Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
This is an insane film. Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, Tokyo Gore Police is a Japanese “gore film.” Nishimura is mostly known in Japan for his contributions to the horror and gore genres, so this one is right up his alley. He worked on Noboru Iguchi’s The Machine Girl and Media Blasters asked him if he wanted to do a feature. Tokyo Gore Police was born. It’s actually a remake of Anatomia Extinction, an indie film Nishimura made years ago.
While bright and beautiful gore is certainly THE selling feature of Tokyo Gore Police, some rather interesting concepts lie at the core of this picture. Nishimura seems to have something to say about the direction of Japanese society under the blood, guts and dismembered limbs. Some might catch on to the references, as they aren’t very subtle. But those looking for a straightforward bloodfest won’t be disappointed in the least.
Tokyo Gore Police stars the lovely but creepy Eihi Shiina (Audition) as Ruka. She’s a cop. Japan’s police have recently been privatized and, as a result, they are more brutal than ever. They do whatever it takes to control crime, even relying on public executions and other bits of showmanship to keep the population under sufficient control. A group of mutants known as Engineers comprise the biggest threat to social order, as they have the ability to transform their wounds into weapons.
Ruka’s father was assassinated for reasons unknown to her, but as the mystery becomes clearer she delves further into the world of the Engineers. A mad scientist (Itsuji Itao) is behind the Engineers and he seems to think he can help Ruka, but the self-harming loner of a girl isn’t so convinced. While the corruption and violence of the cops rages on, Ruka finds her loyalties and beliefs tested in some rather extreme ways.
Shiina is fantastic as the stone-faced heroine. She gets to stand in all the blood spray and look pretty. She gets to chop limbs off with a sword, too, and later on she gets a pretty dope addition for her troubles. Shiina blends in well with the chaos, which is shot through a number of different lighting set-ups by Nishimura’s active cinematographer Shu G. Momose. He certainly knows how to draw out the details in blood spatter, that’s for sure.
Tokyo Gore Police is absurd but ultimately dazzling in its relentlessly creative impulses. There are a number of ways to kill off characters or mindless drones and Nishimura seems interested in them all. The violence is more hysterical than frightening and the filmmaker thankfully doesn’t know the meaning of subtlety. At the same time, he plays with some legitimately compelling elements. The line-up of commercials, for instance, adds a neat layer of social commentary and black humour.
Tokyo Gore Police exists for a certain type of fanboy, erm, moviegoer. It’s a ridiculous ride, one that won’t be for everyone or, let’s be honest, most people. It knows its own weaknesses, though, and it bathes in them like big goopy plops of brain matter. Moments in which characters are tossed aside like blood-covered dummies are played up with little-to-no effort to turn the camera away, while other fake-looking appendages spring out from the weirdest of places. If you’re game to bathe in the wondrous camp and gore of Nishimura’s world, you won’t want to miss this.