Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman & Michael Herz
Starring: Rick Gianasi, Susan Byun, Bill Weeden
Rated: UR/Region 0/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Where to get it: Troma
Harry Griswald is a NYPD cop who is possessed with the spirit of a great Kabuki master. This has made him ‘the chosen one’ to do battle with ‘the evil one’. He is also out to do good deeds and fight crime in the name of the law. The only problem is that a number of corrupt people in the community and their henchmen want him dead so that they can gain power when ‘the evil one’ comes to take over the world. Sgt. Kabukiman must use his special superpowers to outsmart and out-fight the bad guys.
Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is probably next in line behind The Toxic Avenger under the Troma banner, but he could and should have been a lot bigger than he is. Of course he only got one movie and that is the one we are looking at here, hitting Blu-ray. You can see some mixed results in the film, but Troma movie are never a bad way to spend an afternoon IF you are into their style. What we have here is one of those early 90’s attempts from Troma where you can tell they had an average budget. The end results are a film I found amusing but average. However as you may notice from reading other stuff around the net, this is one of the more liked efforts from Troma. And the film has that lower level of Troma charm about it with the jokes hit and miss. The character isn’t a bad character, but I feel he shines much better in Toxic Avenger 4 than he does his own movie here. Of course the reaction of this movie is supposed to be the reason he falls of the wagon like he does in that film, but that isn’t to say there aren’t a few oddly entertaining action-filled moments in this one that won’t make you laugh. There is a bit of violence here and that shouldn’t shock anyone who is a Troma fan, as they seem to be able to connect the laughs and blood together as good or better as anyone else.
People have compared the lead’s performance to that of Jim Carey before and I can somewhat see that myself. Only one good thing about that is the lead isn’t always dialed up 11 like Carey is in his films. The movie attempts to cross some lines in a comedic way here and there, but doesn’t ever really seem to get that job done. Regardless, Kabukiman isn’t the Toxic Avenger but his movie isn’t that bad. You can see why the character became so popular later, but that all came in a different setting than we have here. I still can’t deny the weird and awkward charm the film seems to have, but it could have been better. Then again, how many films can we say that very same thing about? It looks good here in widescreen and HD. It is about on par with the better of the Troma Blu-rays, but you need to realize it is a dated and low-budget film. Still, if you were happy with the way the Toxie 2 and 3 sequels looked, you get about the same in the transfer department here. I hope one day we get to see a drunken Kabukiman get another go in his own film, but until that day you can get a laugh or two out of this one. It isn’t a total swing and a miss by Troma, but I’d call it a foul. Meaning maybe it didn’t advance anything, but it doesn’t hurt anything either.
– Audio commentary by Lloyd Kaufman
– Animated Kabukiman
– Kabuki rap
– Sgt. Kabukiman accused of sexual harrassment
– Tromaville Cafe with Rick Gianasi
– Troma Trailers
– New Intro by Lloyd Kaufman
Quality of Transfer: 86%