Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Troma’s Toxic Avenger has long been one of the signature characters of Lloyd Kaufman’s low-budget, schlocky and gory stable of films. Since the first film in 1984, Toxie has both lampooned horror films and culture at large and offered up some silly, gory entertainment. Not that it’s ever been particularly sharp satire, but the movies are fun and sometimes memorable in their eagerness to shock.
So, of course, Akiva Goldsman and a couple other producers have picked up the rights to create a new film. The goal? PG-13 adventures.
Deadline reports that, driven in part by good reception to the off-Broadway Toxic Avenger stage musical, which I’ve heard is legitimately entertaining, “the group intends to turn Toxie into a green superhero for these environmentally conscious times.”
So, the original film had a 98lb weakling janitor, Melvin, who was constantly belittled by the customers at the gym where he works. In particular, two psychopath exercise addicts and serial vehicular murderers, along with their sociopathic bimbo girlfriends, picked Melvin as their prime target of ridicule. Lured into what he thinks will be a sexual tryst with one of the girls, Melvin faces his ultimate humiliation and dives through a window…only to land in a vat of toxic waste carried on a flatbed parked below. (The drivers are busy snorting massive amounts of cocaine.) Turned into a Hulk-like Toxic Avenger (who can speak in a normal human voice), Melvin takes his revenge.
Naturally, this should be remade as a family film. That’s exactly the plan. Deadline says “The remake will be mounted as a family friendly PG-13 action comedy akin to The Mask.”
Point: missed. We’ve seen this before, when a short-lived and quite awful animated series was spawned from the character. Didn’t take that one long to die, fortunately. And it’s not like this series is some sacred cow — it has more than one bad sequel in the closet. (Two of them, really.) But what, Captain Planet wasn’t available?