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Tokyo Zombie (JAPAN 2005)

Director : Sakichi Sato
Cast : Tadanobu Asano and Sho Aikawa

by Edward Tang

Sakichi Sato is a f*cking maniac. He is the very same man who penned the ultra-bizarre (and excellent) Takashi Miike flicks Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Speaking of such movies, an actor from each of them decided to appear in this. The first one is the charismatic Sho Aikawa who was just so damn cool to look at in the Dead or Alive movies and overall is underrated when it comes to the acting circle. Then we’ve got probably one of the most well known Japanese actors out there in Tadanobu Asano who can be great without saying a single world. What a combination!

As you’d expect, just hearing about this pairing obviously made me want to see this as soon as possible. Let me say, it’s a weird movie. Not weird in the traditional sense as in “surrealism” but rather just plain weird. The editing seemingly was done with a jackhammer, it was just all over the place. The effects were really low-budget and the story really made no sense at all. But I had a fricken blast with this one and was laughing all the way through not because it contained good comedy but rather it was completely put together with EXTREME weirdness that didn’t stop to include penis-eating, creepy teachers spanking/molesting their students, zombie fighting, and some of the most awkward jujitsu sequences that seemed to go on for ever where even the cast in the film would ask “What the hell is this?” It’s also very funny.

The story goes like this: two co-workers, Fujio (Asano) and Mitsuo (Aikawa), who are really into JUJITSU kill their boss and proceed to bury him in the middle of Tokyo where there has risen up from the ground a huge dump that looks like a black mountain. Just as they are leaving, zombies begin to rise up out of the dump and begin to terrorize people. Fujio and Mitsuo barely escape from their abode and head out on the road to the NORTH (because it’s better than the South, says Mitsuo) but they head the wrong way. They happen to stop to a nearby convenience store where Mitsuo distracts the zombies and Fujio runs in to get the supplies, mostly picking up bags of chips. In this, Mitsuo spots a woman who isn’t a zombie and saves her life, only to get bit in the process. In a tearful goodbye to his protege Fujio, he tells him to go to Russia (where it’s more manly) and become a great jujitsu fighter as well as to protect the foulmouthed girl. Then he jumps out of the car and “dies.” We fast-forward five years, where Tokyo is just a zombie den aside from the middle of town where the humans have set up camp and big walls to protect themselves from the zombies. Fujio, who married the girl and had a kid, is now a fighter of the zombies in an “Ultimate Fighter” sense but the audience hates him because using his jujitsu moves kills the zombies too fast (not making a good show). The real money comes with the good show, and then he’s set to face off a zombie who has killed 150 opponents, none other than Mitsuo himself!

It’s wacky stuff. The ending alone is worth seeing and not spoiling because it’s pretty damn funny and odd at the same time. Sato doesn’t really care about the story at all or the editing, he just prefers to stick with the characters which I think was the only way to go (the visuals as well). Both Asano and Aikawa are usually excellent in their respective roles and once again prove their greatness with two funny performances, Aikawa sporting a bad looking bald cap and Asano sporting an Afro. They carry the movie and I think it would have been near unwatchable if they weren’t in it. It’s all over the place and there’s the showdown at the end between the “zombie” version of Mitsuo (wink-wink) and Fujio where they just have this really weird jujitsu fight where there is no sound whatsoever until one of the cast members asks just what the hell are they watching? That’s what I was asking as well, but still couldn’t stop laughing at just how weird it was. Both Asano and Aikawa wear the exact same pajamas to bed, Aikawa shouts loudly at a doctor who tells him he has a simple “stomach ulcer” but forces him to say that he has stomach cancer. Why? It has a pay off at the end, but it was hard to see that one coming.

If you like your zombie movies, there’s a good amount of gut-ripping action throughout but you couldn’t even take some of this seriously. There’s a scene during one of the zombie fighting matches where one of the zombies punches a hole through a guy’s chest and it looks plain horrible. This was probably made with a shoestring budget of course, but the effects really take it into ultra-cheesy territory along with the already bizarre material that I have already talked about. They go into disturbing territory too, which I felt was going there just to make the audience winch a tad. This mostly involved a grown man spanking the naked ass of a young Fujio as well as this same teacher who sees a zombie pop out of the ground and before even thinking that he should run sees the zombie looking at his dick. What does he do? Gets closer so she can suck him off, only to look down and see that his genitals were bitten off and were being chewed in casually in her mouth. Still, the overall wackiness of the film surely makes up for the bad story, editing and effects. It reminds me slightly of a Takashi Miike movie but not as polished and ten times as weird.

Tokyo Zombie should appeal to those who like their movies creepy and bizarre and just can sit back and laugh at this movie. You can’t take it serious at all and some of the parts made me want to get up because they seemed to just wander around the room, but at the end of the day I can’t stop thinking about what the hell Sato was thinking when he made this movie. And I must say that I was laughing throughout, mostly because it was odd and just out of the blue type stuff. Given the ending, it looks like there could be a sequel on the way. I say, bring that shit on.

Plot : 2/5
Acting : 4/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 3.5/5

Notable Scenes

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Tokyo Zombie

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