A blog exploring the sexy, shocking, surreal, and silly side of horror films.

November 14, 2010

Tokyo Gore Police (REVIEW)

Tokyo Gore Police (2008) 
(Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu)

Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura

As an outsider to Japanese culture, I can only wonder what mainstream audiences in Japan think of films like Tokyo Gore Police. Do the excessive gore, sexual perversion, ultra-violence, and twisted stories feel as bizarre and fringe in Japan as they do in North America? Perhaps they're as par-for-the-course in Japan as the romantic comedy is in North America. Regardless, I can only speak for myself: Tokyo Gore Police is the most gleefully fucked up movie I've ever seen.


Tokyo Gore Police is a Japanese action splatter film spliced with Videodrome on acid and sprinkled with a helping of Robocop's tongue-in-cheek media satire.

In future Japan, the privatized Tokyo police force attempts to apprehend and kill a strange species of mutants known as Engineers. For the most part, these mysterious Engineers appear human but are notoriously difficult to kill because they have the ability to transform any injury into weapons. A severed limb could grow back as a deadly blade. The severed legs of an Engineer may regenerate as the fanged jaws of a monster. Some even take on bio-mechanical traits with fleshy, grotesque limbs and body parts that double as machine guns. To confront this menace, Ruka (Eihi Shiina) is a samurai sword-wielding cop with a bloody knack for dispatching Engineers. While investigating a series of Engineer-related murders, she discovers that the origin of the Engineers is linked to the murder of her own father. She discovers a past of betrayal and deceit, all the way hacking and slashing a gory trail to the truth.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Snail Strippers


You don't call a movie Tokyo Gore Police and not bring some pretty outstanding violence to the table. I've gory violent images in Tokyo Gore Police that I've never seen before. Partly because the premise is so fantastical (bloody wounds turning into even bloodier and more disgusting weapons), and partly because the film is so violent (too many decapitations, severed limbs, and melted faces to count), Tokyo Gore Police lives up to its name: a wet-dream for any gore-hound.

 High blood pressure is the #1 killer in Japan.

If you took the body-meets-metal aesthetic of Tetsuo: The Iron Man but switched out the metal with unpredictable mutating flesh a la The Thing, you may get a sense of the way bodies are treated in Tokyo Gore Police. Even as a long-time horror fan, I encountered shocking images in Tokyo Gore Police that made me gasp and question what I saw. Tokyo Gore Police is Peter Jackson's Dead Alive without the restraint.


At the same time, Tokyo Gore Police is not a somber grind-fest. It's almost cartoon-like in its approach to the futuristic world of Japan and its techno-samurai police force and fleshy mutant transformers. Don't confuse the gore in this film with the gore in snuff fiction like that from August Underground or by Remy Couture (whose extreme FX work has got him into hot water in Canada recently). The difference is a matter of tone. You are supposed to revel in the gore and laugh at the over-the-top blood sprays -- laugh with that gross-out reflex one gets from seeing a human face sliced off but the body stumble around like a headless chicken. 

" It's raining blood! Hallelujah, it's raining blood."

The film also has a satirical take on media and culture that extends the silliness beyond the gore and into the background of the film. As in Robocop, we often cut to spoof commercials but on Japanese television. Although real Japanese TV is widely considered weird by North Americans, the Japanese media in the world of Tokyo Gore Police is much stranger. Ads for cutely designed box-cutters cater to kids that like to cut themselves. A presenter on a home-shopping channel kills himself with a sword. An ad for a Wii-like systems shows a family participating in a video game where the goal is to torture an imprisoned man. The mixture of this black humour and satire prevents Tokyo Gore Police from being a mean-spirited film, but it is no less shocking.


That depends on how into body modification you are. I'm not just talking tattoos and piercings here. I'm talking about nude strippers and prostitutes who have had their nipples removed and breasts sutured with big metal staples. I'm talking about nude women who are anatomically part-snail. I'm talking girls with penises for noses.

Think twice before getting between her legs.

Because Monster Chiller Horror Theatre often dwells in the low-brow, mildly titillating full-frontal nudity is all it takes to count as sexy. If you can forget for a moment that the woman above has an alligator for a torso, then -- yes -- Tokyo Gore Police is sexy.


This dude's brain has cannons sticking out of it.
I have such an explosive migraine right now.

If everything I've shown you about Tokyo Gore Police tickles your fancy, then you'll really enjoy this example of gorified splatter action/comedy. As far as I can tell, the performances are good, the fight choreography is exciting, and the story has enough twists and turns to keep you invested in some very slightly disjointed scenes of violence or goof-ball humor. It's the gore and practical effects, however, that you'll remember most.

Don't be surprised if you get a little blood on your face just from watching.

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