Thursday, November 19, 2015

SGT. KABUKIMAN N.Y.P.D. (1990) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Troma Entertainment

Duration: 105 Minutes
Region Code: Region-Free
Audio: English  Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.77:1)
Directors: Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz
Cast: Rick Gianasi, Susan Byun, Bill Weeden, Thomas Crnkovich, Noble Lee Lester, Brick Bronsky, Larry Robinson, Pamela Alster, Shaler McClure, Fumio Furuya

When it comes to Troma movies I am down for the classic Nuke 'Em High and the Toxic Avenger movies for the most part. I am also a fan of a few of the movies they've picked-up but have not necessarily produced themselves, I am thinking of Buddy Giovinazzo's Combat Shock, Astron 6's Father's Day and Drew Rosas' slasher Blood Junkie in particular. A few others like Mother's Day get a pass but if I am honest with you I don't care all that much for the Troma aesthetic, which is why I never sought out Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.. 

The corny action-comedy concerns the largely inept Sergeant Detective Harry Griswold (Rick Gianasi) of the N.Y.P.D. whom while attending a Kabuki play at the the theatre is accidentally is imbued with the ancient Kabukiman powers from a dying old man who kisses him with his last breath. This happens much to the chagrin of the old man's granddaughter Lotus (Susan Byun), who had hoped she would inherit the power of the Kabukiman. The movie pretty much plays out with the befuddled Detective Griswold not understanding what's happening to him while he begins turning Japanese, craving sushi and wearing a kimono. 

With the help of Lotus the reticent Groswold comes to embrace his new found superpowers and begins to hone his skills as Kabukiman before facing off against the diabolical businessman Reginald Stuart (Bill Weeden) and a crooked man of the cloth named Reverend Snipes. The former looks like a comic mash-up of former Tonight Show host Jay Leno and director Joe Dante. Reginald holds the key to an ancient curse which threatens to unleash The Evil One upon the world, eventually the evil ancient force does arrive on the scene and Kabukiman must save the world. 

A few scenes here and there made me laugh, which is about par for Troma, but at the end of the day this is just a cornball action-comedy from Troma that did almost nothing for me. We have a few decent training montages and some silly action sequences with Kabukiman beginning to use his super powers, which consisted of throwing deadly chops sticks, turning people into human sushi rolls, tying criminals up with Asian-noodles, and using his Japanese hand fan to cause a powerful whirlwind, which was all a bit too corny for my tastes. I don't even know how to begin explaining how he turned someone into a pile of hot dogs!

Audio/Video: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. arrives on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer framed in 1.77 widescreen, the image offers some decent detail in the close-ups but it does look like there's been some digital tinkering applied to it to remove excess grain, it's not the worst I've seen from Troma by any means, in comparison to Rabid Grannies this one looks okay. The colors are mostly vibrant with the reds and greens popping, the black levels are adequate and there's some decent  contrast. Troma again go with a lossy Dolby Digital audio option, the stereo track is nicely balanced, clean and free of distortion, no subtitles are provided. 

Onto the bonus features we an audio commentary from co-director Lloyd Kaufman who offers a detailed info track that touches on the origins of the movie and how they achieved certain shots with plenty of the self-effacing humor we've come to expect. There's also an interview with Sgt. Kabukiman actor Rick Gianiasi, a full episode of Kabukiman's Cocktail Corner featuring Brian Quinn of the TV show Impractical Jokers, a karaoke of the theme song for the movie and other Troma-centric extras. 

Special Features:

- New Intro by Lloyd Kaufman (6 Mins) HD 
- Interview with Sgt. Kabukiman Himself, Rick Gianiasi (7 Mins) HD 
- Kabukiman's Karaoka (3 Mins) HD 
- A Full episode of Kabukiman's Cocktail Corner featuring Brian Quinn (Impractical Jokers) (12 Mins) HD 
- Stupid Moments in Troma History (3 Mins) 
- Audio Commentary by Lloyd Kaufman
- Trailer (4 Mins) 
- Tromadance 2015 Highlight (5 Mins) HD 

I know this is a beloved Troma movie with a large fan base but I do not count myself among them. I found the comedy dull and the movie to be overlong, but I am not a Troma fan either so there's that working against it. The disc from Troma looks decent and there are some good extras, but for me this is only notable as the original source of the infamously recycled scene of the car flipping over and exploding which seems to have been reused any many time since. 2/5