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These kind of ultra-violent, chaotic Japanese movies are very tricky. When they work, they're awesome. An amusing, bemusing, exciting mishmash of craziness that gives new meaning to the word "ridiculous". But Helldriver, like so many of these gonzo films, just doesn't quite pull off what it's aiming for.
And that's certainly not for lack of trying. This tale of zombies and chainsaw swords throws everything at the viewer possible, and I have to commend the filmmakers for the sheer levels of WTF they came up with. Zombie women using zombie babies attached by zombie umbilical cords as weapon, truck versus zombie sword fights, and a zombie car are just a few of the insane ideas you'll see on display, here. I can't count the number of times I simply had to shake my head and smile at the fact that someone came up with all of this stuff. There's even a battle near the end that's eerily reminiscent of The Battle of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers, except with way fewer humans and WAY more blood. The inventiveness of Helldriver is the best thing it has going for it, by far.
But amidst all the blood fountains and giant flying zombies made out of smaller zombies, the director and writers forgot to add the entertainment. How a movie can be absolutely insane and so dull at the same time is a mystery, to me.
The plot is non-existent, even for this kind of flick. Our main character has a back-story with an evil mother and uncle that leads to the entire zombie infestation and her transformation into a half-mechanical warrior, but the scenes dealing with that are among the most boring in the entire movie. There are really no likable or interesting characters, either, which would have gone a long way towards making Helldriver easier to enjoy.
It might be worth checking out for the undeniable strangeness of it all, but I still have to say I was more disappointed than pleased with Helldriver.
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