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Saturday, October 10, 2015


Okay, I have one big question about this flick: How can a movie featuring content like this,

or this (yes, that is a gun/penis),

or even this (giving new possibilities to the old "snail trails" joke)

turn out to be something of a disappointment? The only answer I can come up with is that the Japanese have twigged to the fact that a movie doesn't have to make one lick of sense to rake in box office cash, provided the film in question is crammed wall-to-wall with ultra-violence, gratuitous nudity, kinky sexual freakishness, monsters like something out of a softcore remake of KAMEN RIDER and truly unbelievable amounts of torrential arterial spray, the likes of which have not been seen since Peter Jackson's DEADALIVE (1992).

TOKYO GORE POLICE is a batshit-crazy orgy of over-the-top carnage hung upon a framework that plays out like the result of a three-month working vacation in Japan as taken by David Lynch or David Cronenberg. Replete with "body horror" revolving around the human form mutating into a myriad of fascinating and horrific variations, the film is nothing more than an excuse to showcase loony prosthetic makeup effects, CGI, and Gwar-style splatter that decorates the camera with matter-of-fact abandon, and actresses who are quite content to get topless and allow the makeup people to run rampant transforming their nubile bodies into grotesque fusions of the feminine and the fearsome. But while that's all terrific in theory, the movie itself has the feel of a semi-obscure and at times pretentious art movie that wallows in grue yet manages to stay objective to its own abattoir excesses. Sort of like it's focusing its perception on its own content and not being viscerally engaged in the least.

The often nonsensical story unfolds in a near-future where the Tokyo Police Corporation finds itself at constant war with the "engineers," genetically modified super-baddies whose motives are never explained to any satisfactory degree, but they do have the ability to take helacious amounts of high-caliber punishment and transform assorted bits of their anatomy into bio-mechanical hybrids of flesh and weaponry or disturbing fusions of man and other sundry life-forms.

A trio of "engineered" nightclub performers: gotta love those snail shell ninnies!

Few movies can function without some sort of protagonist, even one with a surfeit of sanguinary explosions and bucketloads of offal, so TOKYO GORE POLICE provides us with Ruka (Eihi Shina), a seriously disturbed cop trained to deal with engineers, whose skirt and garter belt ensemble fetchingly complements her short skirt and razor-edged katana. 

Eihi Shina as policewoman/slayer Ruka.

Haunted by traumatic events from her youth, Ruka vents her neuroses by regularly taking a blade to her left forearm, but when not engaging in self-mutilation she fights against a persistent engineer serial killer who, unbeknownst to her, is tied to her personal tragedy. Her investigation leads to the fetish club headquarters of the engineers and unearths unexpected truths about her adoptive father before the film climaxes in a half hour of nigh-unimaginable bloodshed and totally gratuitous mayhem. But at times the film's visual storytelling is an incoherent mess, and my buddy Chris and I spent much of the film trying to piece together exactly how some of the characters figured into the plot, exactly who they were, and even if they were in fact another character altogether. Our perceptions were not in any way altered by booze; we were simply and profoundly confused by much of what we saw and I'll be damned if I've got all of it straight even as I write this review. I honestly wonder if the filmmakers simply did not care if the film was coherent or not, as long as they were able to create what amounted to a feature-length special effects demo reel. Take f'rinstance this post-punk geisha chick:

She shows up a bunch of times during the movie and bloodily engages the engineers in combat, but exactly who and what is she? I thought she was another incarnation of Ruka but apparently not, and Chris was also at a loss to explain just who she was. I think she may have been another policewoman because she shows up during the climax wearing a kicky uniform while wielding a naginata (a weapon I always welcome with open arms) but I couldn't honestly tell you for certain, even if there were a gun to my head. Then there's the guy seen standing to Ruka's left in the shot below:

As seen here, he's clearly another member of the police corporation, but once Ruka makes her way to the fetish club this same guy is seen wandering in off the street, decked out in tacky '70's gear, and he runs afoul of a chick with stitched-over nipples who bites off his cock in a truly spectacular/ludicrous display of fountaining blood. He then falls prey to the chief engineer and gets turned into a berserker with a sword-arm and a gigantic cannon-penis, but here's the thing: I had no idea that the throwaway cop seen above and the guy reborn with the ballistic boner were one and the same until I took a good, long look at this photo. The character is never really pointed out to be one of Ruka's co-workers (at least not that I can recall), and during the bits where his discoed-out self saunters into the fetish club Chris kept asking, "Who the fuck is this guy, and why are we supposed to care?"

A cock-biter with stitched-over ninnies: not the kind of girl you take home to meet your mom.

But maybe I'm the one who's fucked-up for actually giving a shit about expecting a plot in a movie that has nothing on its mind other than pleasing the gore-hounds that comprise the bulk of its audience, an audience of which I'm supposedly a part?

Despite its art house pacing and feel, TOKYO GORE POLICE lives up to its name and intent, providing colorful and ridiculous gory set pieces that don't disappoint, although as previously stated there is an element of the camera's gaze upon these events being a case of "point and stare" that doesn't necessarily engage the viewer. In fact, at times it kind of reminded me of mediocre porno: all the stuff you want to see is there onscreen, but its depiction is little more than explicitness for the sake of being explicit and it's all rather mechanical. But what other film can you name that depicts a living, breathing torso-chair that treats the patrons of the fetish club to a golden shower of epic proportions?

Seriously, this piece of flesh furniture lets fly with a literal geyser of piss while those in attendance cavort with glee. Hey, whatever turns you on...

The pee-pee chair prop.

There's also abundant eye-candy on display, covering a number of aesthetics from standard fetishy

to my favorite visual in the entire film:

The most impressive example of the classical "vagina dentata" ever seen on the big screen, so there's something for everyone.

Bottom line: TOKYO GORE POLICE is a seriously flawed piece of work and I would only recommend it for those who just have to see every gory movie ever made. It's visually interesting but uninvolving, and while there are many out there who will not care about the story, I felt kind of let down by it. For a vastly better film that mines similiar territory, I recommend THE MACHINE GIRL instead.

Poster from the U.S./U.K. theatrical release.

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