THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐
Audio Commentary with Lloyd Kaufman
As much as Kaufman mugs for the camera and will do anything to sell his product, he is also a professional filmmaker who has been in the industry since the late 60's and has worked on many well known films. His commentary tracks are filled with fun stories (and some not so fun stories) as well as a lot of technical info. Kaufman is a delight to listen and always look forward to his commentary tracks.
Interview with Rick Gianasi (6m 45s, HD)
This interview was conducted at a convention and has Gianasi awkwardly answering questions that he tries to find the right answers to. He seems fairly uncomfortable and probably wishes that the interview would just end.
Kabuki Karaoke (2m 35s, HD)
An audience at the same convention from the Gianasi interview sings along with the Sgt Kabukiman theme song while clips from the film play.
Kabukiman's Cocktail Corner (12m 8s, HD)
Here we have a very painful interview with Brian Quinn from Impractical Jokers. Kabukiman is interviewing him and has to interject during every question. I did not find this funny and it runs way too long. In fact, this is the longest special feature on this blu-ray (not counting the commentary)
Stupid Moments in Troma History (2m 50s, SD, 1.33:1 AR)
A video about how Kabukiman was at Daley Plaza the day that Kennedy was shot.
Sgt. Kabukiman Original Trailer (3m 35s, SD, 1.33:1 AR)
Tromadance 2015 Highlights (5m 20s, HD)
Tromadance is the anti-Sundance film festival that allows anyone to submit their film for free and admittance is free. Some of the filmmakers who have films in the festival are interview briefly and we get a chance to see what Tromadance looks like. They also show a "work in progress" version of Return to Return to Class of Nuke 'Em High Vol. 2. I am writing this review in June of 2017 and the film was a work in progress back then? I know that it takes Troma forever to finish a film, but this is ridiculous. Anyways, the festival looks like it is a lot of fun.
THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐
Troma has given us their typical brand of overload with this blu-ray.
The front cover is a explosion of images from the film. The Sargent himself has a "big head" picture, while holding flaming chop sticks and smoking a cigarette, in the upper right hand corner of the cover. The title of the film takes up most of the bottom with a quote from The New York Times calling the film "Columbo with a dash of Jim Carrey" One of the kills graces the cover as well. Troma's logo, as well as Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman's names (twice) are present and accounted for. Lotus is in the upper right along with normal Grizwald.
The back cover has something for everyone. Fan of plot synopsis? Troma's got you covered. Want to know who is in the film and who made it? Troma's got your back. Want to know what special features are on the disc? Troma wouldn't let you down. Want to see random images from the film and flames (?)? Troma did that as well.
The disc art is Sgt. Kabukiman and a thug squaring off with the title of the film, the Troma logo, and Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman getting the double billing again.
The disc is REGION FREE.
THE PICTURE ⭐⭐⭐
One thing that I like about Troma is that they don't clean up the transfers. Hairs, scratches, blotches, you name it, are all accounted for and I think that adds to the charm of the film. Sure, Troma's films would look really nice in sparkling 4K remasters, but the films would take on a weird feeling, like we are seeing something that we are not supposed to be seeing. As much as I like that Troma leaves their transfers "as is", I do wish that they would look at them before approving them. While there are some levels of detail in close-ups, the detail goes away as soon as the close-up does. Colors seems to be accurate, but there is a flatness to the picture. I am sure that this is how Troma wants the films to look, but they could have done a little better.
THE SOUND ⭐⭐1/2
Troma, for some reason, doesn't remaster their soundtracks. While we get a 1080p full HD picture, we are left with regular Dolby Digital 2.0. Normally I don't have a problem with that, but this time there is something else that bothered me. Like we saw last year with the original mono track on Bob Clark's Black Christmas, Kabukiman has a problem with the letter "S". Almost every time a word has an "S" sound, there is crackling sound. It is especially apparent when Lotus explains everything over and over again throughout the film. Other than that, the track is decent. Troma fills their tracks with a lot of foley work and it is nice reproduced here. I just think that Troma should have spent the extra money to get the soundtrack cleaned up and sounding nice.
THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐
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' come 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 a lessor Troma film. That is not to say that the film is bad. It just isn't nearly as good as the Toxic Avenger series, Poultrygeist, or Terror Firmer. Kabukiman is better than Tromeo and Juliet, which I consider Troma's worst film.
The script for the film is the culprit here. The actors are all game, the effects are on par with Troma's other effects, and the humor can be pretty funny at times, but the script takes too long to get going once Kabukiman makes his first entrance. Once that happens, the film falls into a holding pattern, and has a hard time getting back up on its feet.
This was Troma's first PG-13 film. The film played in theaters and Troma thought that idea would play well with kids, so they cut out all of the gore (which there isn't a lot of in the first place) and nudity and marketed the film to families. It didn't work, as the film was heavily marketed anyway, but I do give Troma credit for trying to market one of their films to kids. That takes a lot of balls.
I do like this film, but that wasn't always the case. The first time I saw the film was when I rented it from my local Hollywood Video. They had the PG-13 version and I felt like I was being ripped off. I didn't know the film's history at the time, but still felt like Troma was selling out. They were in a way, but even the Director's Cut didn't fix all of the problems I had with the film. In the years since, I have revisited the film several times and I find myself liking it more and more. There are still pacing issues, but the film plays better now than it did 20 years ago.
I love Troma. I have since I was a kid when I saw The Toxic Avenger Part 2 and fell in love as I watched the film. Troma has one of the best line ups of great films I have ever seen come from a small studio. People swear by Cannon Films or Vestron Video. I swear by Troma.
That being said, Sgt Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is not the best film that Troma has released. There are some really funny scenes and the idea is inventive, but the film suffers from too much plot. Had Troma gone through one more rewrite to get the film down by ten minutes we might have had a stronger film.
The blu-ray is pretty good. The picture quality is good, but the sound could have used some work. The special features are mostly a bust except for the commentary track with Kaufman. Fans of Troma already have this, but it is worth a watch.