored a menu, I found something I'd previously missed, so there could easily be many more eggs.

If that was all, the disc'd still be a great addition to any collection, but you also get a bonus DVD with the feature length documentary Apocalypse Soon. The film is a hilarious look at the disorganisation problems that plagued Citizen Toxie. It's clear from very early on Lloyd's going to have serious problems, as his utterly clueless AD demonstrates that inserting new pages in the script is one of the world's most complex procedures. Apocalypse Soon is much better than any Real World bullshit, and captures some real idiocy. One girl, some soft core star, complains that she was cast as a girl that beats up people with her boobs. When asked what she did in her audition, she says she beat people up with her tits. My favourite section is about the world's greatest stunts, including a pitiful flaming fall down some stairs, a car accident gone wrong, and a three foot leap onto a soft mattress. The documentary is nearly two hours and twenty minutes long, and is thoroughly pleasing. Who wouldn't want to see Lloyd constantly lose it?

Some pre and postproduction footage, along with some extra production footage, is also on the disc. Be sure to check out the production assistant section for the guy who claims he should be a writer and watch his aloofness crumble under minor interrogation. There's also a 'Rashamoron' section which demonstrates just what an annoying idiot the lead girl is, in case you missed that from the bonuses on Toxie III.

The second disc also has many eggs, most much better than the ones found on the first disc. On the main menu press left on 'Apocalypse Soon' to get the DVD credits. Also press left on 'Wild Lines with Lisa Gaye' to see Corey Feldman having GREAT difficulty understanding two different actors having played Kabukiman. Then press right on 'Naked Old Guy' for a pointless egg, the stuff with Ron and Al forming a scene also found on disc one. Still on this menu, press right on 'Playboy/Troma launch' to see a music video. I'm sure the band is listed, but I didn't really care who it was. In the conception menu, press right on 'Script Meeting' to see a wacky Jamaican meeting Lloyd (this guy can also be seen briefly in the film). The best egg of all, though, is found in the post menu. Press down on 'back' to hear Lloyd ramble for over two minutes about Project Greenlight on the Apocalypse Soon filmmakers' answering machine.
The Verdict
Say what you will about Troma, and believe me, I've said plenty, but they sure now how to put together some nice DVDs. This 2-disc set is packed with bonuses, and they're almost all worthwhile. If you have even the slightest interest in Toxie, Troma, or anything delightfully obscene, it is an absolute must have.
Movie Score
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