Every now and then a film reminds us why we fell in love with world cinema in the first place. It’s worth pointing out at this juncture that this particular movie doesn’t usually involve Thai zombies. Thai zombies and mutant zombie babies no less. Thai zombies, mutant zombie babies and flashy laser swords. I could go on...
Welcome to an Unlikely Hero, welcome to SARS Wars (see what they did there!?!). The SARS virus has mutated, and with it has become the most dangerous virus in all of Africa. Victims are not unlike most zombies in the fact that they like nothing better than to sink their teeth into unsuspecting victims. They also happen to be very much, well you know, dead. When a girl is kidnapped, Master Thep sends his best student to resist the virus-infected zombies, rescue the girl and restore peace and order to the galaxy. Sorry, wrong movie.
The government sends a special team of doctors and soldiers to control the situation, a situation locked down in a Thai skyscraper rising high above the city streets. Sword Man (yes, he has a sword and he is, by definition, a man) has to stop the bomb that they set, rescue the people inside and escape the building before the clock stops ticking. Sounds to me like this could be the best film ever.
Mixing stunning animation, great special effects, rubbish CGI, outlandish characters and a wonderfully quirky sense of humour, SARS Wars is a hugely inventive, tongue firmly in cheek, incredibly self aware, mischievous horror comedy that demands your full attention. It really is that good. The first thing that strikes you is the wonderfully in tune - not to mention incredibly inept - group of characters that we’re forced to follow on this blood stained romp. Very few horror films take the time to introduce a bunch of characters so engrossing; SARS Wars has them in spades.
They really are an entertaining bunch of misfits and the sparky dialogue is both rewarding and side splitting. The effects are a mixed bag, of course, but it’s not as if the cast, characters and filmmakers aren’t aware of this; they ensure that the viewer is fully aware of the mess they have gotten themselves into. It’s all very self aware but the absurdity of the situation never allows it to become smug. SARS Wars is unadulterated fun from the outset, hitting pretty much every mark and ticking pretty much every box. As absurd as it sounds, this is probably the most fun I’ve had all year.
What I really like about this movie is the fact that it always seems to be one step ahead. There’s a lot of thought and creativity gone into this production and the force is present in each and every frame. Some of the gags are juvenile, which I don’t usually have a problem with, but in this movie they do feel a little out of place; it's smarter than that. But to be honest they are few and far between, the laughs here are mostly inventive (there’s that word again) and there's enough gore to keep the most ardent horror fan happy.
So there you have it, SARS Wars is one of the funniest, freshest movies we've seen. If you like zombie carnage, mutant babies, Thai school girls, flashy laser swords, knowing humour, badly rendered CGI snakes that sound like cats (don’t ask) and fat guys with guns, this could be the best film ever made. If you like your horror gory and your comedy smart then SARS Wars is a film you can’t ignore. However, if you like your movies to arrive without the fanfare of fun, without the knowing humour, without the sexual tension, without the exploding limbs and without the all encompassing puss, then maybe you should have stopped reading by now.
Self aware, hugely inventive and very (make that very, very) funny, SARS Wars is the most entertaining of unlikely heroes to emerge in a long while. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… AW