Bio Zombie (1988)
By: Devon B. on October 1, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Mei Ah (Hong Kong). All Regions, NTSC. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). Cantonese DD 2.0, Mandarin DD 2.0 Traditional Chinse, Simplified Chinese, English Subtitles. 95 minutes
The Movie
Director: Wilson Yip
Starring: Jordan Chan, Sam Lee, Yiu-Cheung Lai, Emotion Cheung
Screenplay: Wilson Yip, Matt Chow, Siu Man Sing
Music: Peter Kam Country: Hong Kong
AKA: Sang Dut Sau Shut
I purchased Bio Zombie a few years ago, and was expecting a zombie gore fest. Not quite. I quickly deduced from the opening credits something was amiss. The credits roll in a "theatre" and some patrons come in, talking. Any movie that starts with a character saying "I want to stool now," isn't going to be too serious. As can be deduced from that translation, the subs get pretty odd on this one.

I heard Bio Zombie was based on Resident Evil, and while there are gamer references, I think they are referring to House of the Dead. Two trouble-loving guys, Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee, run a VCD shop in a mall. They are interested in two girls, Jelly and Rolls. The guys are trying to court the jelly rolls, but unbeknownst to them, some nearby naughty men in business suits have bought a biochemical weapon from the Iraqis. The weapon is disguised as a soft drink, and it turns people into zombies. Chaos breaks out at the weapons sale when the display zombie breaks free, and one of the naughty men ends up run over by our valiant heroes when they fail to brake. He tries to warn them by saying "Soft drink," but they think he's thirsty. You can probably guess the results of that misunderstanding.

Bio Zombie is a goofy movie brimming with comedy. Comparing it to a Chinese Dawn of the Dead is unavoidable, but Bio Zombie lacks the social commentary and depth of Romero's film. It's just a funny, enjoyable little zombie flick. I particularly like the cell phone call for help gag; an argument about going and staying along; the "If you go, then I go" lines; and some good sentimental interruptus. The film is relatively bloodless, but there are a few bites taken out of people, a nice death by spigot, and a flood of blood from under a car. There's not much gore but anyone who doesn't like to see knives scrape teeth will want to avoid the scene where keys end up in a zombie's mouth.

The movie features some other take offs on the zombie traditions by including tidbits like a sad zombie who longs for Jelly (or Rolls…one of the dumb named girls, anyway), and an improved version on the zombie impersonating scam found in Redneck Zombies (and then done again later in Shaun of the Dead). Along with the quirkier elements of Bio Zombie are some nice directorial touches, with director Wilson Yip making good use of camera angles. The only trick Yip used that I didn't like was some disjointed slow mo which ended up looking like the original Toxic Avenger transformation. The best of Yip's images is a brilliant faux split screen shot.

Watch for the magic bullet that hits a zombie before it's been fired.
The Mei Ah DVD presents the film at approximately 1.85:1. The print has a few specks, but looks good for a Mei Ah release at the time. It's a bit murky in darker scenes, but is entirely watchable.
The audio is available in Cantonese or Mandarin 2.0 tracks, with optional English subtitles. The subs contain no dividers when more than one person speaks at a time. The sound is all mixed at appropriate levels, and the Cantonese track is, as usual, far superior to the Mandarin dub.
Extra Features
The DVD also comes with the trailer, trailers for Nude Fear and Rumble Ages, and an alternate ending. The alternate is much more routine than the great downer the film actually has.
The Verdict
Bio Zombie may not be a gore soaked Resident Evil knock off, but it's still got plenty of merit. There is also a Shriek Show release of this film which I assume is better quality, but still not 16x9 enhanced. The movie is great, but the disc isn't, so I'm hoping this title gets a more deluxe presentation soon. And what can you expect from a DVD that costs about $5AUD? Also be warned that this is one of the Mei Ah releases prone to freezing up on some players.
Movie Score
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