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10th Dec 11
Half of Japan is overrun by zombies with yellow forks in their foreheads. A heroine with a mechanical heart that powers a chain sword heads out to kill the queen. Carnage ensues.
Once again it's time to head back in to the world of new wave J-sploitation cinema thanks to the very entertaining Yoshihiro Nishimura, formerly SFX guy on Machine Girl, turned director for Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl. And what a crazy place it is too, often referred to on the internet as all kinds of colourful expressions, but probably the most apt is 'bat-shit crazy". In that land normal rules are turned upside down, everyone's a bit nuts (especially people in power), loads of people know kung-fu, no-one bats their eyes at zombies, aliens, etc, and all wounds become massive arterial sprays almost instantly. Thank you Shogun Assassin, then Kill Bill, then current trend starter Machine Girl for that.
Kika lives in a weirded out Japan seperated by a massive wall across the middle. South of the wall life is normal, north of the wall is overrun by old fashioned bad-make-up greasepaint zombies with large yellow forks sticking out of their heads. By a series of confusing and weird flashbacks we soon discover that Kika's mum (played by Eihi Shiina of Audition fame) was hit by an alien meteor and a big hole was blown out of her body, so she ripped Kika's heart out and put it in her chest cavity instead. Then mum starts infecting people with the alien zombie curse thing immedately (starting with the mum's brother) and soon everyone's got yellow forks sticking out of their heads. Except Kika, who survives losing her heart, by the way, by getting a mechanical one that also powers her chain sword.
Then Kika falls in with a bunch of yellow fork hunters. You see, if you grind up the yellow storks on the zombies and snort the powder it acts as a narcotic (providing you don't over due it or your head explodes) so zombie hunters start nipping over the wall to harvest storks. She befriends a pair but then is caught very quickly and after some fast decision making in the mass iron maiden death scene, they form a squad to go take down the zombie alien queen at the insane prime ministers request. Then the credits roll, at about 45 mins in.
It's all very silly, if you've seen Tokyo Gore Police or Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl you will know exactly what to expect, but this is a mixed blessing. It seems what Nishimura is trying to do is not necessarily think up cool new plots or storys to film, rather he likes to think up characters that look like twisted nightmare versions of Power Rangers bad guys and get them to fight/fight off zombies/whatever. Get a chick in there with a sword so we can have muchos massive Shogun Assassin blood sprays and there you go, let's start filming! It's like, this is the Nishimura universe, lets make another film in it, in the same exaggerated style, job done, what's next? Problem is, with that approach, with signature moves and set pieces, it becomes very predictable, and the film becomes all style over content - there's very little decent fight choreography in a Nishimura film, it's nearly all wild edits, a cool pose and a blood spray, as if the actual fighting bit is an after thought.
And this seems to get worse as this genre develops, Machine Girl had no such issues at all and is, in all sense of the word, an instant cult classic, whereas all these movies since then have been Benny Hill parodies of the original - when you learn that the two titular characters from Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl weren't actually ever on set at the same time as they filmed the final fight, all you can say is, that figures.
However, for you guys that like this stuff there's a lot of fun to be had - a zombie that throws it's baby at people still attached to the umblical cord, a zombie versus a car sequence, a car made of zombies, a plane made of zombies, zombies zombies, lots of zombies, and absolutely gallons of fake blood being sprayed semi-constantly. It's quite amazing, or ridiculous, depending on your love of the genre. But for all it's wacky and creative inventiveness it's hard not to feel a bit bored by the end of the way too long 2 hour run time. Will sure as hell be checking out the next one though.
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