Monday, November 22, 2010

Tokyo Gore Police

Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura.
2008. Not Rated, 110 minutes.
Eihi Shiina
Itsuji Itao
Yukihide Benny
Jiji Bû
Ikuko Sawada
Cay Izumi
Mame Yamada

Sometimes you read the title of a movie and know you’re in for a wild ride. When your suspicions are confirmed within the first two minutes, you have a decision to make. Do you hit the stop button and end the madness now? Or do you subject yourself to what you know will be completely bonkers. If you keep going, you do so echoing the sentiments of legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight: if being raped is inevitable, you might as well enjoy it.

Okay, it’s not even remotely close to rape. However, it is something most normal people wouldn’t call entertainment. Note that I’ve never once claimed to be normal. What it is, is arguably one of the most ridiculous and without queston the most ridiculously bloody movie I’ve sat through. I don’t mean bloody like the English might say. I mean just plain old bloody. The slightest laceration sets off a geyser of bodily fluid. It literally sprays in all directions, by the gallon. It even seems to be raining blood in one scene.

There is a story, here. At some point in the future Tokyo’s police force has been privatized much like Detroit’s in Robocop. In general, crime in Tokyo isn’t nearly as widespread. Instead, most of the PD’s efforts concentrates on catching and killing “Engineers”. No, we’re not talking about any type of engineer you’ve ever heard of. Here, Engineers are a special breed of criminal. They basically try to kill anyone they come into contact with and keep killing until they themselves are dead. They’re not easy to kill. When wounded, whatever part of them has suffered the damage transforms into some sort of weapon. For instance, when the first Engineer we meet loses his arm, it grows back with a chainsaw attached. Seriously. And you’ll just have to see for yourself what happens when one guy’s penis is bitten off. Yup, I said bitten off. You did notice that this movie isn’t rated, right?

We focus on Ruka (Shiina). She’s the best “Engineer Hunter”. It stands to reason she’s so good at her job because she likes killing. Just ask that poor guy on the subway train. I would tell you what happens there, but that would deprive you of the joy of being surprised. You see that? I wrote that like you might actually watch it. Go ahead. I dare you.

If that’s not enough incentive then think about some of the other visuals you’re missing out on. There’s the woman who’s lower half transforms into what resembles an alligator’s head, the guy who pulls the skin off the top half of his own head, the woman stuffed in the cardboard box that’s only big enough for a few of my kid’s toys. Actually, she’s not stuffed at all, but piled there. Yeah, you kinda have to see it to understand. Believe it, or not, I left a lot out.

Bringing this out of the constant stream of gross-out moments for a minute, there is an interesting dynamic to the writing. Again borrowing from Robocop and even a little from The Warriors, TGP uses a string of wacky commercials and a hyped up dispatch lady to not only provide comic relief but also creates an element of satire that runs through the film. Whether or not it is sharp social commentary I probably need to know a lot more about contemporary Japanese culture to say. Some of it is universal and works just fine.

If you’re looking for something totally outrageous, this is the movie for you. It’s live-action anime with one visual after another you may never forget. I’ve read reviews that say this movie isn’t good or bad but exactly what it tries to be: perverse, bizarre, gory, silly and a number of other adjectives. I prefer to say it the way you’re used to me saying. It’s so bad, it’s awesome!

MY SCORE -10/10

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