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The Independent Critic

Anthony Starke, George Clooney, Karen M. Waldron, John Astin
John De Bello
Stephen F. Andrich, John De Bello, Costa Dillon, J. Stephen Peace
Rated PG
98 Mins.
Arrow Films (Blu-ray/DVD)

 "Return of the Killer Tomatoes" Gets the Arrow Films Treatment 
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What's more dangerous, a 1980's George Clooney mullet or a killer tomato?

Find out for yourself in 1988's Return of the Killer Tomatoes, a cult favorite being given the Arrow Films blu-ray/DVD treatment in mighty fine fashion. This film picks up ten years after the first film with mankind living in fear of another tomato uprising.

God, that was fun to write.

Professor Gangreen (John Astin) sets out with his evil agenda to create a growing army of killer tomato men who just happen to look like regular men. That bastard.

Aware of the silliness of it all, director John De Bello has assembled a fun cast that clearly has fun with it all including Clooney, who reminds us here of his early sitcom days before he tackled serious cinema and married one of the world's smartest women. There's not much smart about Return of the Killer Tomatoes, though it's certainly smart of indie distributor Arrow Films to have tackled the film with a tremendous repackaging that includes:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Stereo audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-director John De Bello
  • Brand new interview with star Anthony Starke
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
  • Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver

You didn't really expect Clooney to show up for this, did you? I didn't think so.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes is practically the definition of a B-movie, a campy and silly 98-minute flick that largely sets the tone for what has now become a 4-film, two television series and one video game franchise.

Not bad, eh?

It's difficult to decide who's best here - Clooney? Astin? They're both having a bunch o' fun. Clooney, up to this point in 1988, had mostly been the best thing in a lot of bad projects. Astin? He just seems to understand exactly what the film is and has no hesitation at all to simply give himself to it.

Is it brilliant cinema? Of course not. It's just a whole lot of silly fun.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes is likely a love it or hate it film, though you're most likely to enjoy it with friends or in a party atmosphere. If you masturbate to it? Well, you have issues.

The extras aren't exactly on the generous end for Arrow, though Starke's commentary is warm and entertaining and will likely help you enjoy the film even more. If you're a fan of the franchise, this packaging is likely the best one available. Check it out.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic