Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid (1994)

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We come to the end of the “classic” Nuke Em High franchise. The end of part 2 / beginning of part 3 reminds me of the black-and-white movie serials you used to get, where you’d see the hero fly his plane into the side of a mountain at the end of one episode, only next week it’d be revealed that in reality-defying fashion, he actually pulled out at the last minute. Tromie the Radioactive Squirrel is still alive and kicking at the end of part 2, with helicopter pilots trying to decide which bit of Tromaville to lead him into with their decoy acorn. In this one, that bit never happens and the helicopter pilots just feed him the acorn, which is a cruise missile in disguise. Problem solved!

This movie, being kind to it, is more a series of grotesque and comic moments with a voiceover tying it all together than it is an actual movie. Brick Bronsky, the star of part 2, is back, but since the end of that film he’s become Mayor of Tromaville (he helpfully wears a giant badge saying “I Am Mayor” whenever he’s on screen) and had two sons, Dick and Adlai with his subhumanoid wife, who they couldn’t get back for the sequel, judging by how you never see her face in any of the new footage. Because they’re half subhumanoid, they grow to adulthood in 18 months or so – oh, and one of the twins is kidnapped by the evil Dr. Slag PhD (always referred to by that full title, throughout the film). This leads to a rather fun montage of their exactly parallel upbringings – Dick’s “evil graduation” is a particular highlight.

So, there’s a plot involving the two half-subhumanoids having a new mutation which means they’re the source of almost unlimited energy (good son Adlai can power the entire town by sticking his glowing hand in the power plant’s reactor), and…ah, I forget. It’s really, really not important. Basically, there’s two sons, one good, one evil, and a whole new community college filled with rough facsimiles of the people from the second film (for instance, Adlai’s dorm room is the same one his father had). All the other subhumanoids from part 2 are dead by the end of the opening recap, but Professor Holt survived and created a bunch of human / animal hybrids who help the evil gang, now led by Dick.

This is the most “meta” film I’ve seen in a very long time. When referring to the past, they mention the previous two films by name – a lot – and the theme music has an oft-repeated line “it’s the brand new movie / from Michael and Lloyd” (Herz and Kaufman, Troma head honchos). They also make several references to attempts to get the film a PG-13 rating, even though the quantity of nudity, bad language and (relatively minor) gore means it’s laughably unlikely. About half the cast are wearing masks, for one of a number of reasons (you don’t have to worry about getting the same actor day after day; you can ADR in dialogue after filming has finished, cutting down on actual filming time; people can double up on roles). Oh, and the Toxic Avenger pops up again for an even more meaningless cameo than his few on-screen seconds in part 2.

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Brick Bronsky plays all three main parts – his character from part 2 and his two sons. I sort of doubt this, but apparently Troma organised a parade around Brick for the release of this movie at Cannes, and expected him to go on to bigger and better things as they felt he was easily as strong an actor as the other action stars of the day. He may have been a lovely guy, but a great actor he most definitely was not. Although it’s hard to tell with the deliberate bad acting from the majority of the cast, mixed in with accidental bad acting from the non-actors who fill some fairly substantial roles.

This film is interesting for giving porn star Ron Jeremy one of his first mainstream acting roles. I’m not searching through his 1,390 (for real) IMDB onscreen acting credits to find out, but I think this could be the one. He’s since gone on to be in several Troma films, as well as such gems as “F*** M* A** (N* L***)” (decency prevents me from writing out the full title).

As I’ve mentioned before, Troma’s beginnings were in broad sex comedies, and this is much more in that tradition than it is a horror film. The gore is definitely secondary to the nudity and sex jokes, and while Troma is a force for good in the world, I sort of admire the spirit behind this film more than the film itself – it’s kind of sad that the crazy end credits elicited the most laughs. It’s a good 20 minutes too long as well.

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I mentioned the ADR, and there’s an oft-repeated joke that I’ll leave you with. The camera focuses on the ass of Adlai’s girlfriend a lot, so to distract from the rather blatant nature of it, literally every time you see her ass they’ve dubbed on a fart sound. Funny the first time, “why the hell is no one reacting to this?” by the last.

Rating: thumbs in the middle

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