Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review - Tokyo Zombie (2005 - Dir. Sakichi Satô)

"The Japanese Shaun of the Dead" exclaims the DVD cover. Yes, it includes zombies. Yes, it includes two friends. And yes, it is pretty funny. But it's closer to Bottom vs Zombies. Except the kicks and punches have been replaced by grappling.

Fujio and Mitsuo are two colleagues/buddies who work in a fire extinguisher factory. In their breaks they practise Jujitsu and dream of becoming champions (that's where the endless scenes of grappling come in, which amused me no end). After an unfortunate incident they are forced to visit a toxic waste dump called "Black Fuji" which dominates the skyline of Tokyo. As usual zombies appear and everything kicks off. Fujio and Mitsuo hit the road in a Max and Paddy style van and their adventure begins.

As usual for Japanese films, (well at least the ones I watch) it's not long before the inevitable peeping paedo appears who looks up the skirt of a seemingly dead school girl. The humour does improve but if you're not into violent slapstick (or slow moving grappling) then steer clear. One of the final shots of Mitsuo running after Fujio on a bike is so cheaply done (it is a low budget production with low budget effects, but these add to its charm), but it made me chuckle for a fair while. There is also the inherent humour factor of a man with a huge afro being buddies with a Max Wall lookalike.

Tokyo Zombie is a film of two halves. The first is fun in a stupid random way but then at the halfway point it jumps forward five years in time. I thought at first that this could be its downfall but it delves into The Running Man (that's the film, not the dance) style game show antics, except with more Japanese pensioners. It also gets to show a slightly more emotional side. Don't get me wrong, it's not a sequel to The Notebook but it was enough to endear itself to me. 

I can't say that I've been that enamoured by many of the newer zombie films that have been doing the rounds. This is one of the better examples. The film-makers have played to their low budget strengths and gone for stupid slapstick humour (with added grappling) plus you even get a little section of anime thrown in for free. It works for me.

(If you'd like a Tokyo Zombie/Lego treat visit The Ukulele Blog for some great photos.)

If you like this you could also try:
Helldriver, Nightmare City.


  1. The second half was indeed better, but this was still a disappointing affair. If you like slow moving grappling (and who does?) then it's great, but for the rest of us it's mildly amusing, quirky fun. I think your 6/10 is a little on the generous side.

    1. Maybe it's because I went into this with such low expectations. The slow moving grappling had me chuckling away because it's the not the standard stuff of your average zombie film.

      I've just watched Iron Man 3 and given it a 6/10. It was okay and enjoyable enough but I wouldn't bother buying it. Whereas I have bought Tokyo Zombie to enjoy rewatching it. For me 6/10 seems fair enough. 7 would be generous though...