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Let me preface this review by saying that I absolutely adore the work of director Noboru Iguchi. From where I’m seated, the guy is a freaking genius. I don’t care how obsessed he is with asses and farting — the man’s work entertains me in ways that few films can. Simply put: I’m a fanboy, and that’s not something I say very often. Iguchi makes movies that cater to my warped sensibilities, regardless of how that makes me appear.
After delivering two decidedly different films — namely the 2011 offerings “Tomie: Unlimited” and “Karate-Robo Zaborgar” — Iguchi seemed determined to return to the world of degenerate cinema. In addition to delivering the impossibly intriguing “Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead,” the peculiar filmmaker churned out the fever dream known as “Dead Sushi.” And while the film may not be as gory as Iguchi’s more subversive efforts, it’s easily one of his most enjoyable.
Rina Takeda stars as Keiko, a sushi student who decides to leave home when her father’s training becomes too difficult. She ends up working as a waitress at a seedy little resort inn on the outskirts of nowhere in particular. Naturally clumsy, Keiko bumbles her way through the workday, much to the dismay of her co-workers and employers.
Our heroine’s life takes a considerable turn for the worse when a pharmaceutical company pays a visit to the inn. Their love of sushi ultimately proves fatal when the hotel’s supply of raw fish comes to life courtesy of a top secret serum. From there, things really start to get strange.
Needless to say, Iguchi’s “Dead Sushi” isn’t for everyone. It’s crude, ugly, stupid, and painfully low-budget. The digital effects are second only to those found in James Nguyen’s “Birdemic,” and not by very much. While the computer-generated imagery is downright awful at times, this only adds to the film’s wonky, Troma-esque charms. Assuming, of course, you’re often wooed by motion pictures which prominently feature sushi-on-sushi sex scenes.
The feather in Iguchi’s cap is the lovely Rina Takeda. The star of such notable fight flicks as “High-Kick Girl,” “Karate Girl,” and “The Kunoichi: Ninga Girl” puts her too-cute shtick to good use here. Although the young lady’s considerable skills are utilized in a few key scenes, they really aren’t missed. “Dead Sushi” is more about absurdity than anything else, which is why Takeda spends more time screaming than she does kicking people in the face. She’s actually pretty good at this sort of thing. I way pleasantly surprised, anyway.
Noboru Iguchi’s “Dead Sushi” is a ton of fun. It may not be the prettiest picture in the director’s gallery, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Rina Takeda is adorable, the story pops along at a snappy pace, and Iguchi’s blatant disregard for your intelligence only adds to the enjoyment. Although I’m sure to be in the minority on this one, I honestly don’t care. Iguchi entertained my sorry ass for 90 minutes, and that’s awesome. He can fart in my face anytime.
Noboru Iguchi (director) / Makiko Iguchi, Noboru Iguchi, Jun Tsugita (screenplay)
CAST: Rina Takeda … Keiko
Shigeru Matsuzaki … Sawada
Kentaro Shimazu … Yamada
Kanji Tsuda … Chef Tsuchida