In the near future, the Tokyo Police Corporation is locked in bloody war with the “engineers”, genetically modified super-criminals who bio-fuse their open wounds with weapons of mass-destruction. Ruka (Audition’s Eihi Shiina) is the daughter of the police chief’s murdered right hand man, she also happens to be the top police corporation engineer hunter. Along the way she cuts through psychotic engineers with cold-blooded efficiency and maybe, just maybe, discovers the truth about her father’s murder.
Tokyo Gore Police oozes carnage from every pore. So much so, it loses the ability to shock early on. Barely a minute goes by without some kind of head explosion, decapitation, dismemberment or severed limb disrupting proceedings. Probably a good thing, because story wise, Tokyo Gore Police really doesn’t have an awful lot to say. The production values are quite low, giving the film a made for TV vibe. Fortunately, the same can’t be said for the special effects, which are stunning throughout.
Eihi Shiina was a disappointment in the lead role as well. I thought she was extraordinary in Takashi Miike’s Audition but her character here is muted and dull. Asami Yamazaki was a delirious creation, overflowing with pent up menace and rage. I would have liked to see a little more emotion, maybe a dry sense of humour in keeping with the tone of the movie, but for me she was the most unmemorable part of the film.
The direction was found wanting too. The Machine Girl felt like a stylish production because Noboru Iguchi knew how to make the most of a limited budget. Yoshihiro Nishimura’s vision feels flat by comparison. The action choreography, courtesy of Isao Karasawa, isn’t nearly as impressive either. Creative camera work would have helped but it wasn’t to be.
So far, so negative then. Fortunately, Tokyo Gore Police has more than one trick up its genetically modified sleeve. In a time of copious CGI it’s easy to forget just how effective traditional special effects methods can be. That’s not to say Tokyo Gore Police abandons modern methods entirely, but the most impressive creations here aren’t born on the computer screen. If you’ve seen the trailers you’ll know what I mean. Tokyo Gore Police is home to some of the most perverse, twisted and immensely enjoyable cinematic creations in horror.
The best scene of the movie takes place inside a fetish club and it’s here that we meet my favourite characters. A human snail girl is appealing, and what can best be described as a Japanese mermaid with added bite makes the girl from Teeth look relatively tame. She’s absolutely fantastic and deserves her own movie in my book; this is the kind of thing I tuned into Japanese cinema for in the first place. I loved the pitch black humour too, featured in the TV adverts and newsreel footage that accompany the main plot. Wrist cutters anyone?
Tokyo Gore Police is an experience like no other (unless you count the rest of the Sushi Typhoon cannon) and despite its many faults, remains a very enjoyable night in. There is too much blood, too much gore and too much invention to dismiss it out right, and even though Yoshihiro Nishimura misses the mark on numerous occasions, he has created a viewing experience that takes some forgetting.
The flaws of the finished film are obvious for all to see but Tokyo Gore Police is a perverse journey to cinematic hell and back, with pitch black humour and added bite. AW