Fujio (Tadanobu Asano) and Mitsuo (Sho Aikawa) work at a fire extinguisher factory in midtown Tokyo… well, I say work but in reality they spend most of their time practicing Jujitsu. Mitsuo is attempting to transform Fujio into a master of this particular martial art, but he’s not having much luck.
Meanwhile, the gargantuan garbage dump that dominates Tokyo’s skyline, Black Fuji, is starting to vomit out zombies. Over the years the people of Tokyo have dumped everything from cars and stacks of gay porn to satellites and dead bodies here and it’s starting to take its toll. It seems the permutation of noxious gasses have somehow triggered the resurrection of the various corpses discarded at Black Fuji and they’re on the lookout for fresh meat.
When the zombies begin invading Fuji and Mitsuo’s factory, they make the best out of a bad situation by putting their Jujitsu moves to work on them. Eventually though, they are driven out of their factory and have plans to migrate to Russia – which they say is a more manly country – until Mitsuo gets bitten and things begin to fall around their ears.
Jump to five years later: zombies have overridden Tokyo and the few wealthy survivors have built towering apartment blocks wherein they hold gladiator-style games in which the underprivileged are forced to fight zombies to the death. Here we are reintroduced to Fuji who has gone on to become a Jujitsu master / zombie killer. In one of his last matches he is doomed to fight the “strong zombie” who has defeated over 150 humans and has a fearsome reputation, only to discover it is his old friend & mentor Mitsuo. Who will win this final showdown?
Directed by Sakichi Sato who is probably better known for his script-writing and acting abilities, having written & acted in both Ichi the Killer and Gozu, Tokyo Zombie is a worthwhile addition to the horror-comedy genre. Tadanobu Asano and Sho Aikawa, one sporting an afro, the other a bald cap, make a great oddball duo whose straight-faced slapstick shenanigans were the main point of hilarity for me.
With the humour often bordering on the absurd – as is Japan’s predilection – I was slightly disappointed there wasn’t more blood ‘n’ guts thrown into the mix as it could’ve made for some additional bad taste comedy. As it is there are few zombies and very little blood onscreen. Another small point of contention is the abrupt switch in tone that occurs halfway through the film: with the jump five years into the future comes a (slightly) more serious mood that ultimately knocks the film off balance.
Although minor shortcomings aside, Tokyo Zombie is an enjoyably retarded romp into “zom-com” territory that is inherently Japanese in all of its facets.
- Making of Tokyo Zombie
- Q&A Session
- Original Trailers
Available on R4 DVD from Madman.