Saturday, September 5, 2009

Film Review: Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Directed by:  Yoshihiro Nishimura and Written by:Kengo Kaji and Sayako Nakoshi (screenplay)
Review By: Chris Ward
Released: October 3rd 2008

When reviewing a movie, it's always helpful to have a breakdown of how the movie is put together - the acting, the script, the narrative, character development and so forth. When it comes to 'Tokyo Gore Police', all of those things go out of the window. Much like 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Night of the Living Dead' the title says it all, but there's gore and then there's GORE!

There is a vague sort of plot that centers around Ruka, a young female police officer who is part of a special unit that hunt out a gang of mutants called 'engineers', who are killers that when injured, a bio-mechanical weapon grows from the wound (!). There are flashbacks to Ruka's childhood where we learn she witnessed her father's death by an assassin. Apparently he was a police officer who was rallying against the privatization of the police force and got shot for his troubles, but, quite honestly, who cares? He gets his head blown into pieces that fly into the camera before the opening credits, and that pretty much sets the tone for the whole movie.

The first major fight with an engineer ends up with several police officers getting a mangled chainsaw/extendable arm hybrid being shoved in their mouths and several jets of blood pouring like fountains over the screen and from there on in all the fight scenes get worse and worse.

For instance, one poor chap ends up getting his, ahem, poor chap bitten off by some kind of mutant freak with alligator jaws for legs. As if that wasn't unfortunate enough, instead of doing the decent thing and dying, he turns into an engineer and gets his missing body part back - only this one is about three-feet long and shoots things. Most inventive, though, is when a broken bottle gets shoved in some unlucky victim's face, twisted round and then the circular piece of face is blown out of the broken end, sort of like a cookie cutter!

It was once remarked by that great philosopher David Lee Roth that the first ten minutes of a porn film are the best, because after that it gets boring, and the same thing could be applied here as scene after scene of blood spraying all over the place does wear you down after a while, but you don't watch a movie with a title like 'Tokyo Gore Police' without an inkling of what's involved. No, the real problem with this movie is the exact opposite of that - the scenes between the fights are just plain boring. There are flashbacks, introspection, dreamy music and the like, but why would you want that in such an extreme movie? Extreme gore and violence goes to extreme tedium just like that.

The violence is over the top, totally gratuitous, and for a while quite compelling, but the drawn out slower scenes totally kill the momentum so that by the time the end battle comes round you'll find yourself not caring about how people are getting wasted and just praying for the end credits. At nearly two hours long it's quite an endurance test, and due to the uneven flow, it makes you wonder why the makers didn't cut most of the slow stuff out and just make it one big over-the-top gore fest. As it is you have an over-the-top gore fest interspersed with pointless scenes that add nothing, except a reason to use the scene select button on your DVD player.

Overall, 'Tokyo Gore Police' is a jumbled mess of extremism. The gore scenes are fun and totally over-the-top, in a pumped- up 'Evil Dead' kind of way, but eventually become less exciting by the end of the movie, and the rest is just plain baffling and dull. Watch it once just to see how sickening and overly disgusting a movie can be, but repeated viewing may be too painful ---For hardcore fans of Asian cinema only.


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