Monday, October 19, 2009
Tokyo Gore Police
When you compare cultures, you find a lot of small differences. For example, in the U.S., it is considered a sign of affection to pat a child on the head, while it is considered a significant insult in much of Asia. In the Japanese film Tokyo Gore Police, there are no small differences. Instead, there are huge, honking differences, so over-the-top I didn’t understand half the movie. I’ve seen a lot of foreign films, but this one is truly foreign.
In Japan in the near future, the police have been privatized, and the greatest threat to public safety is the Engineers, criminals who have been genetically altered by means of a key-shaped tumor so that whenever they are wounded, a weapon grows from the site of the injury, such as a chainsaw, a crocodile head, and so on. The Engineers also can’t be killed unless the key-tumor is destroyed. This is a menace beyond the capabilities of the ordinary police, so they turn to what the Japanese always turn to in times of crisis: A samurai sword-wielding girl in a mini-skirt.
Ruka (Eihi Shiina, Audition) is a cop with the title Engineer-Hunter. When an Engineer goes on a murderous rampage and kills the automatic weapon carrying police squad sent after him, she steps in and dices the mutant into little pieces. She is on a quest to find the key-master, the guy behind the whole thing, and also to solve the murder of her cop father years before. Along the way, we meet a girl with a crocodile in place of her vagina, a living chair made from a human being that urinates on a crowd on command, a girl with a penis for a nose, and a guy with a penis gun that fires tumors. And enough spurting blood that the characters (literally) carry umbrellas to keep from getting drenched.
The film is presented in a satirical Starship Troopers way, with mock commercials for the privatized police force and customized wrist cutters for teenage girls. There is occasionally a narrator for the action, in the person of a Betty Boop-ish police dispatcher.
The movie is quite beautifully photographed and the body horror depicted appropriately revolting. It doesn’t have the most coherent of plots, however, but that is a general failing of the genre. I guess I’d say if the description of the movie doesn’t dissuade you from watching it, it would probably work pretty well for you.