You gotta love that feeling, when your expectations for a Film are well and truly blown out of the water; when something with such a ridiculous title can actually turn out to be a legitimately awesome piece of gore-soaked cinema. This is the case with Tokyo Gore Police. Upon first hearing the title for the Film, way back in the latter part of 2007, I remember thinking, it must be shit. I mean, Tokyo Gore Police? Can a movie like that even have a plot? The answer is yes, it definitely can; a genuinely interesting one, at that.
Set in a futuristic Tokyo, the film tells the story of Ruka (Audition's Eihi Shiina), a police officer striving to rid the city of a new breed of criminal, the Engineers. This new breed is especially dangerous, as they carry the ability to mutate and birth heavy weapons from open or recent wounds. While trying to destroy these Engineers, Ruka encounters an enemy she believes may hold the key to her Father's murder, many years ago. So begins Ruka's epically violent quest for revenge against the Engineers and her Father's killer.
Now, being what it is; a balls-out, blood red Action/Horror film, Tokyo Gore Police actually contains some strong performances from its leads. Eihi Shiina's Ruka is a conflicted character. She's become a Police offer to follow in her late Father's footsteps, who was a righteous and strong willed Officer of the law. After witnessing his demise as a child, it's clear Ruka is trying to live up to his memory. Shiina plays Ruka with a cold, stoic streak and it works well with the over all tone of the movie. It also helps cement her character as a truly awesome 21st Century Heroine. Itsuji Itao also turns in a great performance as the villainous Keyman. With a sleazy glare and his typical poker-straight black hair, the Keyman is a wonderful addition to Asian Cinema's most foul. In one particularly creepy scene, while stalking the Subways of Tokyo at night, Ruka meets the Keyman for the first time and witnesses phase-one in his horrific transformation into an Engineer. The scene works well as a 'calm before the storm' scenario, as it really gives the audience a taste of what evil Ruka is up against.
I've also got to mention the fantastic work of the Costume and Effects crew. Tokyo Gore Police contains some of the most out there violence I've ever seen on film. Ever seen a mutant shot in the Vagina with an Uzi? Or how about someone sprayed with Nipple acid? No? I hadn't either. The work put into the Visual Effects on this movie really shines through, as each set piece is more disgusting than the last. Time and time again I found myself in awe of how much blood and chunks of flesh were being vicariously strewn across the screen. You really have never seen anything like this before. The Engineers themselves are also quite vomit inducing; from the Keyman's bulging eyes to the movie's first Engineer; an oozing, Chainsaw-armed maniac.
As for the costumes? Ruka's fellow Officer's uniforms are really superb. They're clad in an almost modern style Samurai armor, which gives them a real menacing quality, especially later in the movie. During several Starship Troopers-esque faux advertisement scenes, the Samurai Officers are shown shooting, eviscerating and chopping through criminals. While watching these particular scenes I found myself giggling at how cool it all looked. A group of Shogun style warriors spraying bullets around the city of Tokyo. Can it get any better?
For me one of the movie's greatest touches was a plot twist that is unraveled to us about two thirds of the way through. It involves the creation of the Engineers and reveals a lot about both Ruka and the mysterious Keyman. Kudos to scribe Kengo Kaji for coming up with this wicked little touch. It's one of the main things that really stuck with me hours after watching the film.
Overall, I'd have to say that Tokyo Gore Police is a serious contender for the most generally fucked up movie my eyes have ever witnessed. And I have to admit I enjoyed every splatter-filled second of it! Tokyo Gore Police is for fans of the sick and perverse especially!
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