Directed by Noburu Iguchi
At Montreal’s annual Fantasia Film Festival, director Noburu Iguchi is treated like royalty for he always bring guaranteed crowd pleasers for pushing the beloved Tokusatsu genre to farcical levels. He has brought viewers kick-ass machine girls, robot geishas and even toilet zombies so it comes as no surprise that he decided to tackle killer sushi rolls, deadly salmon roes and rice-spewing zombies in his latest offering, Dead Sushi.
When Keiko (High Kick Girl’s Rina Takeda) decides to run away from home to get away from her overly strict father, who maliciously punishes her for not being the immaculate sushi chef and martial artist he wants her to be, she tries to make a life for herself as a server in a quaint inn that ironically specializes in sushi.
Constantly ridiculed and put down by her co-workers and employers like a modern day Cinderella, Keiko struggles to find her purpose in life and unwillingly does so once a vengeful researcher named Yamada (Kentaro Shimazu) takes his revenge on a group of former employers dining at the inn by injecting a deadly serum into sushi and makes them come to life as killer sushi! With the help of a knife-phobic former sushi chef and a mutated egg sushi that spews acid, Keiko and her unlikely sidekicks must use their fighting skills to take down Yamada and his army of deadly sushi. As one can expect, insanity ensues.
Very clearly patterned on Joe Dante’s Gremlins and even Peter Berg’s colossal bomb Battleship, Iguchi’s ode to the killer creature sub-genre is engorged with thrills and ancillary pulp in this latest splatter fest. Rina Takeda shows off her high kicks and her endearing cuteness flawlessly as the film’s key protagonist. Her role as Keiko is able to garner as many laughs as it does cheers, and even when unlucky victims are getting their skin stretched off and being eaten alive by the bloodthirsty sushi, it’s hard to take your eyes off her.
Although the film is full of cheesy CGI effects, Yoshihiro Nishimura’s renowned effects company brings it with practical gory effects that will make sure to turn off even the biggest of sushi enthusiasts. Like all of Iguchi’s films, Dead Sushi is tailored for a specific crowd, and if the title doesn’t sell you, then most likely nothing will in this ridiculous horror romp.
Overall the film may not be as innovative as Iguchi’s previous offerings; yet, ironically enough, it is one of the most coherent. Dead Sushi is an amusing satirical toku that packs more bite than a mouthful of wasabi.
3 1/2 out of 5