New York cop Sgt. Harry Griswald, after being dragged to a kabuki show, suddenly finds himself possessed by the spirit of a great Japanese warrior, Kabukiman. Now, he must use his new found powers to stop the resurrection of an ancient demon, known only as "The Evil One".
This film is also known on TVTropes for the sheer amount of Video Examples from this film.
This movie contains examples of:
- Amoral Attorney: Occurs as sort of a Funny Background Event during the scene in which Harry first uses his flying powers. Two attorneys are seen joking about how they're going to intentionally let a guilty murderer go free in exchange for monetary kickbacks. A second later they get splattered with vomit thanks to a nauseous, acrophobic Kabukiman.
- B-Movie: Oh yes.
- Big Bad: Reginald Stuart.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The camera dissolves from a flashing police beacon to Griswold's flashing clown nose. He says, deadpan, into the camera: "Nice dissolve, huh?"
- Brought Down to Badass: Even when depowered by Rembrandt's "Reason You Suck" Speech, Harry is still a marginally capable cop with a decent shot and not afraid to use it.
- Captain Ethnic: Kabukiman the Japanese warrior with the mystical powers of Japan! Even though his secret identity is actually a white American.
- Chickification: Lotus goes from Hard-As-Nails Drill Sergeant Nasty while training Harry, to screaming Damsel in Distress in the finale.
- The Chosen One: Subverted. The heroes trained the real chosen one for decades to receive the power of Kabukiman and defeat The Evil One, only to have him and his entire family be murdered in their home by The Evil One's thugs just before the ceremony could occur. Later, the man who currently holds the powers is gunned down by those same thugs. Harry Griswald just happens to be there to receive the powers just before the man dies.
- Co-Dragons: Reverend Snipes, Reginald's number one drug-dealer, and Rembrandt, his Ax-Crazy hitman.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: At first, Lotus is bitter that the kabuki spirit winds up getting past on to Harry, a white guy that only got the spirit because he was a man who just happened to be there when her grandfather died, became The Chosen One instead of her. She confronts him, frustrated that he won't acknowledge his destiny (despite the fact that it all sounds crazy to an outsider) and seems to take more pleasure than she should training him. As Harry gets the hang of using his powers, she slowly warms up to him and eventually becomes his lover.
- Eat That: Griswold is forced to eat live earthworms and whole raw mackerel, among other things, to complete his transformation.
- Funny Background Event: A lot. Most notably, the show Harry goes to see at the beginning of the movie is a Kabuki version of The Odd Couple
- How Do I Shot Web?: The first time his powers manifest, he accidentally cartwheels into a light pole; later, he tries to become Kabukiman, but somehow turns into a clown. Later still, he learns he can fly, but due to not being used to it he throws up and it lands on the Amoral Attorney standing below him.
- Japanese Tourist: Invoked. After giving a thorough beating to Reverend Snipes' thugs, Kabukiman whips out a giant polaroid camera and turns them into wienies. It Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Kabukiman vomits as he flies overhead on a pair of corrupt lawyers just as they were bragging about getting a guilty man ruled innocent for profit at the public's expense.
- Licking the Blade: Reginald Stuart and his hitman Rembrandt both do this.
- Gender-Restricted Ability: While Lotus is more than capable of being a hero and harboring the kabuki spirit (her grandfather was the previous Kabukiman, afterall), the title is "Kabukiman" and only a man can wield the power. Whether this is how the spirit works or if its sexist tradition isn't really elaborated, but she is very bitter about it.
- Messy Maggots: Reginald Stuart's Transformation Sequence into the Evil One starts with him vomitting maggots.
- On Patrol Montage: After Harry masters his ability to transform, he proceeds to go on a crime-fighting spree, ranging from turning pimps, whores and drug-dealers into sushi (which, given this is Troma film, is okay for a police-officer superhero to do), to helping old ladies across the street and becoming New York's #1 superhero in the process
- One-Winged Angel: Reginald Stuart becoming The Evil One.
- The Power of Love: It is implied both by the theme song during the On Patrol Montage and Rembrandt that Lotus and his love for her (and vice versa) is what gives Kabukiman his strength.
- Stock Footage: The first appearance of Troma's infamous "flipping car".
- Stuffed in the Fridge: Connie LaRosa, Harry's previous love interest. The villains give the hospital a fake chart, tricking a nurse into killing her with an overdose of morphine.
- Tokusatsu: One of the very first American tokusatsu projects.
- Toon Physics: Kabukiman manages to reinflates himself after getting squashed flat by a truck.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Reginal Stuart's Ax-Crazy hitman Rembrandt is seen in almost every scene he's in indulging in sno balls.
- Transformation Horror: The Transformation Sequence where Reginald Stuart becomes the Evil One can best be described as long, grotesque and rather unsanitary.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Just about all of them.
- The Big Bad, Reginald Stuart, is the head of a multinational megacorporation, and his "billionaire philanthropist" status allows him to get away with a lot, up to and including having his men shoot up a kabuki theatre, then convincing the police that his men were actually there to help, and that they captured the real perp - some random guy who wasn't even present at the shooting.
- The Dragon, Reverend Snipes, also qualifies. He pretends to be a Hot-Blooded Badass Preacher, while he's actually paying dues to the mafia and selling drugs out of his youth centers. He has so much support that when his thugs are caught trying to murder a police officer in broad daylight in front of dozens of eyewitnesses, he's able to get them off by claiming that they're just down-on-their-luck poor kids being pushed around by the man. Not only does he get away with that, it gets him more support since he's now seen as a champion of the little guy.
- Who Are You?Mook: Who are you?
Kabukiman: *Aside Glance* I'm Kabukiman.