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The Toxic Avenger Part 3: The Last Temptation of Toxie (1989)

11 October 2004 by Gnoll No Comment


1989, dir. Lloyd Kaufman & Michael Herz
102 min. Not Rated.
Starring: The same people that were in part two.

Review by Gnoll

The biggest player in the Tromaverse created a whole bevy of followups. As I mentioned in my review for THE TOXIC AVENGER PART 2, that film was four hours initially and had to be split into two different sequels. The second half of that movie is THE TOXIC AVENGER PART 3, which sorta was to PART 2 what BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 3 or MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS were to their respective second parts: a third installment of a series to come out shortly following the second.

TOXIC AVENGER PART 3 is generally blasted by critics as being the worst film in the four-part Toxie series, but it’s really no better or worse than Part 2. It’s just a very different movie. Believe it or not, this one is actually character-driven, focusing on the transformation of Melvin from a hero to a lackey and then finally redeeming himself in the end. This might not be high art, but it’s still got a heart. Hey! I’m a poet!

When we last left Toxie in the last film, he had just returned from a voyage to the land of the Rising Sun to find his father. He returned just in time to save his blind girlfriend Claire from a horde of Apocalypse, Inc’s nastiest women, but it may have been too late: they had already taken their first steps toward overrunning Tromaville with evil.

The majority of this installment is told in flashback. The movie begins, as does the last one, with the biggest Toxie battle scene of the film. This time, a bunch of Apocalypse guys raid the local Tromaville video store, shooting up patrons as well as copies of all the Troma movies they’ve got in stock. Toxie saves the day as usual, quickly disposing of the bad guys and liberating all of the good people inside. But as his narration takes over, we learn he wasn’t always saving the day.

Rewind several months, where the last movie ends. Toxie is bored because there is no evil to crush, so he collects welfare checks and hangs out with Claire all day. When he gets word that there is a (very expensive) miracle treatment that may restore Claire’s sight, Melvin tries to find a job. He quickly finds out that he’s not cut out for everyday labor, so he starts feeling very depressed and useless. But one day he gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is offered a job as a high-ranking executive at Apocalypse, Inc. Thanks to Toxie’s help, the evil corporation is able to completely overtake Tromaville. Toxie soon starts talking like a yuppie and even Claire is ready to leave him. In time, he starts becoming hated by the same townfolk who once adored him.

But eventually, Toxie wises up and tells Apocalypse, Inc where to go shove their evil schemes. But things get a little hairier when the unnamed chairman of the company reveals his true self: Like Elvis Presley once sang about, this guy is the Devil in disguise. And in an interesting turn, he’s not the prototypical feiry-red goat-horned devil you generally see. He’s actually a pretty cool-looking green scaly demon. After Beelzebub reveals himself, he puts Toxie through a 5-part challenge that just happens to coincide with the name of Toxie’s favorite video game: Five Levels of Doom. Those five levels are Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and one that is unknown because nobody has ever made it that far. It’s up to Toxie to save the day and take back Tromaville. Turns out some Divine Intervention is needed to bail Toxie out of his mess this time.

Most of the trademark gore and nudity is put on hold in this sequel, which is probably the reason why it’s looked down upon by many Troma fanatics. But it actually has a little bit of a story, which earns it a few points as well. It does get a little sidetracked by bringing back the 98-pound weakling version of Melvin Junko, who is portrayed by a different actor (joining the club, I guess) that looks nothing like the original. They try to cover this up by giving him some ridiculous fake teeth and a falsetto voice.

But still, I’d put this one step above THE TOXIC AVENGER PART 2 in watchability factor, despite the fact that most reviewers think otherwise. While it deviates from the typical violence and sex (I think there’s only one breast shot in the entire film, actually, although there are a disturbing number of close-ups of Claire’s panties) it’s actually got a pretty entertaining little story. It’s not always a bad thing to show the softer side of a superhero, even if he is made of nuclear waste.

And besides, it’s got plenty of good humor. Nothing beats this line, which is easily the quote of the movie: Toxie proclaiming that “I don’t have a life! I have a half-life!”

Rating: Three out of five Toxies.

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