From the producers of "Machine Girl" and "Death Trance" comes a film that is so outrageously bizarre, full of "pink" violence, blood-splattering horror effects, TRULY bizarre characters, that will definitely make some people stop the film, others will cheer, but no one can deny that the film is brilliant in a very different and original way. If you think you are ready for "TOKYO GORE POLICE" then you have another think coming. Once you see the film's opening act of dismembered full frontal nudity with lots of blood and gore, you may get the idea that you are in for something very unusual. So, Do I have your attention yet??
In a far distant future, Tokyo's police force have been privatized and they are locked in constant combat with a group of genetically enhanced killers called "Engineers". These genetically modified super-murderers can bio-infuse their open wounds with weapons, turning self-mutilation into combat form. Ruka (Eihi Shiina,Audition) is the daughter of the police chief's murdered right-hand man, is now the police corporation's top engineer hunter. With cold-blooded efficiency, she cuts through the psychotic engineers and leaves them very dead. Nothing can keep her from her duty, that is until she encounters a mysterious engineer called the "key man" and she learns the truth behind her father's death.
"Tokyo Gore Police" is the directorial debut of Yoshihiro Nishimura, the same man who is responsible for the effects and make up for "Machine Girl", the man had brainstormed with Sion Sono for "Strange Circus", and if those two films are any indication, you can imagine just how outrageous and chaotic this film can get. I am at a lost for words, this film had left me almost speechless. Nishimura definitely pulled out all the stops in his debut film, but unlike "Machine Girl" which felt almost like a humorous, gore-riddled stunt show, "Tokyo Gore Police" manages to execute everything with a straight face and what you will get is something no one would expect. The film is a thematic affair, and the film is very dark--in a very pleasant way.
Amid all the brutality, dismemberment, blood and a whole lot of GORE, the film has a commentary on the excesses of society that may lead to its collapse. The TV commercials give a hint of the film's current popular culture with the products they sell. Apparently, suicide and self-mutilation is the "in" thing amid the teens and video game consoles such as the Wii have games that allow the player to mutilate and kill within the comfort of one's own home. The film also borrows the element from "Robocop" regarding the idea of a corporation that runs a city's police force. The police force's uniform bears a resemblance to ancient samurai armor and western elements. (except for Ruka, who wears a sexy uniform--somewhat dominatrix style). The self-mutilation idea may have been lifted from Cronenberg via "Existenz" and the film's look and feel is definitely anime-inspired; the imagery may have a little bit of a comic "bookish" atmosphere.
The film definitely has a lot of things to say and it would be very easy for the viewer to shut off his brain and let the violent (if campy) imagery just wash over him. The film has its share of outrageous and oddball characters; there's a freaky bondage club, there's a snail woman (who may be a Yokai character), there‘s even some hinted S & M. Then if we begin to talk about shocking images and gore, then nothing to this day may equal "Tokyo Gore Police". Blood just drops like a strong rainfall; there're boobies that spew acid and ones with teeth, one man has literally a cannon for his male genitalia, a huge deathtrap of a female genitalia, organic bullets, knives, blades, brains being cut open, penises being bitten off--you name it, this film has it. The film is remarkably INSANE.
The action scenes are quite reminiscent of "Machine Girl" but dare I say, it does succeed where the former failed. A bazooka and splattering blood are used to propel oneself that adds somewhat to its silliness and outrageousness. These are not negative comments but the film lives and stays aloft on this style. There are some uses of slow-motion in the action, and it is not so much as how hard-hitting it is, as to how bloody and gory one action scene may get. The film's tone takes on some serial killer elements to a cautionary tale of fascistic paranoia and withheld aggression, with some competitive subtle quips about China and Japan.
The film's plot may not be complex, and the screenplay isn't without its flaws. Some of its elements may seem a little tiresome after awhile but it does display director Nishimura's potential as a filmmaker. Keep in mind that this is first directorial assignment, and it is no fault of his that some of the film's storytelling is unrefined and feels a little convoluted. Eihi Shiina is very fitting as the film's lead. The woman is as cold and emotionless as in "Audition". However, Shiina exhibits a particular type of sex appeal that is both frightening and alluring. Ruka's character is a woman sworn to her duty and manages to shut off almost everything in this chaotic Tokyo. Her past is told in the form of flashbacks (as with most of the film's character developments) and her one link to order and sanity is her relationship to a kindly bar owner (Ikuko Sawada).
"Tokyo Gore Police" wasn't exactly what I expected but boy, it was one fun ride. It was far more than I wanted to see or prepared myself for. The film is definitely NOT FOR EVERYONE, the film delivers its outright silliness and "campiness" with a serious tone; that while it may seem funny--once you take it in, it is a lot DARKER and bizarre than what it was at first impression. This type of film just cannot smile and delivers everything with a brooding and humorous attitude. Then, maybe because of all the cut-off limbs and disemboweled body parts, the film probably had its smile torn away in PURE Bloody fashion. The only thing its missing may be a "rainbow of blood" and it is the best thing to happen to Japanese cinema since 'SLICED HEAD'!.
Again, watch it if you dare….
Recommended Timidly but a HIGHLY Recommended Rating to Fans of Blood and Gore.
[4+ Out of 5 Stars]
Note: There is a very strong hint that this is Yoshihiro Nishimura's first installment of blood and gore.
Video/audio: 1.77 ratio anamorphic widescreen. Great transfer for Tokyo Shock. Colors and blacks are radiant and strong, but some scenes have more grain than others. 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Surround Japanese and English language tracks. The English subtitles are excellent.
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Tokyo Gore Police is a 2008 Japanese gore film. The film was directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura and stars Eihi Shiina as Ruka, a vengeful police officer.
Tokyo Gore Police was released to several film festivals in North America. It received generally positive reviews, noting that Tokyo Gore Police lives up to the film's title, by being gory, perverse and bizarre.