Wednesday, May 6, 2009
But who will police the gore who there is no more gore to police?
TOKYO GORE POLICE (2008)
D. Yoshihiro Nishimura
Fever Dreams Ent. / Media Blasters
This is probably the goriest movie to come out since Peter Jackson stopped working in the splatter genre. I've heard people laud it's freaky grue splattered approach, deride it for being so over the top that they found it stupid, or even dismiss it entirely for being so outrageous that they found it boring. As one of my friends I watched this with said when it was over, "there was enough here for at least two or three movies!" And that my friends is no lie. In a lot of ways Tokyo Gore Police is the splatter film of the technologically impaired ADD generation with limbs flying, heads splitting, torsos erupting etc. every few minutes as to never allow the audience a chance to catch their breath, much less get bored. Blood literally splatters the camera lens so much that the lens cleaning mop boy should have gotten top billing.
But if this was all this movie had to offer it would have pretty much just kinda of sucked. I was one of the few who strongly disliked MACHINE GIRL on those grounds as it was all noise, thunder and spraying blood, with nothing underneath. That film was a teenage gore monger's version of what a Japanese gore film "should" be like. I was afraid this was going to be more of the same. But thankfully it is anything but.
The schizophrenic plot starts off with a young girl watching her policeman father being brutally killed while on duty guarding some officials. A man just walks up and shoots him in the head (causing an amazing, total head explosion that sets the mood for the film to come). Cut to present and we meet Ruka (Eihi Shiina) who witnessed this as a child. she is now an adult and working for the police force just like her dad. But unlike when she was a little girl, the police have changed drastically. They are now privately controlled and funded, no longer run by the state or Government. Ruka is what is called an "Engineer Hunter" because she hunts down a mutant strain of criminal called an Engineer" that has a tumor inside of them that causes any wounds on their body to morph into a new mutated body part. So say they have had fingers cut off. Then the tumor would cause those fingers to become new, super strong, snake like appendages. These Engineers are a new breed of super Criminals that are taking over the Tokyo underground. Ruka is one of the elite team who is able to stop them. she understands you have to cut the tumor in half to get the job done. But soon she will realize there is much, much more of a connection to her past, the engineers, the privatization of the police force and the murder of her father than she could ever dream of. And mucho blood will be shed along the way. And you will see sights you have never seen in a film. Guaranteed.
Don't believe me? How about the fake commercials for a start. yes we've seen them in Paul Verhoven's work with ROBOCOP and STARSHIP TROOPERS, but here they take an even darker tone with pro suicide commercials, an anti-seppuku spot and a spot for "cute" razors for cutting yourself just like the Emo Kids in America! yay! Or what about the Mutant Engineers themselves? with each one suffering different injuries they all come back with stronger, weirder new body parts that would make David Cronenberg proud. Like the leader whose eyes have been replaced by small flesh cannons that shoot wads of tumors. Or the unfortunate fellow who had his dick bit off, so now it has grown back four feet long and works like a 44 magnum. Or my favorite the girl whose legs are now a giant alligator mouth who scoots across the floor biting the shit out of everyone she sees! Then there is the sidekick of the Chief of Police that I'm not even sure is a mutant, but just some unfortunate woman he has tortured himself. A quadruple amputee that he leads around on a lease like a dog, in full S+M gear including a gas mask, who in the final reel is armed with blades on all her stumps and sent in to fight. I also should say there is something mighty sexy about this limbless gal. I'll just leave it at that. Or that moment of moments where one dude visits a freak bar for fetishists where Engineers are the main course and sees a parade of Mutants ending with a female human chair(!) that pisses on the audience!
But even amongst the geysers (and I mean geysers) of blood and mutants, what makes this a good movie is that underneath all of this is a lot of meat for the brain to chew on. this is primarily a treatise on how privatization of any organization that serves the public interest is a terrible idea. How that will mutant into a situation controlled by lust and greed and ultimately destroy the very public it is supposed to serve. there are also several other through lines dealing with America's negative influence upon the Japanese culture going on as well. which is doubly interesting considering this was produced and financed by an American company.
Though over the top, and sometimes goofy, and certainly owing more than a nod to other films like THE EVIL DEAD, VIDEODROME and STARSHIP TROOPERS, this turned out to be a terrific little movie all its own and I highly recommend it to those looking for high octane splatter AND something with a brain to boot.