Apr 24, 2009

Tokyo Zombie

Tokyo Zombie is a film that should have worked, given the status quo of fans adoring the original and simple manga that seemed to worship everything bland about the myth of a zombie. With the openness of a low budget zombie film, using restrained effects and dollar store make up, this film should have walked into its own game at least well equipped and not relying on the marketing lines of "_____ of Ichi the Killer." This two step process consisting of genre butchery and title familiarity is a common game employed by most, if not all, current filmmakers. Now who would have known with the script writer of Ichi the Killer and the lead of Tadanobu Asano returning in a script coveting jujitsu gags and undead jokes would have spoiled so easy. Overexposure this is not, Tokyo Zombie never even had a chance.

Tokyo Zombie suffers from a disease; a sickly one that causes rashes, blisters, uncontrollable hysteria, and bouts of manic-depressive film making at its most atrocious. The plot sounded simple enough. After seeing the one-sheet for this film, I soon lost hope for Tokyo Zombie. Color me homophobic but the poster makes it look like a straight up homosexual zombie film (This is no Bruce LaBruce project). The decadence of Tokyo is prescribed with a surreal touch as a man-made garbage mountain called Black Fuji offers free shelter for anything that needs to be buried, even secrets. From this, a chemical reaction causes bodies to unearth and roam the streets of Tokyo while two bumbling wanna-be jujitsu fighters fight their way, obliviously, through zombie after zombie. Don't get too used to this straight forward plot device, soon all will be trashed in a vain attempt at contemporary Dystopian aristocracy in which you must fight or squeeze to make a living and what a living it isn't.

Tokyo Zombie's flaws outweigh the brief, BRIEF, moments of humor. In several scenes, a muffled and dissipated chortle might escape from your vocal orifice but that is the most I got from Tokyo Zombie. The set design in the beginning is an awful cream color with no enthusiasm in scenery and the most vibrancy you will get from this film can be found in stills strategically spread across blogs as to hype up the "unhypeable." Let's face it, even the plot synopsis makes this film sound awful to the point of repelling. Anybody who is anybody knows that the best mixture of martial arts and zombies is the brief stint of Father McGruder in fan favorite Braindead. This alone promised to be mocking the mockery of death in cinema but the jokes were dusty and recycled from films back. Ads argue that this came before Shaun of the Dead which would mean this is an earlier example of the resolute stone being "zom-com." Yes, this may be true but at least Shaun of the Dead had the benefit of being entertaining and not as much of a waste of time as this piece of "kawaii" garbage that anyone with an Inyuasha shirt and cat ears will snatch up in some Pocky-fueled "Wapanese" rage.

Tokyo Zombie plays out in three or more absurd chapters, each one wholly different than the last. First there is the "oddball buddy comedy" segment which is more or less a complete waste of life, dictated by me in the most incendiary way possible. Then we're "treated" to the alimonious slut coliseum portion that is nurtured by a story of a pyramid based aristocracy. All the while, you are being bludgeoned with tidbits of slipshod jujistu/Russia stories. I am not amused and cannot stress the gaps cutting off Tokyo Zombie from my logic. I mean, has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want do look more like? It seems this film was made as a vehicle for the movement of manga adaptations we've been seeing pop up recently; Detroit Metal City, Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge, and Tokyo Zombie. These are only ones I've viewed recently as I'm sure the list extends out farther than that. Point being, if you're a rabid Tadanobu Asano fan, avoid this as your suave Japanese counterpart in culture has been reduced to a "retarded" pathetic worm who cannot fight, cannot act, and cannot entertain. In essence, there's absolutely no reason to view Tokyo Zombie as long as you have at your disposal better zombie films and trust me, there are many.


1 comment:

Alec Pridgen said...

I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago. I pretty much agree with your synopsis.

This movie comes from "Napoleon Dynamite" school of comedy where you just have people say weird things and expect you to laugh.

The bi-polar shift in plot is also weird. Where does it come from? Why is the movie suddenly a melodrama? Why do I care?