Tokyo Gore Police (2008) Movie Review

In many ways, “Tokyo Gore Police” represents a culmination of the recent trend of Japanese ultra violent splatter sci-fi cinema. The film was directed by Nishimura Yoshihiro, whose pedigree in the field is impeccable, having worked on the special effects for other recent genre cult hits such as “The Machine Girl” and “Meatball Machine”, as well as on Sono Sion’s haunted hair thriller “Exte”. Here, he extends his own 1995 short film “Anatomia Extinction” to feature length, resulting in one of the wildest and bloodiest cinematic experiences of all time. Having become a must-see cult item around the world, the film finally makes its region 2 DVD debut via 4Digital Asia in a 2-disc version, coming complete with interviews, making of featurettes and promo reels.

The film is set in a futuristic Japan, where the fascist paramilitary Tokyo Police Corporation is locked in battle with the mysterious Key Man and his Engineers, a group infected with a virus capable of turning the human body into deadly and disgusting bio-weapons. Heading up the investigation is the gorgeous sword wielding Ruka (Shiina Eihi, so memorable as the torturing ice maiden of Takashi Miike’s “Audition”), who is on her own quest to avenge the unsolved death of her father. After she learns that the Key Man may be responsible for his murder, the case becomes personal and she slices her way through anyone who might know anything. Meanwhile, attacks by Engineers increase as the city falls into chaos and the virus starts to spread, leading to bloody mayhem and mutation on a grand scale.

Needless to say, the plot of “Tokyo Gore Police” is a secondary concern at best, with the film’s raison d’être being its wild and gruesome special effects, which set a new standard for the genre. On this level the film delivers in spectacular style, with Nishimura Yoshihiro showing an insane level of sick creativity as characters mutate and transform into truly bizarre and unpredictable forms, sprouting weapons from pretty much every bodily orifice imaginable – and others perhaps best not described here. The film really is an amazing, non-stop orgy of blood letting and violence, with the viewer barely having time to catch breath between set pieces or the next weird and wonderful sight.

Obviously, the film is only for those with strong stomachs, covering some pretty sick sexual ground alongside the brutality. However, Yoshihiro directs with a sense of fun and gleeful abandon, and the violence has a cartoonish quality that deflects from any real sadism or heartfelt nastiness. Shiina Eihi is excellent in the lead role, cutting a stunning and iconic genre figure as she takes down her enemies in her borderline fetishist uniform, managing to look gorgeous even after having suffered the indignities of mutation herself.

Adding to the madness is an amusing layer of pop culture commentary, with the film being punctuated, “Robocop” and “Starship Troopers” style by a series of television adverts (directed by Noboru Iguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi of “Machine Girl” and “Meatball Machine” fame respectively) and infomercials, covering such delightful subjects as schoolgirl wrist cutting. The film does have a certain satirical bent, with the police making for obvious present day political comparisons, and Yoshihiro makes the most of this without ever overplaying his hand. Although admittedly scattershot in places, the film does rattle along at a fair pace, hurtling towards a final showdown which somehow manages to out-do everything else that has gone before in terms of visceral and visual craziness.

There’s no denying that “Tokyo Gore Police” is not a film for everyone, with it’s over the top violence and outrageous abuse of the human form being quite likely to turn the stomachs of those not already used to the excesses of the genre. However, for fans of exploitation cinema the film is absolutely required viewing, being unequalled in terms of grotesque creativity and energetically sick action. With this, Nishimura Yoshihiro has instantly established himself as a cult favourite director and one of the top purveyors of splatter punk madness working today, and his next outing is eagerly awaited.

Yoshihiro Nishimura (director) / Kengo Kaji, Sayako Nakoshi, Yoshihiro Nishimura (screenplay)
CAST: Eihi Shiina … Ruka
Itsuji Itao … Keyman
Yukihide Benny … Tokyo Police Chief
Jiji Bû … Barabara-Man


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