19 Jun

The gore and the glory: Tokyo Gore Police

Posted by Larry Clow | Thursday June 19, 2008 | Reviews

Tokyo Gore Police There’s truth in advertising and then there’s “Tokyo Gore Police.” It’s a movie so gory, violent and outrageous, so thoroughly soaked in blood and covered in thick coating of fleshy-bits and bone matter that simply putting “gore” in the title doesn’t quite cut it. In fact, the proverbial 1,000 monkeys at 1,000 typewriters could spend 1,000 years filling 1,000 thesauruses with synonyms for “gore”, “blood”, “disembowelment” and so on and still not have enough words to describe “Tokyo Gore Police.” There is so much gore in “Tokyo Gore Police” that someone floats around on a giant spewing, splattering cloud of gore. Yes, it’s that excessive—and, thankfully, it’s good, too.

In the Tokyo of the future, the police force has been privatized and the armor-clad cops have traded in “to serve and protect” for “to sever and impale” as a policing motto. But even deadlier than the cops are the “engineers,” psychotic genetically mutated killers whose bodies can morph into grotesque weapons. They’re so dangerous that a special team of cops has been created to hunt down and kill engineers. Chief among the hunters is Ruka (Eihi Shiina, best known as the piano-wire-wielding femme fatale in Takashi Miike’s “Audition”), a demure young lass with a penchant for cutting herself with a utility knife and slicing bad guys in half with her samurai sword.

But Ruka herself is being hunted by the Key Man (Itsuji Itao), the mad scientist responsible for creating the engineers. As Key Man’s creations run riot throughout the city, slaughtering prostitutes, gangsters and regular folks with gleeful abandon, Ruka’s investigation leads her to confront dark secrets about her own past—and a realization that she may have more in common with the Key Man and his engineers than with her police brethren.

First-time director Yoshihiro Nishimura was the brains behind the FX for “The Machine Girl,” and much of the same creative team reunites for “Tokyo Gore Police.” As a director (and co-screenwriter), Nishimura is pretty good. His camera work is adept, and the story, written in collaboration with Kengo Kaji and Sayako Nakoshi, works in some clever moments amidst all the flayed flesh and decadent depravity. The fake commercials intercut throughout the movie—pro-police privatization propaganda, ads for designer suicide products and the best sword for committing hara kari—echo Paul Verhoven’s satirical jabs a crass consumerism in “Robocop”, and all the morphing body parts and carved up corpses owe a clear debt to David Cronenberg and H.G. Lewis.

But Nishimura excels when it comes to the effects, and “Tokyo Gore Police” is an unrestrained spectacular of deformed appendages, gaping stab wounds and high-pressure sprays of blood. Nowhere are Nishimura skills on better display than an extended scene in an underground fetish club, where the flesh of the dancing girls has been crudely hammered into grotesque shapes. One girl has become a snail, another has a cock for a nose, and, in a bit that would make Cronenberg both proud and disgusted, one chick has been turned into a chair. Yup, that’s right—a living (well, breathing, at least) chair, one that douses the rapt audience in a golden shower. And almost unbelievably, “Tokyo Gore Police” manages to get even more shocking after that. Penis guns, acid-spewing boobs, quadruple-amputees in gimp outfits—there is no twisted avenue “Tokyo Gore Police” won’t explore, and just as you think it can’t get any weirder, it does.

The engineers themselves are similarly awesome. The engineer featured in the movie’s opening has a fairly humdrum mutant chainsaw arm, but as the movie progresses, one engineer grows a pair of bone-fragment-shooting guns out of his exposed brain and another’s lower-body morphs into a snarling, hungry vagina-monster. The fight scenes between Ruka and the various engineers are a bloody ballet, and stunt coordinator Tak Sakaguchi’s battle scenes are interesting enough on their own without the added attraction of all the exploding heads.

But man, those exploding heads sure are fun, and “Tokyo Gore Police” has an earnest sense of humor and a manic charm about it that keeps all the gore firmly on the silly side. If there’s any drawback, it’s that the last half of the movie feels a little too much like a video game, with a series of “final showdowns” between Ruka and some bad guys that throws the rest of the movie’s leisurely pace out of whack. The cast’s acting abilities aren’t anything to write home about, but hey, when penis guns and vagina-monsters are running amok, a convincing display of everyday human emotions is the last thing viewers are looking for. But at the same time, the recent stories coming out of Japan about mass suicides of young people organized over the internet gives “Tokyo Gore Police” an uncomfortable sort of relevance. There’s some real anxiety among all the “Oh God, did I just see that?” moments, and the reality of a death-obsessed subculture on the brink of oblivion is scarier than any freak in the film. “Tokyo Gore Police” takes the audience all the way to the edge and leaves us there with a wink, a smile and blood all over the camera lens.

15 Comments 

  1. June 19, 2008 1:22 pm

    Lurple

    This one’s been high on my list of things I’m waiting for this year, right after the Machine Girl (which did not disappoint).

    I thought Tak Sakaguchi was the stunt/fight co-ordinator though? That was one of the reasons it initially caught my attention. Not that I don’t like Ryuhei Kitamura too.

