Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 28th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1988
Director: John De Bello
Writers: Stephen Andrich, John De Bello, Costa Dillon, J. Stephen Peace
Cast: Anthony Starke, George Clooney, Karen M. Waldron, Steve Lundquist, John Astin, Charlie Jones, J. Stephen Peace, Michael Villani
BluRay released: June 28th, 2016
Approximate running time: 98 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Return of the Killer Tomatoes! is the second film in a series of films that as of this writing has four films. The other three films include, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back! and Killer Tomatoes Eat France!. All four films in this series were directed by John De Bello.
Before Comedy become crass, there was a time when Comedy was fun, inventive and on occasion even worked social commentary into the mix. These type of comedies hit their peak in the 1980’s, with some of the more well-known films to fall under this bill being, Airplane, The Naked Gun and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! And like all successful films, these three films spawned many sequels.
This brings us too, Return of the Killer Tomatoes! a film that content wise picks up right where its predecessor left. And to further connect these two films, this sequel employs the all too familiar trick of padding a film with footage from its predecessor. Fortunately, said footage never overstays its welcome and it is done in a resourceful way filling what happen since the previous film. With that being said, though this film does retreads the things that made its predecessor successful, that is not to say that it does not inject some new ideas into the mayhem and mirth. Most notably its use of product placement in the film.
From a production standpoint one would be hard pressed to find any faults in this film. The narrative is well constructed and pacing is never an issues as things move along briskly from one moment to the next. And when it comes to the humor, this film often hits the mark and then some. With some of the funniest bits being George Clooney’s’ character tricks beauty pageant contestants into going on dates with him by having them fill out applications for a fake pageant. Another stand out moment is the scene where product placement is introduced into the film.
Performance wise the entire class are all very enthusiastic in their respective roles. With this film’s stand out performance coming from George Clooney (From Dusk Till Dawn) in the role of Matt Stevens, the protagonists best friend. Other standout performances include, John Astin (“The Addams Family”) the role of Professor Gangreen, the man behind the reemergence of the killer tomatoes, Anthony Starke (Repossessed) in the role of Chad Finletter, the protagonist and Karen M. Waldron (Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death) in the role of a tomato turned into a sexy young woman named Tara Boumdeay.
Return of the Killer Tomatoes! comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is very good shape, grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels remain strong throughout and details look sharp.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and removable English SDH have also been included as part of this release. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 15 seconds), an image gallery with music from the film playing in the background, an interview with actor Anthony Starke titled Hanging with Chad (17 minutes 24 seconds) and an audio commentary with writer / director John De Bello.
Topics discussed in the interview with Anthony Starke include, product placement in films, projects he worked on before Return of the Killer Tomatoes, comedies that influenced his performance, the cast – George Clooney, Karen M. Waldron, John Astin, director John De Bello and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, background information about Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, how the idea for a sequel came about, the cast, their performances and other information about them, the difficulties shooting on a very limited budget, The Killer Tomatoes T.V. series and other film sequels and other production related topics.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and twenty-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled 100% Fresh: The Ripe, Juicy Goodness of Return of the Killer Tomatoes! Written by James Oliver and information about the transfer. Overall Return of the Killer Tomatoes! gets a first rate release from Arrow Video USA.