When Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, the two men who directed The Toxic Avenger 1-3, decided to make a sequel to their 1984 “classic,” they wound up shooting many more hours of footage than they needed. Some sources say four hours, other says six. The point is, that’s too long for a Toxic Avenger movie — that’s too long for almost any movie ever. So, they decided to split the footage into two movies. Hence, we have The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie.
I don’t really understand this, though. I actually enjoyed Part II. It was funny and action-packed, and did basically all I could hope for out of a B-movie like The Toxic Avenger. The Last Temptation of Toxie was filmed at the same time as Part II, but it’s significantly worse in every way imaginable. Its comedy is lacking, there’s barely any action, our hero has been reduced to almost nothing of importance, and the plot is only intermittently important. There’s no fun to be had. But this was the same production. How could it yield two entirely different results? I’m guessing the good footage got put in the first sequel while the B-roll was saved for this one. This film shouldn’t exist.
Remember Apocalypse Inc.? They’re back. They play the villain this time. Well, the Chairman (Rich Collins) does. But let’s back up. The story this time involves Toxie (Ron Fazio and John Altamura), as he is now affectionately called, being stupid and naive enough to join forces with Apocalypse Inc. They hire him as a spokesman. He accepts, because once all the crime is gone, what is a superhero to do?
(Spoiler alert.) Eventually he learns that, yes, the evil corporation from the last film is indeed evil, and we get a one-on-one showdown between Toxie and the Chairman, who winds up transforming into the Devil, because why not? The middle section is painfully dull, save for a bizarre Citizen Kane homage that at least made me pay attention for a few brief moments. Seriously, what was up with that? Is the target audience even going to get what they’re doing with that? (No offense.)
The most surprising thing about The Last Temptation of Toxie is that it’s pretty tame when it comes to violence, sex, and profanity. For better or worse, the previous two films had enough gore and breasts to become every 15-year-old’s favorite film. This one doesn’t have much of anything. A choice word here or there, and that one action scene at the end, but that’s about it. We spend more time inner-monologuing about how boring life is once you defeat crime forever.
It’s weird how completely dull this film is. In retrospect, it makes the first installment come across as a wonderful production that was filled to the brim with action. It wasn’t, but it was in comparison to this chapter. If you were bored by any part of the first two Toxic Avenger films, you’re going to want to skip this one entirely. It probably won’t matter if you do, anyway. You’re not missing anything and by the end, we essentially revert everything back to status quo. Spoiler alert.
There is an occasional laugh here or there, but apart from those, there’s nothing to see here. A bit of an attempt is made to dramatize both Toxie and his wife, Claire (Phoebe Legere), but it’s artificial and skin-deep. This is a Troma movie. We’re here to see over-the-top gore and naked people — and sometimes over-the-top gore with naked people. This is a cash grab put out because the filmmakers messed up, filmed too much, and had to try to slap together two films from the footage. Don’t buy in.
You have no reason to watch The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, unless you want to see all of the Toxic Avenger films for one reason or another. The fact of the matter is that it exists because the filmmakers didn’t want footage they filmed to go to waste. The fact that you have to pay money to see it is probably another motivating factor. This is an incredibly boring movie that doesn’t even try to bring with it the exploitation elements for which the series, and Troma as a whole, is known.