Sometimes Sweet Baby Jeezus gives you a present. In this case, to reward us for putting up with Michael Bay's tyrannical parade of re-treaded mediocrity (a parade that is so horrible that it rips a hole in space-time and exists in the before, the now and the will-be simultaneously), the cultural divine wind that is Tokyo Shock has released TOKYO GORE POLICE on DVD.
My friends, come close. This is a blessing that is as new and visionary as it is beyond my jaded expectations. TOKYO GORE POLICE is the bastard love monkey of TERMINATOR II, DEAD ALIVE and Carpenter's THE THING and I can't even recall the last time that a film swept my innate cynicism aside so completely. After watching it twice since it came out on DVD last Tuesday, my brain has been spinning inside my skull like a kangaroo rat on back alley street-meth but my joy, while still uncut, rings so loudly that it retards my ability to string coherent paragraphs together in a traditional review. So instead, I'm simply going to list the first thirteen things that leap out of my fingers and let you, my precious piggies, spackle in the holes when you watch this uncommon delight yourselves.
1. Director/Editor/Gore FX Artist/Creature Designer Yoshihiro Nishimura is a visual auteur/thunder god on a par with Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, blocking nearly every shot in the film so that it's suitable for framing. Whether you can stomach what you're seeing or not is irrelevant: Nishimura's sense of color, composition and balance is objectively good. The fact that he had the foresight and control to edit TOKYO GORE POLICE as well underscores what a cinematic juggernaut he is. He's like the Asian Quentin Tarantino in the wake of PULP FICTION. (And in the wake of DEATH PROOF, there might be a vacancy for the American Quentin Tarantino as well. But I digress.)
2. Eihi Shiina plays the superheroine Ruka to leggy, stoic perfection. Compounding on her role as the mad love interest from Takashi Miike's masterpiece, AUDITION, Shiina has cemented her role as Japan's It Girl for ice-blooded, sociopathic supermodels that can carry a script. She is now firmly entrenched at #3, between Salma Hayek and Tricia Helfer, on the list of celebrities that my wife will allow me one consequence-free snogfest with if e'er I'm afforded the opportunity.
3. TOKYO GORE POLICE is destined for cult royalty. It is exactly the needle that we all look for when we wade into the haystack of MACHINE GIRL and SARS WARS: BANGKOK ZOMBIE CRISIS. It makes VERSUS look like an episode of KURE KURE TAKERU.
4. Enough firehosing fountain blood to pressure-wash Delaware.
5. Coolest genetically modified mutant cyborg archvillain EVER.
6. Hilarious Paul Verhoeven style TV commercials confuse and delight you between sequences of intense gore. I laughed out loud at "Wristcutter G" all eight times that I rewound and watched it.
7. Also like ROBOCOP, TOKYO GORE POLICE is set in the context of a believably executed dystopian society in the indeterminate future. While many of the elements of the film are improbable in any future, the backdrop of a privatized police force, commercialized self-mutilation and society's desensitization to violence as a whole are thought-provoking (assuming you can stop laughing or cringing from everything else going on).
8. Quadruple amputee Spiderwoman sex-slave gimp ninja with katana legs. (Hoe! Lee!! Shitake mushrooms!!!!)
9. Rocket powered Fist Cannon (patent pending).
10. The face-off in Bar Independent (sic).
11. Lady GatorCrotch.
12. Super-sexy lady samurai cop with a naginata appears out of nowhere to fight the prostitute in a sexy school uniform that's been transformed into a mutant killing machine with a giant box-cutter arm and acid spewing nipples in one of the film's most engaging and superfluous battle-to-the-death sequences. Ah, the Japanese...they can't pronounce "subtlety" so why worry about it? Big wet kiss!
13. And perhaps most important, I can't remember the last time I had so much damn fun watching a movie.
And to complete your viewing pleasure, it is CRITICAL that you watch the Japanese language version with subtitles. There is a richness of inflection and depth of sound - as well as numerous sound effects and background music - which are quite simply missing from the English dub. The dub actors are more flat and lifeless than a squirrel on the Interstate and they literally ruin the film. If you're one of those products of our public-school system that is adamantly against subtitles, you would be better watching the movie with the sound turned off.
Sound on or off, in a box or with a fox, make time for TOKYO GORE POLICE. Along with recent films like INSIDE, TEETH, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and REC, I would not be a bit surprised to learn that we are on the cusp of an international golden age for horror movies. Wouldn't that be something? I've either got goosebumps or a recurrence of last week's rash. Fingers crossed for the former, eh?