Troma Studios has been turning out micro-budgeted shlock toilet bowl movies since the early Seventies, concentrating heavily on gore and sex and violence and camp, and most assuredly not turning out anything that is ever going to be winning any Critic's Choice Awards or any accolades whatsoever. These are garbage pail movies for the comic book and horror video crowd--which, of course, is just fine, and is often a helluva lot more entertaining than anything the more highbrow provenders of cinematic fare might have to offer up.
In 1989 they offered up the deliriously silly and gross Sgt. Kanukiman N.Y.P.D., a cartoonish video vomit fest whose plot is borrowed from an old TV cop show and mixed around with a healthy helping of Batman, Kung-Fu, and a whole lotta lame attempts at laughs that never really surface. In between, we have parodies and cheap shots at corporate America--jabs that are not inaccurate or inappropriate, but, somehow, just fail to be very amusing.
Sgt. Harry Griswold (Rick Gianasi) is investigating the murder of a Japanese man and his girlfriend--the latter being thrown out of a high-rise window to the foul, teeming street below, where Wall Street execs are snorting lines of coke off the hood of an expensive car. The murder, committed by a psychopath in a long, cheapo yellow wig, is apparently to stop the crime-fighting ability of the man, who is, in reality, a "Kabukiman": a Japanese superhero, possessed of an ancient secret power. Lotus (Susan Byun), a Japanese woman, and her grandfather (who eats magic worms) try to transfer the power to another in time, but then there's a massacre at a Kabuki theater where Griswold is in attendance, and the secret Kabuikman spirit gets transferred to him. Egaad!
Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. Fighting Scene
Lotus has a prophecy about the "dragon going through the ring of Saturn," and the "monkey riding the jaguar," and this links up with the Second Coming of Kabukiman. The nefarious corporate criminal overlord (Bill Weeden) and his gang of grotesque comic book baddies are behind all the murderous drug dealing and wrongdoing, and Griswold has to learn and eventually be "trained" by Lotus to adapt to his role as a superhero. And all of this takes a long time. About twenty minutes beyond audience endurance for such stuff, by my reckoning.
In between, we get impalement by chopsticks, flying puke bombs, projectile sushi, a literal "diet of worms," and a man in a very, very silly "Kabuki meets Superman at a Pride Parade" costume, flying through the air, transforming into a rotund, uni-cycle riding circus clown, and battling a caricature black activist preacher (Larry Robinson) running a false front church that caters to junkies (as in, supplying them).
Cult Films and Midnight Movies
"From High Art to Low Trash" Vol 1
Of course, none of this can be taken seriously by any stretch of the imagination. Much like The Toxic Avenger, the signature film series responsible for the "Tromatic" birth of the unique Kaufman brand of cinematic (in most cases, straight-to-video) sleaze that has belched up hundreds of titles over the decades (from Beware: Children at Play, to Luther the Geek, Vampire Sisters of Lesbian Sin, Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell, Bloodsucking Freaks--it just never ends), Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is a nasty superhero saga with splattery special effects and big-chested sex gags that refuses to be anything other than the lovable, lowbrow toilet tripe that it is. And you should dig that, toilet-trained or not.
And, well, thank whatever gods look down with favor upon entertainment that is the equivalent of a bag of really greasy fries with nacho cheese and chili sauce--otherwise, we'd be adrift atop an ocean of dull-as-paste Sundance film festival biopics about obscure environmental activists and their relationship to the endangered Spotted Rhinocerous Boll weevil.
(I was going to say Spotted Rhinocerous Butterfly, but it didn't have nearly the same auditory spark.)
Now go listen to a little Madame Butterfly, contemplate the Moon, and remember: "I'm Kabukiman."
(Ok, not really.)
Sgt Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (Trailer)
About the Creator
Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com