By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where the Dragon dances through the hoop of Jupiter. This week, Jarrod & Birdy attempt to wash out the bad taste of the summer movie season with a movie that revels in bad taste: Lloyd Kaufman’s ‘Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.’ They discuss the movie’s odd tonal balance, the other movie hiding in plain sight underneath it, and how a Troma movie can survive in an age of outrage culture. But first, they reveal which movies they’ll probably end up watching before 2016 comes to an end.
As always, be wary for spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.
ANTI-MONITOR: MATT — The films of Troma Entertainment are difficult to parse in modern times, but for a time the Troma brand signified true independence from traditional Hollywood fare (for better or worse). Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is quintessential Troma, filled with outlandish slapstick and controversial subject matter that rides a fine line between absurd and obscene. This kind of flick can only exist in a time long past, and in many ways that is for the betterment of humanity.
However, if a viewer is game for something over-the-top and outlandish in nature, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. fills the prescription. This movie is the epitome of schlock, and though its entire conceit is, well, problematic, it manages to deliver a fun, gaudy, and irreverent bit of fun. Lloyd Kaufman has never been one to tone his material down, but he manages to keep the whole affair from being too mean spirited. Unfortunately, many of the tropes of ‘80 cinema are quite garish and ugly, and this movie rides the line between fun and poor taste a bit too closely for modern viewing. It takes a strong stomach to sit through a Troma film, and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. tests the viewer’s intestinal fortitude pretty heavily. Still, this flick has some moments of sheer fun, just so long as you can look past the ugliness.
ANTI-MONITOR: JARROD — It’s the first Troma flick I’ve ever seen, but it wouldn’t be the last. Yes, I spent a good majority of my Twenties watching Troma movies, a fact that I absolutely refuse to be ashamed of. And while I can talk a blue streak about Lloyd Kaufman’s importance as an independent voice for all of cinema (and I really could), finding stable ground on which to orate my defense of some of his more vuglar and downright offensive creative decisions is damn near impossible anymore. The world went and kept on turning, and its tolerance for Troma’s casual approach to sexual atrocities and it’s ironic approach to racism was left behind with the Clinton years.
So while I can still enjoy parts of St. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., primarily Rick Gianasi’s goofball hero, Susan Byun’s game performance, and a murderer’s row of wildly energetic supporting players (including an appearance by late Troma true-heart, Joe Fleishaker), the movie’s well documented production woes show a little too plainly. (Even for schlocky cinema like this.) It belongs on the top shelf of any Troma die-hard, though it will always lie in the shadow of that other Kaufman trashterpiece, The Toxic Avenger.
CONSENSUS: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. stands between broad accessibility and raucous Troma mayhem, though it can only manage one at a time. — 4 out of 10
Before: ‘”DAWN OF JUSTICE’: We Bid This Zack Snyder Joint A Not-So Fond Farewell,” here.
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