Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
By: Julian on May 29, 2009  | 
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 5.1, Japanese DD 2.0, English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 105 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Starring: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny, Shun Sugata, Keisuke Horibe
Screenplay: Kengo Kaji, Sayako Nakoshi, Yoshihiro Nishimura
Country: Japan
External Links
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Yeah, so I confess – the only reason I was drawn to Tokyo Gore Police was because its title was Tokyo Gore Police. But I did know a bit about this flick before diving in blind; namely some delightful accusations that it was the most ball-tearing Eastern gore flick since Riki-Oh, and that it starred Audition's über-bitch Eihi Shiina battling it out with a katana against mutants. The deal, as they say, was sealed.

Tokyo Gore Police posits a futuristic Tokyo where the mean streets are commandeered by the "Engineers". The Engineers are the hideously mutated products of macabre human experiments in which people are infected by a strain of DNA synthesised from that of various serial killers, turning them into homicidal maniacs. The Engineers are also able to turn any injury they sustain into a lethal weapon, with some genuinely repulsive results. The only thing that stops the Engineers entirely is the severing of the offending strand of DNA, a solid key-shaped growth that may be removed upon autopsy. Little is known about the Engineers and the only obstacle to their objective of unrelentingly terrorising the streets of Tokyo is the local police force, a recently privatised behemoth that is absolutely ruthless in its approach to the mutants.

The stellar member of Tokyo's boys and girls in blue is Ruka (Shiina), a pretty young thing who's pretty handy with a samurai sword. Ruka is haunted by the murder of her father, a Tokyo cop who was brutally gunned down in the streets, and she is set on finding his assassin in amongst the various arse-kickery that comes with cleaning the streets of mutants that would make the X-Men wince. Her investigations lead her to the "Key Man", who is deeply involved with both her father's murder and the Engineers.

The director of Tokyo Gore Police is Yoshihiro Nishimura, who gained tremendous cult acclaim with his special effects work on the 2008 film The Machine Girl. The roots of Tokyo Gore Police began with Media Blasters, the company that co-prodcued The Machine Girl, when they suggested Nishimura helm his own feature. Nishimura opted to remake one of his short films, the 1995 flick Anatomia Extinction. Tak Sakaguchi, best known in cult circles for his starring role in Ryuhei Kitamura's Versus, was brought on as fight choreographer and Nishimura assembled a cult star cast, including Shiina.

If you're expecting anything remotely coherent, Tokyo Gore Police isn't the movie for you; perhaps it's best thought of as the hell-spawn of Cronenberg and Miike, with a dollop of Lynch. Nishimura has adopted for a "low on brains, high on brawn" approach, and by God is it high on brawn – when the claret is spilled it rivals Braindead for sheer viscera and the comparisons to Riki-Oh are more than valid. Unfortunately, the absolutely threadbare plot is frequently lost in the pink mist (or rather deep-red showers; it's the House of Blue Leaves in colour, for 105 minutes) and a major fault is that it's just too long. About twenty minutes could have easily been shorn off the running time to make Tokyo Gore Police a very lean, mean little exercise in bloodshed. Nishimura errs on the side of self-indulgence and just before the hyper-frenetic conclusion finally kicks in it's beginning to get a little tiresome.

Something should be said here about the social commentary that is so central to Tokyo Gore Police and makes up a lot of its charm. Nishimura has peppered fake advertisements throughout the film, some boasting the sheer sadistic prowess of the police in their Darth Vader get-ups, others advertising razors that are easier to self-mutilate with. While the parallels to Starship Troopers are clear, Nishimura does a really good job with them for the most part – they're incredibly blackly funny and do the whole satirical bit quite well. The only input Nishimura had in these segments was supervision and make-up effects. Instead, they were directed by Noboru "The Machine Girl" Iguchi and Yûdai Yamaguchi, director of the 2003 cult hit Battlefield Baseball. In one interview, Nishimura said his main reasoning behind including the advertisements was to lighten the tone of the picture and his desire to make some sort of social comment drawing upon his legal college education.

Nishimura's own special effects mob Nishimura Motion Picture Model Makers Group is responsible for the special effects and for the most part they're done really well. Some of these creatures are disgusting, nightmarish things and that's a real testament to Nishimura's company's creativity – particular kudos goes towards the crocodile mermaid and, to paraphrase the irate cop from The Doors, "the guy with the brain".

In amongst all of the madness, the incoherence, the blood and satire, Tokyo Gore Police is a pretty good film. Even though it outstays its welcome at 105 minutes, it's a quirky Japanese riff on Cronenbergian body horror and the Eastern blood movie that's well worth your time.
Picture is presented in 1:85:1, with 16:9 enhancement. Although obviously shot on video, the image is very clear. No complaints here.
A fair smorgasbord of audio tracks are available depending on your technological capabilities or language preference – two Japanese Dolby tracks in 2.0 and 5.1 and two English Dolby tracks in 2.0 and 5.1. I'm dead-set against the inferior dubbed tracks so the Japanese 5.1 was the way to go for me and it sounded terrific. English subtitles are also provided.
Extra Features
This disc is light on extras – a theatrical trailer, extended promo trailer and stills gallery have been provided. However, the US Media Blasters disc is lighter still, including only a theatrical trailer. The local release is the way to go at the moment.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
A wildly entertaining film, even if it's just for the sheer spectacle of the thing. It gets a bit tired towards the middle and when exploring some very impossible connections between the Key Man and Ruka, but hey – it's grisly, ultra-violent Japanese mayhem at its delirious high point. Oh, did I mention there were mutants?

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