In my opinion, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD proves once and for all that Kaufman and Herz are highly skilled filmmakers, not the hacks they promote themselves to be. These men should be feted at film festivals around the world as film gods instead of being reduced to approaching perverts in public toilets for funding. This film is extremely accomplished. The direction is stylish, the pacing is brisk and the action sequences are well staged. Moreover, the film is startlingly original, seamlessly blending action, fantasy, horror, comedy and kabuki.
The quality that sets Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD apart from many Troma films for me is its sense of whimsy and good natured humour. This is possibly the funniest movie Kaufman and Herz have ever made. Much of this is due to Rick Gianasi. Gianasi is by no means a great actor, but his charismatic yet clueless persona is perfect for the role of Harry/Kabukiman. Harry's transformation into Kabukiman and his encounters with Reginald's henchmen are hilarious and visually impressive. It takes a unique mind to come up with death by chopsticks and sushi paper. The special effects are great, with the emphasis being placed more on humour than gore. The scene in which Kabukiman is flattened by a truck never ceases to make me laugh.
Kaufman and Herz not only created a great hero in Kabukiman, but also an excellent sidekick in Lotus. Susan Byun plays the role with a po-faced sincerity that is hysterical. I also found the romance between Kabukiman and Lotus strangely endearing. Forget those losers balancing on the end of the boat in "Titanic", the most romantic moment in cinema history is Kabukiman flying over New York City with Lotus on his back (that is before he gets airsick and hurls). The flying scenes deserve a special mention, this is the kind of B-grade special effect that got me hooked on cult movies for life.
Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD is a very special film, which I would recommend to anyone. Cult movies have rarely been so original, entertaining and lacking in pretension. It is surely time for Lloyd to start pimping out Mr Herz in order to raise funds for the sequel.
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