Wednesday, August 19, 2015

TROMA'S WAR (1988)

TROMA'S WAR (1988) 

Label: Troma

Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 91 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen
Director: Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz
Cast: Carolyn Beauchamp, Sean Bowen, Rick Washburn

Synopsis: Before there was "American Sniper" and "Lost" there was TROMA'S WAR! A tropical vacation turns deadly when a passenger plane full of American tourists crash-lands on a remote Caribbean island! Those who manage to survive the flaming wreckage band together in search of safety, only to discover their island is home to a vicious terrorist organization. Bullets fly and flames light up the jungle as the survivors are hunted, captured, and pushed to the limits of human endurance…until they decide it’s time to declare WAR! Gloriously restored in explosive HD, TROMA’S WAR is Troma at its loudest, biggest, and most action-packed! 

A commercial jet airliner originating out of Tromaville crashes on an uncharted island somewhere  in the Indian Ocean, most of the passengers perish in the fiery crash but a small group of survivors crawl from the wreckage and regroup, soon discovering they've crashed on some covert terrorist training camp where all the anti-American groups of the world seem to have converged. You have the usual assortment of Islamic bombers, some neo-Nazis and even a pig-faced American among them. The group of survivors is lead by a 'Nam vet turned car salesman, sporting a loud Hawaiian shirt, the guy is pure nuts, but just maybe nuts enough to lead the band of survivors against a horde of American-hating terrorist. 

Troma's War is an insanely violent and fun movie, loaded with corny comedy and sorely stereotyped characters with plenty of nude women, which is sort of what Troma all about. On top of that there are lots of crude 80s practical special effects providing no shortage of gore and plenty of bloody squibs, exploding boobies and genital harm, this is ferocious good fun, just be prepared for the usual Troma cheapness, there's no escaping it, though this apparently cost three-million to make, which is A LOT for a Troma movie.

The cast is fun but the acting is predictably awful, though some of the dialogue is priceless stuff, the delivery might be a bit off but the writing is super silly and fun, this is a slice of trash cinema gold right here. Of course Troma never fears to go the completely tasteless route and this time offer a the character "Señor Sida" (Mr. AIDS), a terrorist with unsightly lesions over his face and body who leads a brigade of AIDS-infected soldiers in hopes of spreading the terrible disease throughout the US, at one point raping a young woman and infecting her, played for comedic effect, of course. I would hesitate to call this - or any other Troma movie - a classic of 80s film, but its certainly a fun, trashy actioner from Troma that's worth a watch if you love 80s cheese and that trashy Troma aesthetic. 

Audio/Video: The film arrives on Blu-ray from Troma for the first-time in widescreen, the image looks pretty decent out of the gate with some minor print damage and a few scratches, nothing too egregious and sporting a layer of natural looking film grain. Then when the action sequences kick in you really notice some compression artifacts, the macr0-blocking begins to overwhelm the action sequences, it is rather unsightly and yet another issue with a Troma Blu-ray, which is unfortunate, I wish they would just have someone like Vinegar Syndrome handle the transfers for all their vintage titles, VS have been doing a great job with titles they've licensed from Troma, such as Graduation Day and Sugar Cookies, both of which received phenomenal HD transfers without any unsightly glitches. Audio comes by way of an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track that sounds well balanced and clean, no issues other than Troma still refusing to go the lossless audio route in the year 2015. 

Onto the extras we have quite a bit of cool stuff, beginning with an audio commentary with writer/director Lloyd Kaufman who goes into quite a bit of detail about the production of the movie and the various New York locations and the ensuing battle with the MPAA and the cuts they were required to make to get the R-rating. 

There are various cast and crew interviews, beginning with 'Post War Reflections' with Kaufman briefly interviewing stars Sean Bowen, Joe Fleishaker and Jessica Dublin, and then into 'Veteran’s Day: A Post-Tromatic Reunion' with director Pericles Lewness and Joe Fleishaker reminiscing about their time making the film. There's also an interview with Weapons Coordinator/Actor Rick Washburn who played the 'Nam Vet car salesman Parker in the movie. New and exckusive to this Blu-ray edition is a new intro from Lloyd Kaufman featuring the Toxic Avenger, plus a 20-minute conversation with Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz whom reflect on the making of the movie, the low-budget challenges and dealing with the MPAA. 

Special Features:

- New Intro with writer/director Lloyd Kaufman (3 Mins) HD 
- Director’s Commentary with Lloyd Kaufman
- War Memories with Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz (20 Mins) HD 
- London’s War (1 Mins) 
- Post War Reflections with Sean Bowen, Joe Fleishaker and Jessica Dublin (5 Mins) 
- Interview with Weapons Coordinator/Actor Rick Washburn (3 Mins) 
- Veteran’s Day: A Post-Tromatic Reunion with Pericles Lewness, Joe Fleishaker (10 Mins) 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (3 Mins) 
- Troma Trailers: Retunr to Nuke 'Em Hight Vol. 1 (3 Mins) , Return to Nuke 'Em High Vol. 2 (2 Mins), The Toxic Avenger (3 Mins) 

Troma's War is a lot of corny Reagan-era action fun, it was a time of extreme American jingoism and Kaufman and crew put together quite a fun and bloody companion piece of sorts to the action movies that were coming out at the time, just way cheaper, cornier and with loads of boobies. The Blu-ray is a nice upgrade from the previous DVD versions but the compression issues that plague the transfer are gonna problematic for a lot of folks, you have been warned. 2.5/5