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Tokyo Gore Police
cast: Eihi Shiina, Yukihide Benny, Itsuji Itao, and Ikuko Sawada

director: Yoshihiro Nishimura

108 minutes (18) 2008
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
4-Digital Asia DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Jim Steel
Sometimes it's just enough to see a film that seems to have been made for the filmmakers' pleasure. Toyko Gore Police (aka: Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu) has such a gratuitous love of old-school latex and blood effects that it is truly a pleasure to watch for much of the time, preferably with a few beers inside to dull the inner critic, and it is the sheer enthusiasm of the filmmakers that pulls you along. However, no one should be in danger of confusing Tokyo Gore Police with Tokyo Story, no matter how dark the night.

The plot is simple but silly, and it appears to have been knocked together to service the special effects. Ruka (Eihi Shiina) is a police officer with the privatised Tokyo police force and she is an expert with a samurai sword. This is a particularly useful skill in this near-future city, as serial killers, known as engineers, are a real problem. They have been infected by genetically engineered tumours and now have the ability to mutate into hideous biomechanical monstrosities. If you can imagine Cronenberg taking on RoboCop, then you'll have a pretty good handle on this film. It even has faux commercials, although here they serve no purpose other than to provide more of the black humour that pervades this film.

Anyway, Ruka is a cop, just like her father (except he didn't wear stockings and miniskirts). She saw her father get his head blown off and this has left her with a penchant for self-harming. However, a friendly bar owner took Ruka under her wing (which provides a Sapphic frisson), and she was also simultaneously raised in the police station. This curious dichotomy suggests that a couple of script drafts were mixed together during production. The head of the police is a laughing brute (Yukihide Benny) who has a female paraplegic gimp as a pet (one of the more effective scenes occurs towards the climax, when the gimp has sword blades attached to her as limbs for a fight). The police chief is dedicated to wiping out the engineers, and martial law is gradually being enforced throughout the city. Meanwhile, a master engineer has made an appearance and is slaughtering his way through the supporting characters. He is responsible for making more engineers as he mutilates people and inserts key-shaped tumours into their flesh.

The plot jumps through hoops to get to the set pieces: the man with the machinegun penis; the crocodile girl; chainsaw-arm, the chair hooker, and so on. Visually, some are more successful than others, and there are times when the splatter could have done with a little trimming by the editor to prevent it from going on too long: splatter is not supposed to become boring. The gore is not too offensive (a relative term, of course) and although blood washes the lens for much of the time, that blood seems to be either pink or orange. There are a few racist jibes about the Chinese that should also have ended up on the cutting-room floor but, in the main, the film wears its themes lightly.

There is a second disc (unseen) which contains the following extras: a making-of documentary, an interview with Yoshihiro Nishimura, an interview with Eihi Shiina, a documentary of the Japanese premiere, the TV adverts from the film, the original Japanese trailer, the UK trailer; and a promo reel.

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