Yes, I am proud to admit that Troma's War is one of my many guilty pleasures. Troma's War is certainly one of the best exploitation films ever made. This movie has everything a B-movie lover could want: shootings, explosions, a multifarious cast, action, violence, thrills, mayhem, toilet humor and some romance thrown in as well! This is Troma's magnum opus, a film that deserves to be embraced by all of humanity. It is a good time for all -- especially for those with a twisted sense of humor. But just remember that this film is intended to be the opposite of such masterpieces as Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, and The Deer Hunter . Think of Troma's War as a politically (in)correct version of Rambo.
Essentially, Troma's War is a spoof of the action and war genres. The film's contrived plot concerns a bunch of Tromaville citizens who survived a plane crash on an uncharted island. On the island, the crash survivors have discovered an international conspiracy that will not only endanger the United States, but will place the whole world in jeopardy. Eventually, this leads to all sorts of scenes of random silliness...not to mention moments of bloodshed. Will the survivors beat the odds, or will the world spell doom?
The cast of offbeat heroes and heroines in Troma's War include Parker (Rick Washburn, credited as Michael Ryder), a used car salesman who happens to be a Vietnam Veteran, Cooney (Ara Romanoff), a laid back guy who epitomizes obesity, and Hardwick (Charles Kay Hune), a handicapped World War II veteran who recently lost his wife and is also battling cancer. There is also Taylor (Sean Bowen), the dashing lead character who is anointed the unofficial leader of the group, Lydia (Carolyn Beauchamp), his spunky but cute love interest, and a badass grandmother (Jessica Dublin). Amongst the rest of the valiant souls are: Sean (Alex Cserhart), lead singer of a punk rock band called The Bearded Clams, Jennifer (Lisa Patruno), a young lady who recently lost her eyesight, Marshall (Steven Crossley), a smart and practical Englishman, Kirkland (Patrick Weathers), a Wall Street yuppie (and since this is a Troma flick, you can guess what he's going to do), Kim (Brenda Brock), an overprotective mother trying to take care of her infant daughter who also miraculously survived the plane crash, Reverend Brown (Dan Snow), a compassionate priest who tries to hold together another survivor as she is screaming, crying, and breaking apart, and lots of alluring beauties who must fight to save America from the grip of terrorism! This rather unconventional and unlikely group of heroes is Troma's (and America's) last hope on the war on terror.
And just who are these bad guys that the citizens of Tromaville are up against? They are a real vile bunch, folks. Led by Major Asyolsky (Zenon Zelenich), and Major Ramirez (Alexis Grey), these terrorists have been recruited from the ranks of the world's most dangerous organizations. They are well trained and armed with the latest technology and the deadliest weapons. Their numbers are well in the hundreds. The terrorists' field commanders are Captain Schweinhart (Tod Johnson), a neo Nazi and an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator who somehow thinks that Black priests are Jewish, and Colonel Jennings (Rick Collins), who has an uncontrollable habit of snorting like a pig! Jennings is basically Troma's version of Cobra Commander.
The terrorists come from around the world and they speak with every foreign accent imaginable. But the terrorists are united by one goal: infiltration of the United States of America. These terrorists themselves are funded by an unlikely source: the power elite of the first world. It is up to the good denizens of Troma to summon the courage within themselves and become war machines in the battle against terrorism. These heroes must put a stake into the heart of the terrorist army. The blood starts flowing as the terrorists go to war with these civilians. There will be many casualties and many sacrifices, but if the good guys do not prevail, freedom as we know it will be a forgotten memory. Fight for your freedoms! Do not let the labor, corporate, and bureaucratic elite win!
Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma team aim for the jugular with this bizarre concoction that mixes explosive Rambo-style violence with campy schlock comedy that only the folks at Troma can conjure up. And wherever the Troma team aims, they don't miss. Here, they pump the jugular full of lead.
Troma's War is a fine amalgam of action, war, and comedy genres with a little horror thrown in. Troma's War both celebrates and parodies the action movie genre, particularly those from the Rambo/Schwarzenegger/Chuck Norris canon. Troma does an awesome job of mocking every action film cliche and convention known to mankind. We have terrorist leaders with terribly exaggerated foreign accents. We have bad guys who don't know how to hit their target if it was standing right in front of them. We have good guys somehow surviving impossible scenarios including one who somehow manages to jump out of a truck at the very last minute before the truck crashes into a boat and explodes upon impact! Did I mention that the good guys never run out of bullets and despite being outnumbered 20 to one, they miraculously do not get hit? Even the cheesy dialogue is typical of what you hear in the usual war/action movies. Like this exchange: Sean: "No way man, we're dead!" Taylor: "We're not dead until I say we're dead!"
In terms of action, it takes a while to get going, but once it finds its rhythm, it stays consistent. Once the survivors encounter the terrorists, the action is virtually nonstop as the good guys and girls must take down an entire army of the elite enemy forces. Troma's War offers quite a multitude of special effects and stylish stunt work along with exciting action choreography and pulse-pounding gun battles. Imagine if John Woo teamed up with the forces of Troma. Troma's War has not one, not two, but three epic action sequences. The latter two action sequences include a shootout at the terrorists' infiltration camp and the finale at the terrorists' main headquarters. This blistering action sequence, where the remaining survivors launch their final campaign against the terrorists, lasts around 15 minutes and includes a variety of guns, grenades, bazookas, and military weapons being used. The filmmakers throw in everything including the kitchen sink for the action scenes and you get more than your money's worth. There's enough insane carnage in this movie for five action movies.
