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Zombie movies have been taking rather weird turns in development recently. We got romantic zombie movies ("Shaun Of The Dead"), we got super-fast zombie movies ("28 Days Later" and "Dawn Of The Dead"), we got super-hero comic book zombie movies ("Resident Evil: Apocalypse) and we got non-zombie, zombie movies (again "28 Days Later"). Well things just continue getting weirder and weirder, and now we got this, "Tokyo Zombie" a completely offbeat, comically silly representation of a zombie Holocaust in Tokyo. Even stranger, the choice of weapon against the undead scourge is neither, swords or guns. It's wrestling, Jujistsu to be more precise. I was interested enough with it's premise but when I heard it starred two of my favorite Japanese actors, Sho Aikawa and Tadanobu Asano, well I really had to watch it.
"Tokyo Zombie" as it's name suggests takes place in the Japanese capital. There, due to the unpleasant habits of the local population to throw away their garbage wherever they like to, has caused a large mountain of trash to appear. But people are not content with just that, oh no, they continue burying more and more stuff in that mountain. Ranging from refrigerators, old cars, even people there really is no limit. This is where our heroes enter the story, Fujio (Tadanobu Asano) and Mitsuo (Sho Aikawa), two obsessed with wrestling garage workers who end up accidentally killing their boss. Of course that mountain prompts the obvious solution to their disposition and they naturally decide to bury him there. What they don't know and later find out is that all the dumped trash has created a chemical reaction that causes the dead buried in the mountain to rise again, as flesh eating zombies.
Instead of trying to make a relatively serious story director Sakichi Sato takes a turn for the comedic. The plot is an obvious pastiche of classical zombie scenarios. Starting with the zombie epidemic to the post-apocalyptic society, Sato presents an over the top comical side to this all too familiar plot. The overview of how the post-epidemic survivors continue to exist is quite funny, Sato answers one of the biggest mysteries of zombie movie. How do people create electricity when the entire world is supposed to be overwhelmed by endless hordes of undead flesh eaters ? Well the answer is simple. Squeeze Electric a company that supplies all the pollutant-free electricity citizens would need. It works by using state of the art technology, requiring just a few hundred people whose's daily work includes squeezing an electric pod that in terms creates the all needed energy. Everything is completely ludicrous. Characters are no exception, with quirky outright funny dialog and a strangely obsessive singe-minded behavior, they breathe a fresh air of unseriousness to this already not very serious situation.
For a zombie movie "Tokyo Zombie" is pretty light hearted. Anyone expecting bucket-loads of gore and blood will be disappointed, there is really only one situation that could be described as disturbingly gory. A zombie starts chewing on a wrestler's guts, the whole thing lasts for less then a minute and honestly rather than disturbing it's quite funny when the victim starts making those silly facial expressions. Midway through the film there is a rather pleasant animated sequence that describes the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. Other effects are generated using CGI and it's a hit or miss thing. Some look pretty well while other effects are plain cheesy, which is not a bad thing considering the fact that it's a comedy.
"Tokyo Zombi" is wacky, wild and in typical Japanese way quite weird. It's fun over-the-top plot makes it worthwhile to watch. Or if you just want to poke fun at the already way too familiar clichés surrounding the genre, this is as good as it goes.
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