"Tokyo Zombie" DVD
Zombie" DVD cover
There's one thing that
you can say for Japanese horror movies. Actually, there are a
LOT of things you can say, but one thing you can say with nigh-total
certainty is that these guys KNOW their zombie movies. Plain and
simple, every Japanese zombie movie I've come in contact with
(admittedly, it's maybe only half a dozen--I can't find terribly
many more) follows the principles of the Romero zombie movie SCRUPULOUSLY.
Seriously, down to the last detail: zombies shamble, zombies don't
speak, zombies are easily distracted, zombies move in groups,
zombies can only be killed by destroying the brain or removing
the brain from the body.
And sometimes, as is
the case with Tokyo Zombie, they'll even add some stuff on. These
additions are not necessarily bad, if a bit inauthentic.
Tokyo Zombie is about
a couple of inept slackers who work at a fire extinguisher plant
and spend most of their time practicing jiujitsu. When their boss
comes out to berate them, he's accidentally killed when one of
them hits him over the head with a fire extinguisher. Unsure of
their next move, the two slackers bury their boss in Black Fuji,
an enormous mountain of garbage and industrial waste where, apparently,
most Japanese people ALSO bury the various corpses of people who
got in their way. There are a LOT of corpses buried in Black Fuji.
Thus, when some of
that industrial waste gets a hold of the corpses, it's Zombie
Apocalypse time, kids.
The really unusual
part about Tokyo Zombie is that it's basically two movies in one.
About halfway through, the focus will shift in a totally different
direction that I won't tell you about because it's pretty interesting
by itself. Picture Land of the Dead taken to its logical extreme
and you'll have an idea of what we're working with here. I know,
I'm freaked out too.
And it's not just a
zombie horror flick--Tokyo Zombie, in that inimitable Japanese
style, has added a large dollop of humor to the proceedings that's
definitely out of place, but the strange contrast between zombie
apocalypse and a rollicking slapstick comedy is compelling to
say the least. This is peppermint wasabi, folks, and I'm glad
On the one hand, I'm
a bit disappointed. Normally, a Japanese zombie movie is like
a George Romero, complete with postulation on how people live
after the zombie apocalypse hits. Oh, this HAS that, sure, but
it's not very well explored. The second half of the movie will
present a concept but this concept is almost so ludicrous as to
be pointless. Either half of Tokyo Zombie would have made an excellent
movie by itself, given full rein to be fully explored...but since
the two are combined it limits what can be done in the same amount
of time. Essentially, they tried to do too much, and in the process,
wound up not doing ENOUGH.
But that's not to say
that Tokyo Zombie isn't an authentic piece of Japanese zombie
horror. It is. And it's fairly well executed besides. But the
problem is that it's not all that it could have been, thus I'm
left a bit disappointed.
The ending features
several interesting twists and lots of background that I hadn't
even noticed. Or considered, actually...CAN zombies who wear false
teeth spread the zombie virus? I'm not all that sure.
The special features
include a making-of featurette, a cast and crew interview segment,
footage from a store appearance, English subtitles, and a host
of teasers and trailers, including some that are only accessible
BEFORE you watch the movie, a perennial peeve of mine.
All in all, Tokyo Zombie
is a solid and interesting experience, though it disappoints in
the sense that it's not all it might have been. Clearly, they
tried, and I give them due credit--to borrow from the film, they've
won the ninety point match...but they could have won the hundred.
Directed by Sakichi Sato
Written by Sakichi Sato
Starring Tadanobu Asano, Show Aikawa, Erika Okuda
Produced by Yusaku Toyoshima, Haruo Umekawa
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