Actor Rick Washburn is an experienced weapons specialist and coordinator and he handled all the weapons used in this movie. His background and experience in firearms lends a lot of credibility to this movie. The pyrotechnics are plentiful and also pretty convincing. Clearly, this is a low budget production, but Lloyd Kaufman and crew went to great lengths to give this film a theatrical quality to it. No expense was spared and the numerous explosions actually look impressive. And the film's body count? I've lost track early on, but it's probably well in the hundreds. I will say the action occasionally gets repetitive, but it's so over the top that you wouldn't mind. You'll notice the same extras getting killed over and over again, but it's part of the amusement. You will have a lot of fun rooting for the good guys as they fight fire with firepower. This movie is one hell of an entertaining ride.
Strong, graphic violence is quite prevalent in this movie. After all, this movie was severely cut in order to obtain an R-rating. And let me tell you, I actually saw the R-rated version and it's completely lame and devoid of most of the blood and guts that have come to define Troma. But the original Troma's War has utilized plenty of bloody squibs. There's lots of gruesome violence to the extreme, but it doesn't have that mean-spiritedness to it. Many creative death scenes too from bad guys burning to death in very slow motion to terrorists getting shot in the crotch with an arrow. The arrow-in-the-crotch scene makes me squirm just thinking about it. There are other agonizing moments, one which stood out for me was one of the survivors held hostage getting his tongue ripped out by a terrorist as the hostage is singing a hymn! Even when the terrorist literally got his tongue, the survivor continues to boldly sing the hymn in an act of defiance though his singing is reduced to him gushing blood from his mouth!
The filmmakers proudly give the middle finger to the pious and self-righteous. There are no boundaries in this movie. Nothing is sacred. In the beginning, we witness human barbecues screaming for their lives. We also hear a baby crying loudly as the plane is burning in the aftermath of the crash. All that pretty much sets the tone for the whole movie. Obviously, Troma is testing its audiences to see what limits it can push. If you cannot handle the beginning, this movie is probably not for you. There are a few other scenes highlighting the offensive nature of Troma's War. We get to see Parker, the aforementioned Vietnam Veteran, wearing a necklace decorated with human ears. There is also an extremely loyal and very lowly bad guy who commits "seppuku" simply because he is told to do so. There are plenty of various tasteless and probably offensive AIDS jokes. And adding to the overall vulgarity are two separate scenes of women's breasts exploding in gunfire. Troma movies in general are an acquired taste to put it mildly. Troma's War is raunchy and unapologetically offensive. And that's part of what makes this film, and many other Troma movies for that matter, great.
Strangely, Troma's War is the one film from Troma that would be the closest to resembling a mainstream Hollywood feature. Of course, all the usual Troma trademarks are here. Besides the aforementioned graphic violence, toilet humor is abundant in this movie. This is the first (and only) movie I can recall where a terrorist (wearing a gas mask) gives his position away by inadvertently farting! But for the rapid fire vulgarity, Troma's War could have easily passed for a Golan Globus production. The fancy cinematography, which actually shows some of the more beautiful aspects of the island including a view of the ocean during sunset, manages to make this film look better than what its budget can provide. Funny enough, I consider Troma's War to be Troma's most accessible film.
This satirical flick also offers caustic political commentary on biological warfare, fascist terrorism, and how greed has no political affiliations. The dark humor in Troma's War is subtle at times, and conspicuously sleazy during most other parts of this movie. Lloyd Kaufman doesn't hold back in using this movie as a platform to criticize the power elite.
One of this film's more compelling aspects is watching this rather very eclectic group of individuals having to band together to fight a very worthy cause: preserving the freedom and values of our proud America. Where else would you see a 60-something year old grandmother blowing away random terrorists with a M240 machine gun? Where else would you witness the transformation of a once helpless mother into a formidable fighter after seeing her baby being kidnapped by freedom-hating terrorists? And where else do you get to see some 50-year-old obese guy running through a terrorist camp in order to rescue a damsel-in-distress while trying to avoid a hail of gunfire? This movie is more fun than fantasy football! Of the survivors, my favorite is Parker. Parker's battle cry is "Airborne!" and some of the survivors don't know whether he's a psycho or just crazy. I will give the (very) delightfully amateur cast points for their enthusiasm. One can even appreciate the fun and camaraderie among the cast. Most of the cast members are in on the joke but some deliver their lines with deadpan sincerity. Rick Washburn was awesome as Parker and he cracked me up. Loved how he was screaming "Airborne!" at the top of his lungs while simultaneously shooting bad guys. The cast for the most part did a good job. They are clearly not experienced thespians, but they did all right here.
Although Troma's War has Troma's stamp all over it, one has to wonder if Lloyd Kaufman had greater ambitions and wanted Troma to be seen as a legitimate film company that could compete with the big boys in Hollywood. Obviously, that didn't work out, but maybe that's for the better because if Troma truly went mainstream, they would have alienated their diehard fanbase and would be accused of pandering and selling out to what the general public accepts as entertainment. For now, Troma is more than content on being the self-described herpes of the film industry.
Troma's War is Troma's bona fide masterpiece. Although The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke'em High remain Troma's more famous movies, Troma's War is still a personal favorite of mine and one that is critically and commercially underappreciated. I love everything about this movie from its explosive intensity to the hilarious one-liners. Oh, and did I mention this film is one of my greatest guilty pleasures? Troma's War is highly recommended to all connoisseurs of fun, low budget films. This is a movie treat guaranteed to provide an entertaining time among friends. Just be sure to avoid the butchered and edited R-rated version; seek out the dynamic, full-bloodied unrated version. Censorship sucks.
Let the good old folks of Troma Inc. recruit you to fight in the one and only...TROMA'S WAR! Confront malevolent Siamese twins! Meet the jingoistic baby! Discover the ravenous, fatal charms of Senor Sida and his task force! All this and more when you join the good guys and learn what it takes to have courage in the face of danger! Prepare for Troma's War!
Remember, Troma wants you to fight in the name of freedom!