Troma’s War (1988) The Legend of Lloyd Kaufman And The Ratings Board

Troma gained a household name after the success of The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Lloyd Kaufman thought that his next endeavor would be ambitious after two consecutive hits. The 1980s saw a boom in action pictures, notably “movies that glorified conflict,” as Kaufman put it. At the time, films like Rambo: First Blood Part II, Commando, and Red Dawn dominated the box office. This, along with what Kaufman regarded as the Reagan administration’s efforts to glorify war and instill a preference for violence in the American public. With this in mind, Kaufman and his collaborator Michael Herz devised a $3 million budget, their most ambitious to date. Enter Troma’s War.

The plot for Troma’s War starts as a group of survivors strive to analyze their condition after an aircraft accident on a supposedly desolate island. They discover several armed troops on the island, but the men turn out to be members of a terrorist organization. Parker and Taylor, both Vietnam veterans, attempt to guide the group to safety. Unfortunately, the terrorists abduct and kill several of the passengers, causing the survivors to fight back. They get weapons with the assistance of Englishman Marshall and conduct a counteroffensive against the terrorists. Soon after, it is revealed that they want to conquer America by first causing an AIDS pandemic and then destroying the country from inside. As time runs out, the survivors must come together to prevent the terrorists from completing their mission.

Troma’s War is essentially a parody of the action and war genres. The film’s narrative revolves around a group of Tromaville residents who survived an aircraft disaster on an unknown island. The crash survivors have unearthed a multinational conspiracy on the island that will put the entire globe in threat, not just the United States. This eventually leads to a plethora of scenes of bizarre hilarity…not to mention carnage. Will the surviving triumph against the odds, or will the world end in disaster?

There are a few odd Disney moments at the conclusion of the picture, but considering the craziness of the rest of the storyline, I’m prepared to overlook them. Though the acting isn’t great, there are some memorable phrases throughout the film. That is, however, to be anticipated from a Troma flick. Many of the performers’ first and final credited roles were in this picture, and those who went on to work in future films stayed with Troma Entertainment and other independent film companies.

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Troma’s War is an outrageously violent and entertaining film, full of cheesy comedy and stereotypical characters, as well as lots of nude ladies, which is what Troma is all about. There are also plenty of crude 80s practical special effects, providing plenty of gore and plenty of bloody squibs, exploding boobies, and genital harm, this is ferocious good fun, just be prepared for the usual Troma cheapness, there’s no escaping it, though this apparently cost three million dollars to make, which is a lot for a Troma movie.

Even though the movie ended up being a great watch and one of my favorite Troma Movies, Troma’s War was plagued with issues and we may never see the actual intended release as the ratings board kept giving the team at Troma a X rating which is usually reserved for pornographic content not a action/horror movie. This resulted in a plethora of cuts and massive edits to the original film.

For theatrical cult status, Lloyd Kaufman intended for the picture to be graded R.

“It was our answer to Rambo, Reaganomics, to the new interest in war. We based the violence in the movie on ‘Die Hard’ and ‘RoboCop.’ Michael didn’t think there would be one cut from MPAA. But the end result was the movie was totally disemboweled, totally disemboweled, to the point where bullet hits were removed, men on fire were removed, Siamese twins were removed. In order to get an R rating, the movie was rendered unwatchable.”

Lloyd Kaufman

The film was made unwatchable in order to obtain a R rating.” Troma had financial difficulties as a result of the film’s poor critical and financial reception, and the business was pushed out of the Hollywood mainstream.

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