Friday, October 8, 2010

Tokyo Zombie

Tokyo Zombie (2005)
Dir: Sakichi Sato
Starring Tadnobu Asano (Ichi The Killer/Sharkskin Man, Peach Hip Girl)
This Japanese slice of awesomeness was just what I needed after the crap I reviewed last. The Zombie sub-genre of Comedy/Zombie flicks is always hit or miss , I mean some real gems have come from this style of film like Shaun of the Dead , Zombieland and Dead Alive come to mind right off the bat , but for every so often you run into utter schlock like video Dead and C.H.U.D. 2. Luckily this one is of the better variety. The film starts off in Tokyo where a mountain of garbage has taken over a large part of the city and has been named Black Fuji. Black Fuji has become more than just a waste dumping grounds though as people start burying the dead there and this is when things go wrong. Much like Pet cemetery everyone who is buried in this over sized landfill comes back to life as a flesh craving mindless zombie. The story centers around co-workers and friends Micchan and Fujio played by Tadnobu Asano ( Kakihara in Ichi the killer) . He does an awesome job as Fujio a young man dawning a afro who hopes to become a great Jujitsu fighter under the tutelage of his older friend Micchan. One afternoon they get caught training on the clock by there abusive boss who is not pleased and he taunts Micchan until fujio smashes the bosses head with a fire extinguisher killing him, Of course in hopes to hide the evidence they decide to bury him under Black Fuji.The film takes a very unique approach to the genre once the zombies arrive on the scene this duo decides to use there jujitsu skills to take care of the recently undead.The two decide to head to Russia to escape the now infested Tokyo in search of greater challenges and fighting knowledge.The comedy in this flick is well timed and very funny, and the two main characters paint a truly funny father and son like relationship on there travels.Later in the film the entire story kind of switches up as once Micchan is bitten by a zombie he kills himself by jumping off a bridge and then the film cuts to a anime scene explaining what has happened to Tokyo and we catch up with Fujio five years later . Apparently the rich have built a mini civilization and only keep the poor alive for two reasons , One to be slaves and the other for entertainment as the poor are forced to participate in gladiator like fights against the zombies. The film kind of turns into a running man meets Bloodsport style theme here.Fujio is one of the fighters who is quite successful as he is still alive after his 8 bouts but the crowds hate him because they find his fighting style bland since he applies his craft of jujitsu to the field. He tries to escape after a fight with his wife for not being exciting enough to draw good money and wants to flee to Russia to live out the dream he and his old pal Miccan once had. Fujio is captured and up for execution but the owner of the fight league who has a man crush on Fujio makes a deal with him to release him if he has one more fight. This leads to the hilarious scene between Fujio and a "Zombie" micchan . It is hard to explain why this scene is so funny without spoiling to much of the film, so let's just say we learn early in the film that Micchan is a bit dramatic and has a serious case of hypochondria.I am truly trying not to go into to much detail with this review because I think it is a film any horror fan should see and any comedy fan as well.If you enjoy japanese cinema this one will not disappoint but it is just a fun film from beginning to end no matter how you look at it. I do have to say though that the end throws some really strange shit together and kinda comes out of nowhere with a whole other story arch and gets a bit to slap sticky but other than that this film is pure gold. It has a very Kung fu hustle feel to it for the most part and is kind of a cross between Shaun of the dead and the forementioned film. After watching this one I think I am gonna hunt down some of the directors other works, For the most part Sakichi sato is known for his writing ability writing such films as Ichi The Killer and Gozu (two Takashi Mike Films) but after seeing this I would like to see what else this guy can do from behind the camera. This one is definitely a must see and the only thing that keeps this from getting a perfect score is the truly random added nonsense towards the end.
4.5 out of 5

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