Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
Something is happening in Tokyo, as the dead are seemingly brought to life to feed on the living. Meanwhile, a couple of locals discover the walking corpses and must figure out a way to survive and still have time for Jujitsu lessons.
Is it good movie?
As a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead, I was anticipating what looked to be the Japanese equivalent of that wonderfully witty film by Edgar Wright. And on some levels, I can see the similarities with Tokyo Zombie. In fact, I loved the first half as it presented two clueless gentlemen who accidentally kill their boss and have to bury him at Black Fuji, a mountain of waste where everyone’s garbage is dumped. Both of these guys, Tadanobu Asano and Sho Aikawa have so much chemistry, that even when their dialogue seems to last forever, they are both really fun to watch. But once the characters move on into the second half of the film, I found myself tuning out more often than not.
Zombies seem to be the latest and greatest when it comes to spoofing horror. And what Tokyo Zombie did right is offer up two top-notch lead actors to play the main characters. While Mitsuo (Aikawa) is trying to instill the power of Jujitsu to Fujio (Sho Aikawa), the two develop into a very colorful friendship. Watching as they figure out that zombies are taking over is a lot of fun, even when the long drawn out, heavy dialogue scenes seem to last forever. I would have almost watched any story involving Aikawa an Asano, whether they are dealing with zombies or anything else for that matter. So why the gear shift half-way through? Yeah, I know it is based on a Manga comic and that is probably what happens in the story, but it loses something at that point. After the two main characters are separated and Fujio ends up in a unhappy family situation, while being used by the rich to battle zombies for an audience, the charm was lost.
The most bizarre element is that the film started to resemble George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead a little after the half way mark. But the social relevance didn’t seem to be purposeful or for that matter, interesting. Once you separate the two elements that worked, it became a routine, and unsatisfying zombie flick. It seems to kind of disappear into an entirely something dull and a little bizarre. From a bunch of middle aged women cheering for the zombie to kill some poor sap in a battle to the death, or the guy in charge developing a sexual attraction to Fujio… it really just kind of drifted off into a completely different direction. And one of the main problems with it as the film gets larger in scope is that the very low budget becomes too obvious. While the budget didn‘t destroy the last half, it wasn’t an issue at all when the film focused on the charismatic lead performances. I think I would've just preferred some kind of bizarre road movie as opposed to what Tokyo Zombie turned out to be.
Video / Audio
Video: This is a good Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, nothing special, but it looks good enough.
Audio: The Dolby Surround 5.1 is the same… good enough.
There are a ton of extras here, including a very interview heavy Making of the Dead. I enjoyed hearing many of the stories in regards to bringing the comic to life, and Jujitsu and such, but I honestly felt that this was much too long. I liked the fact that we got to see a little Jujitsu in action, and I liked seeing some of the behind the scenes sandwiched between interview clips, but I would’ve been fine with a bit less of the talking heads.
Next up we have interviews, interviews and interviews including Actor Interview #1 with Tadanobu Asano and Show Aikawa. Following is Cast and Crew Q&A Session with an Actor In-Store Appearance and finally, Actor Interviews #2. Both Aikawa and Asano and very likable and seem to be very comfortable doing this kind of thing. They do most of the talking when it comes to a full cast interview session, which makes sense because the two, especially Asano, carries most of the film. And I gotta say, the dude has a kick arse wig in the film but his hair is even cooler in the interviews. Of course, I’m kind of partial to long hair. I actually preferred these interviews as opposed to the documentary included on this disc. It is funnier and more entertaining. I really had a good time listening to these fine folks. Although even this feels a bit like overkill.
Next up we have Teasers and Trailers which includes three teasers and two trailers. Wow, the teasers are truly teasers. They kind of offer a WTF inspired reaction… but sort of in a good way.
Finally, we have Trailers for “Karas: The Revelation”, “Hellboy: Sword of Storms”, “Brutal Massacre”, “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” and “Dead Space: Downfall”
I wanted to love Tokyo Zombie, and in the beginning I thought I would. The performances from Tadanobu Asano and Sho Aikawa are truly funny and endearing. I would love to see these two actors work together again. And sadly, the strength of this film suffers once the two separate and an entirely different story is told. While it did pick up in the end, this is merely a great introduction to a couple of Jujitsu loving guys looking to fight off zombies in Tokyo. It might be worth a rent, but it is certainly nowhere near the laugh out loud funny of Shaun of the Dead.