Project DeadPost

Tokyo Gore Police (2008) Review

Poster_tokyo_gore_policeA bizarre but brilliant Japanese horror that takes body horror to new extremes.

Set in a future Tokyo where the police have been privatized in order to combat mutants known as “Engineers”, created by mad scientist Key Man, with the ability to turn any wound inflicted on them into a weapon.  In this nightmarish dystopia lives Ruka (Eihi Shiina, Audition).  A samurai-sword wielding cop, looking for revenge after the assassination of her father, an old fashioned police officer who was killed by a mysterious man.

After an encounter with Key Man leaves her world turned upside down. Ruka seeks vengeance on the man who ordered her father’s murder.

The plot is almost entirely meaningless but that doesn’t matter, far from it.  This film is essentially a relentless exercise in inventing ever more unhinged set pieces.  The blood sprays from each wound like a fire hose, as director and former make up artist Yoshihiruo Nishimura, operates on a more is more basis.  The picture below of Dog Girl is probably the most palatable and iconic example of just how far Nishimura has allowed his mind to run away with itself.

Eihi Shiina is on excellent form as the archetypal bad-ass loner Ruka.  The type of role often reserved for male actors in western horror.  It’s a character far removed from her most infamous performance in Takashi Miike’s classic Audition.   But as is often the case in body horror, the real star of the show is the monstrous creations of the director and his team.  Some of the scenes as Ruka explores the Mutant underworld are only matched by the work of David Cronenberg and Guillermo Del Toro in terms of sheer uniqueness.  That being said this film is definitely a lot sillier than either of those directors work.  Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.  Slapstick absurdity never gets in the way of some genuine horror thrills.

For those who think that J-Horror is all scary little girls with long hair and grey complexions, this film is proof that the country has far more to offer the horror canon.  Gleefully crazy, Tokyo Gore Police has much in common with western cult classics like the Evil Dead franchise and Braindead.  It also shares much of its DNA with Paul Verhoven’s original Robocop.  With its subversive, satirical advertising and public service announcements like “Cutting is Cute” interspersed throughout the film.  And yet despite these clear outside influences, the film is ultimately definitively Japanese.

In less talented hands the gore could become repetitive and sickening but Nishimura’s invention is such that this is never less than entertaining and at times is laugh out loud hilarious.  If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Medusa’s snakes were replaces with penises (who hasn’t?), then this is definitely the film for you.

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