Have you ever seen a movie so bad, that as you were watching it, you paid less attention to what was going on and more to the fact that you’re still allowing your brain to process it? Have you ever seen a movie so bad that the longer you watch it, the more horrified and worried you become at the sheer size of the balls on the director and screenwriter? Like if they would go that far then what would they do next? I’m prepared to admit that in my exhaustive search to give you my opinions on some of the best Asian cinema out there…I have often come across the worst.
Now I too have seen the dark side. And its kung-fu is strong. One in particular that I just have to get off my chest is Tokyo Gore Police. I think a moment of horrified silence would be appropriate here.
…Done? Ok. Here’s what happened. I’m breezing through info on the movie Death Bell and I happen across a phrase that was new to me. Torture porn. As I said in the Death Bell review, I didn’t see the correlation between that phrase and the actual movie. I wondered about it but eventually moved on. Apparently though my subconscious was working against me because the next movie that I decided to check out is TGP. Now that I know what torture porn is I wished I didn’t. I’ve seen some pretty pointless, and idiotic movies in the U.S (in particular a movie where a man’s penis is cut off and then inches across the floor like an earth worm, only to later leap on and strangle the woman whose attempting to kill his…owner.) but nothing like this.
The hot girl on the cover in the high heels, thigh highs (complete with garter), and shiny sword is a lie. A decoy. A trick to lure in the unsuspecting and innocent like lamb to the slaughter.
Which is what makes it so great. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a bad movie. I don’t want to offend anyone who liked it but to me it sucked. But I will admit that that suckage is what makes it awesome. Let me explain.
Basically TGP is set in futuristic Japan. The city is being terrorized by a serial killer called the Key Man (Itsuji Itao), who’s created a virus. Once infected, a human will turn into monster hybrid thing that basically only thinks about killing. The only way to get rid of them is to cut off the body part where the virus is hiding or they’ll come back. To help fight them off the Tokyo police have privatized a group dedicated to hunting the Engineers (the infected humans). Ruka (Eihi Shiina), who’s been assigned to help the specialized team since she’s so good at killing Engineers, is the main character. She cuts herself and doesn’t like people, but she can cut a man’s face up like sliced ham with a chainsaw with the best of them. The movie is dedicated to Ruka’s search for the Key Man and also her father’s murderer. During her search she not only loses a few of more loved ones, she also loses her sense of justice when she begins to uncover the depth of corruption and cruelty that the specialized force is actually capable of.
Really, the storyline seems like just an excuse to kill something, but that’s alright since the actual killing is done with such flare. Whether she’s cutting herself or someone else, the amount of blood spilled in this movie could sink an ocean liner. The little nicks sends gallons of blood, not just seeping, but gushing like a broken fire hydrant for what seems like hours. It gets to the point where that’s all a scene is. Blood. Had the director been trying for the shock effect, I would have rimmed him a new one. But since his aim was more a celebration of blood and guts he did a great job. That much of the stuff eventually makes a person numb to it, and appropriately enough each successive scene was worse than the last.
For instance the genitals fight was a particular envelope pusher for me. These prostitutes have been made into Engineers. Whatever is cut or damaged reforms with an inanimate object and becomes a part of that person’s body. So one prostitute was made into a flesh chair. No head, no arms. Just her legs and torso formed into a sitting chair. At first she looks dead but then you see the chest rise and fall and the crowd who was bidding on the hookers starts to applaud. I hated that part.
One prostitute alteration I liked was this one chick whose whole bottom half had been fused with a shark I guess because instead of legs and a VJ (censorship practice) there’s these rows and rows of killer teeth ending in a black hole. She bites off this guy’s who-ha and he shoots her in the whoopsy-daisy before turning into an Engineer himself. Then…and you guessed it; his thingermabob is recreated into this, literally, ten foot monster that acts as a sort of bullet proof shield against rocket launchers, swords, and other assorted weapons. Then there’s a high-schooler Engineer with a giant razor for an arm and machine gun boobies. And not fun ones like the ones on Austin Powers either. Creepy ones.
And so ends the genital wars.
There’s this scene, a useless one in my book, where Ruka drags this guy from a train after accusing him of touching her but. Then she cuts off his hands and the blood, expectedly enough, gushes forth at such a rate that it fills the air with red rain for the full five minutes it takes Ruka to walk off screen in slow motion.
The one thing I liked was the commercials. In the movie it keeps panning to show these commercials that are being broadcasted in the city. They’re hilarious. One has a guy who didn’t buy the right cell phone or something, so he had to commit ritual suicide. He cuts his stomach open and his guts fly out like confetti and he dies for like two seconds before popping back up with a smile and saying something completely inappropriate for the situation. Like call toll free now for a quote or something to that effect.
Another one had this psycho running into a group of kids playing soccer until he, is in turn, shot by the specialized force. Then the police cut up his body and play soccer with the kids with the guys head replacing the actual soccer ball.
Then there was one for your own murder Wii. A father and son are slashing a criminal open with their Wii sword and mom comes in from backing cookies and joins in. It’s family fun.
The best one was for self-cutters. They advertise a handy little razor that comes in several different colors. Apparently it’s super kawai, and if you want to be cool you need to get the latest in cutting technology. The blade is sharp and the bleeding high schoolers are just so happy. It’s so demented that it works. I wish we had commercials like that, but the U.S has this stupid censoring thing going on right now, so no luck there.
I also liked some of the character designs. The woman with swords for arms and legs and a slave mask for a face was brilliant. Especially since she walked around on all fours, on sword tip, and acted more like a dog than an actual person. The fight sequences with her were flawless and I wish there were more scenes involving her since they were the most engaging. Mostly because there was little to no bloodshed during that fight. With knife appendages you’d think they would have run with it.
Shot and released in just two weeks Tokyo Gore Police appeared on screen in Japan in June of 2008. The movie received, surprisingly enough, rave reviews, even from critics. People loved it, especially in the U.S and its earned 100 points on RottenTomatoes.
Again. Go figure.
If you aren’t really into pointless gore, avoid watching this movie unless you’re with people who can help you make fun of it. I messed up because I saw it the first time by myself which means that I can never see it again unless I’m heavily sedated and or surrounded by friends…Or weed. I bet a stoner would get a kick out of this movie. I say good for you stoner. Have fun.