Otaku USA Magazine
Tokyo Gore Police

Before Tokyo Gore Police came out in theaters here or abroad, the ridiculous trailer surfaced online. At almost five minutes long, it was tough to believe that there was anything worth seeing beyond the massive display of gore previewed. Now, having finally seen the movie, I can officially say that I completely underestimated director Yoshihiro Nishimura and his twisted band of FX maniacs. At almost two hours long, Tokyo Gore Police is absolutely loaded with over-the-top bloodshed that hardly lets up for a scene until the credits start rolling.

The privatized police force of Tokyo have a unique threat to deal with on the streets in this grim, not-too-distant future. Creatures known as Engineers have the power to grow powerful weapons from their wounds, which makes taking them down an exercise in unpredictability. The opening scene of the movie paints the perfect picture of this phenomenon as the police corner a cannibalistic maniac in a rooftop hostage situation that turns into a quick meal before they can even get to the top floor.

Since this new type of police, decked out in samurai-style protective armor, has no qualms when it comes to using extreme force, they blow the guy’s arm off almost immediately. Then, through some very Tetsuo-like voodoo, an organic, twisted chainsaw sprouts in the arm’s place and the blood starts to really rain. That’s where Ruka—played by Eihi Shiina (Audition)—comes in, toting a serious-business katana with zero reluctance to leap into battle and exercise that right to kill. As a member of the “Engineer Hunters,” no one is more qualified to go toe to toe with the nastiest group of criminals in the country.

Of course, the Engineers are really just the perfect excuse to flex the talents of Nishimura’s FX crew, and they do so with very little computer-generated aid. Compared to something like Noburo Iguchi’s The Machine Girl, which also featured special effects by Nishimura and co., the amount of stuff on screen that is practical rather than digital is much higher. Characters on both sides, when caught by the business end of whatever ridiculous weapon is on display, quickly become sacks of prosthetic flesh, oozing and spewing enough red stuff to flood a small city.

The fighting itself isn’t really anything special, despite being choreographed by Versus star Tak Sakaguchi. The real treat comes in the creativity of death and the hideous transformations that come about as a result of not fully eradicating the engineers. Even those finding themselves a little queasy after just the first scene will likely want to stick around to see what they could possibly do to top it. This continues with pretty much every big gore moment, each seemingly more final than the last as far as absurdity goes, yet they still manage to pull inventive tricks out of their hat up to the last minute.

Another high point of Tokyo Gore Police is the collection of fake commercials interspersed throughout. Though these bright and happy shorts are often more morbid in concept than the rest of the film, they add a nice counterpoint to what is essentially a dark story played relatively straight, while also emphasizing the movie’s surface-level social commentary and further backing up any comparisons made to some of Paul Verhoeven’s work.

One such advertisement shows off a new product for girls, the “Wrist Cutter G,” which is just what it sounds like: suicidal wrist slicers available in a variety of designer colors. Schoolgirls squeal about how “cute” they are while gleefully cutting their wrists and kicking up their legs victoriously. The commercials are all directed by people other than Nishimura—fellow genre wildmen Noburo Iguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi (Battlefield Baseball, Cromartie High: The Movie)—and are just as enjoyable on their own as they are when inserted at various points in the movie.

Nishimura is definitely leading the dare-you-to-watch-it wave of low budget gore flicks in Japan. Personally, I haven’t been this excited about genre film coming out of that country since Ryuhei Kitamura knocked the world over with Versus in 2001. It doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon, either, with a trailer for Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl surfacing just earlier this week. Tokyo Gore Police may run a tad long for what it is, but it’s tough to complain when there’s so much fun to be had through the duration. Media Blasters deserves props not only for bringing this movie here, but for getting it started in the first place following the success of The Machine Girl. Here’s hoping the wave never crashes.

Studio/Company: Media Blasters
Available: Now
Rating: Unrated