  2. June 19, 2008 11:51 pm

    Larry

    Lurple–you are indeed correct, and that was a big goof on my part. The error’s been fixed and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about writing these things late at night…

  3. June 20, 2008 1:11 pm

    Lurple

    Ah, no biggy, I was mainly wondering if the stuff I had read earlier was wrong.

    Wish this was hitting a theater in my area. I could almost have caught it at the SF Indie “Another Hole in the Head”, but the timing was just a little bit off. Hope they don’t screw up the DVD release.

  4. June 20, 2008 1:45 pm

    Todd

    I’m REALLY looking forward to this one, too. The trailer I watched a while back left me stunned and intrigued, but then you said “penis guns and vagina monsters.” Now I’m practically chomping at the bit.

  5. July 29, 2009 1:15 pm

    Captain Sane

    This movie is proof positive that the Japanese are both retarded and stunningly incompetent movie makers.

    Let me begin by stating I love horror, I love gore and I even love Godzilla (while admitting it’s usually technically awful). This however is a cinematic abortion in the ‘wow, this is less entertaining than Adam Sandler’ kind of way!

    Imagine a movie that borrows concepts from all your Hollywood favourites: Blade runner, RoboCop et al. Then throws in the obligatory skinny Japanese chicks in school girl outfits, ridiculous poses, sparsys of red (that are supposed to be blood), pointless attempts at humour (Robocop is written by a retard).

    I’ll be honest, after an hour I gave up. This isn’t a movie that’s so bad it’s good… it’s just bad in every way. Terrible f/x, acting, cinematography, EVERYTHING! Not an original idea to be found either.

    This movies is retarded and I wonder if the director (can I even use that word) is 5 years old or just brain damaged.

    Do not be fooled, it’s not interesting. Not at all.

  6. July 30, 2009 8:18 am

    ken

    if you liked Tokyo Gore Police, you gotta watch the new film by Yoshiro Nishimura – Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/vampire-girl-vs-frankenstein-girl-stars-yukie-kawamura/

  7. September 13, 2009 2:10 pm

    Hutch

    So, “Captain Sane”….you didn’t finish it? Explain to us why we should listen to you, then. If you don’t finish the movie, your opinions are void.

  8. September 13, 2009 5:14 pm

    Bryan White

    Gotta admit, Captain Sane. Hutch has a point.

  9. October 13, 2009 12:41 pm

    Mister Gone

    Well I agree with Captain Sane on quite a few points and yes, unfortunately, I did finish the movie (even though you don’t have to eat all of a dog crap sandwich to tell someone you don’t like the taste). This movie was disjointed and a chore just to follow. Characters appear and disappear with little warning and the effects, which are supposed to be the highlight of a film like this, are sorely lacking. The blood looks like thick cherry Kool-Aid. Blood is not perfectly clear. It makes me wonder if the f/x guy has even seen a cut in flesh. The aforementioned box-cutter scene looked like some one cutting into a thin film of marshmallow filled with goo, no muscle, no flesh, just goo. There are a few bright points in the movie but far too many of them are lost to the “oh come on really” kind of ridiculousness that is home in an anime or manga but just look silly/stupid in a live action feature.

  10. March 8, 2010 11:13 am

    KARAAN

    Captain Sane is a fucking genius. This is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

  11. April 19, 2010 4:32 am

    mac

    Captain sane is an idiot, these kind of films are intended to be just as they are, its a very simple concept. why on earth you would compare this to blade runner is retarded in itself. Its like comparing the hulk to gone with the wind.

    stop trying to look clever

  12. July 24, 2010 5:51 pm

    NickF

    Finally got to see this……great! Like “Old Boy” meets Peter Jackson’s “Bad Taste”! Watch it!

  13. September 17, 2010 4:50 am

    JoeyR

    Although I am a genre fan, and I am not a fan of throwing around the word retarded, I have to agree with Captain Sane. And I watched every bit of this movie, it isn’t just camp, it is bad camp, like one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and I like bad movies!
    People need to stop comparing this movie to Bad Taste which is actually witty, this movie lacks wit. There is the word gore in the title, but all I really saw was piss thin Kool-Aid spraying everywhere.
    Rubbish to someone who doesn’t even have high standards.

  14. January 1, 2011 9:01 am

    Captain sane is stupid

    Well ‘Captain Sane’ and all who agree with him, you seriously are stupid.
    You got your expectations WAY to high before you saw this I assume. The movie is great, mostly for it’s genre, which I’m sure you don’t even know what it is.

  15. April 8, 2011 3:39 am

    Mudshovel

    On december 12 2010 my best friend and i watched this movie he was so disappointed with this movie he suck started a 9mm beretta, we burred his body on december 23 2010. This is the first time i have been able to talk about how shitty this movie was because it reminded me of how shitty my friends death was, i just want to tell the general public not only does this movie suck but it causes horrible suicides due to the graphic retardedness of this movie, If i could i would beat the shit out of all of the producers of this movie in revenge of my friends death. Good day and fuck you


Leave a comment