Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Reviewed by Evil Andy
Starring Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Shoko Nakahara, Sayako Nakoshi
Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura
Tokyo Gore Police posits a near future Japan where the Tokyo Police Force (TPF) has been privatized to better combat the recent threat of a new species of super-criminal called “engineers". Engineers are possessed of the ability to grow fleshy, Cronenberg-esque weaponry out of any wound inflicted on them. Due to this advantage, a special breed of super-cop has emerged called “engineer hunters” who are particularly adept at filleting the psychopaths into the few dozen chunks required to bring them down for good.
The leader of the engineers is the enigma known only as “Key Man”, and the top hunter is Ruka (Audition’s Eihi Shiina!). The two of them seem linked in some way, likely related to the assassination of Ruka’s father, the leader of the anti-police privatization movement. Political intrigue, tightly drawn protagonist and antagonist, flesh weapons, mutation, and gore! Sound fun? You bet! Is it? Sigh ... sometimes.
In reality, Tokyo Gore Police is fairly exhausting. Clocking in at 110 minutes, it rapidly becomes an exercise in waiting for the next cool mutation or gore effect. The setup for the simplistic story consumes one third of the running time, and there are too many shots that take too long to get started and linger too long before moving on. This adds up to another thirty minutes or so of watching the same arterial spray shower and other repeated elements.
That said the first time you see one of these gory set pieces, it’s pretty exhilarating since they’re so over the top. Tokyo Gore Police likely has the most impressive blood spray ever. One memorable scene has Ruka slicing a subway pervert’s hands off and elegantly opening a parasol, walking towards the camera in slow motion as the gushing stumps rain down blood. The creative mutations that allow engineers to continue living despite egregious injury are totally insane including eyeball cannons, crocodile vaginas, chainsaw arms, dick shotguns and one particularly disfigured mutant who’s only remaining weapon is its urine!
Tokyo Gore Police isn’t an easy film to draw comparisons to, though movies like Versus and Meatball Machine do come close. However, one unexpectedly large influence on the film is Robocop. TGP is filled with satirical commercials such as one very OCP-like spot showing the TPF executing a child murderer in a park while children cheer on, the Wii meets Robocop’s “Nuke ‘Em”, video game that allows you swipe your remote to execute criminals in real time, or the “Wrist Cutter G”, marketed to schoolgirls who want wrist cutters in wardrobe matching colors! Even the “final boss” of the film is a gimp version of Sherilyn Fenn in Boxing Helena crossed with ED-209!
Ultimately, Tokyo Gore Police should be commended for its aspirations. The special effects talents of director Yoshihiro Nishimura are on display in nearly every shot and with a two week production time, the level of gore and action they were able to get on screen is pretty amazing. The credit sequence unabashedly announces the sequel as “more gore coming soon!” Here’s hoping the follow up is even more extreme, that the story is tightened up, and the running time is shortened. It’s clear that Nishimura wants to push the envelope and shock audiences, but in order to do that, he’ll have to make sure they’re not dozing off in between the gooey bits.
2 1/2 out of 5
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