Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990)

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is a pretty safe way to wade into the world of Troma Films. It’s got a little bit of everything that makes Troma what it is without going to extremes. If you like this film there’s a chance you might like other Troma films — and if you hate it, just know things are only going to get worse from here.

Now it’s time to tighten your gi, stow your katana, and prepare for the kookiness that is Sgt. Kabukiman.

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is the story of Harry Griswold, a NYPD detective who witnesses an onstage slaughter during a local Kabuki theater production. During the massacre, elderly Kabuki master Mr. Sato is shot and must pass on the ancient spirit of Kabukiman. Sato’s grandaughter Lotus hopes to inherit the spirit but instead it enters Detective Griswold.

Griswold does not fully understand the changes his body begins to take after inheriting the ancient Kabukiman spirit. He develops a taste for sushi and occasionally his shoes magically transform into sandals, but as any of us would he simply writes these things off. It’s not until Griswold’s co-worker is brutally attacked while jogging in Central Park that the spirit completely takes over and Griswold is transformed into Sgt. Kabukiman. What follows this transformation is a lengthy battle between Kabukiman and at least a dozen thugs.

Prior to the beginning of this epic battle viewers have already been treated to two sets of boobs, two murdered children, and multiple gunshot wounds to the forehead. Seriously, almost everybody who gets shot in this movie gets shot in the forehead (one guy who gets shot in the crotch). But the Central Park battle raises the stakes. Along with his samurai sword, Kabukiman blows two baddies into the air using his fans and shoots sushi rolls into a lady’s mouth to shut her up. Just when you think one punk gets off light by being beat with a metal fan, Kabikiman turns his head into goo by stomping on it. Three times.

There’s the thinnest of plots involving government corruption and there are continuity errors abound, but this isn’t the kind of movie you watch for details like that. This is the kind of movie you watch if you think a criminal getting impaled to a tree by a hundred chopsticks is funny business.

After being whipped into shape by Lotus, Detective Griswold plans to bring down the evil Reginald Stewart who has been in cahoots with the corrupt Reverend Snipes, but in fact Lotus has been preparing Sgt. Kabukiman to do battle with The Evil One. All of this has something to do with an ancient prophecy that involves getting a bunch of things together including a jaguar, a tiger, a monkey and a virgin. (Turns out, the monkey (“Toyota”) may be the best actor in the film.) If you think an NYPD detective randomly turning into an ancient Kabukiman (and occasionally a circus clown) is weird, wait until you see what Reginald Stewart turns into.

Right. He turns into that.

If none of this sounds entertaining or funny then best keep walking. The acting, editing and special effects are all what you would expect on a budget roughly the same as two venti lattes from Starbucks. Yeah, there’s sort of a plot, but more importantly for 100 minutes you’ll get to hear a grown man in a clown suit say “ka-BU-ki-man!” before pummeling bad guys all over New York City, occasionally while riding a tricycle. If that sounds like fun, it’s time to invite your friends open, break out the saki, and enjoy the madness that is Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.

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