It's been many years since the Tromaville High School exploded in a radioactive mess. Tromaville High School has now been rebuilt, but unfortunately it's not free from trouble since the company that provides the school with food, Tromorganic Foodstuffs Inc. is built on the land of an old nuclear power plant and see no problem in using the leftovers in the food they make. Soon the school has a new group of Cretins. Two girls who come out of the closet together have to stand up and fight.
It was always hard to take the sequels to "Class of Nuke 'Em High" seriously since they never provided much else than cheap gags and over-the-top randomness. The titles alone, "Class of Nuke 'Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown" and "Class of Nuke 'Em High 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid", told you exactly what level the great school of Nuke 'Em High had been reduced to. So when Troma announced that they were making a new movie in the series I was actually happy. Let's face it, the movies directed by Lloyd Kaufman were usually very well worth the watch, and the sequels weren't directed by him. This was their chance to bring the school to the new millennium and prove that they still have it in them. Imagine my surprise (and I'm sure yours too) when they announced they were making it into two movies!
The ground idea is pretty much the same as in the first flick - a school sees the horrible side-effects to being close to nuclear waste. Instead of being poisoned by weed, this time the rebuilt Tromaville High School gets their food from a company called Tromorganic Foodstuffs Inc. which built their factory on the location of an old nuclear power plant, and they use whatever barrels they find to make their food.
This first half of the epic saga that is "Return to Nuke 'Em High" focuses heavily on the characters of the school, because they are aplenty. The main characters are two girls, Chrissy is a militant young closet-lesbian who wants to stop the horrible food conglomerate, and the other is Lauren, the new girl at the school (also with an interest in the same sex). They are both very likable. I mean, you get some naughty sex between the two so how could they be bad? Besides them, we have a new generation of Cretins which is a group that were originally the school's Glee club before seeing the side-effects of the radioactive food. We have the hyper-sexual boyfriend of Chrissy, Kevin the Duck (an actual duck, and one of the best characters in the movie), a brief shot of Lemmy the president of USA (Yes, Lemmy is the president) and several others. You know Troma are gonna pump you full of weird characters in a movie that is split into two, and trust me, there's plenty enough here!
The big surprise to me is how nicely it has been balanced between the "Class of Nuke 'Em High" era of Troma, and the modern era. It's certainly over-the-top, but you get the feeling that they truly wanted to make this movie the best it could be, and have taken it more seriously than when making something like "Poultrygeist". Don't think it's a serious movie, it's not, but you know what I mean! It's overall just a great production from Troma, at times it even made me forget it was a Troma movie and not just some random, weird new comedy! That's a good thing, because even though I like their productions, at times you're too aware that you are watching a Troma movie. It's possible that Anchor Bay's association with the movie has added an extra boost in many ways.
I was afraid that making such a long movie (and split it into two) would be a problem for Troma, but this was surprisingly fast to get through and made me want more. They successfully managed to give it perfect pacing without ever getting boring or slow, nor did it venture too far into it. It actually ends right when things are truly starting, and that's excellent. The fact that a Troma movie could take 85 min to get a story started is shocking, but it works so I believe this is a great way to go with it. If this first part is any indication, then the second half will be one gory, splattery, fucked-up and funny ride.
"Return to Nuke 'Em High Volume 1" is a ton of fun. It's too early to say for sure, but it gives "Poultrygeist" a run for its money. It's gonna be a long ride once the second half is out too, but it will be worth it. The only real issue I have with the movie is all the digital effects - the green glow (eyes, food, etc.) especially. That kept taking me out of the movie, which I was otherwise very much invested in. This has a better pace than almost any Lloyd Kaufman production to date, so I hope the second half will keep that going. It also looks great and has some actually good acting in it. But this is no doubt all the Troma we have expected - it has the gore and radiation (more expected in Volume 2), immature and politically incorrect comedy, fucked up characters, lots of nudity and absolutely zero limitations. Don't miss this if you like the first film or any other Lloyd Kaufman production, it left me impressed. It's a real treat for the Troma fanatics! Can't wait for Volume 2 now.