Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

The net worth of a blood bank spilled

I can probably name all of the movies that I've put on over the years that have turned someone else's stomach or were just too much to handle. One of the more recent ones would be the action/horror/science fiction/satire "Tokyo Gore Police." Recommended to me by another like minded horror enthusiast and then watched with another friend and a buddy and his girlfriend. Needless to say the buddy and his girlfriend are used to the little cubicles of life and their senses couldn't handle the overload of mayhem and carnage. They left after ignored complaints to turn it off and returned some time later to tell me that they don't trust my taste in movies. My DVD shelf shares spots with this and the likes of "City of God" and "Dances with Wolves," but I also like to open my eyes wide to what else is out there to stretch and contort this absurd thing called life in new ways thought unimaginable.

If you're looking for something with moderation, a firm foothold in reality or an engrossing story you won't find it here. This film isn't for everybody as it's incredibly over-the-top, over-the-top--notice the repetition--to even the somewhat depraved genre film with a few things in the extreme. It's unlike anything I've ever seen in a live person film apart from what filmmakers can get away with more in Japanese animes. If you've caught films with ultra violence and perversion from the '80s such as "Urotsukidoji," "Violence Jack" or "Wicked City," than "TGP" feels like a bridge between, except this time with real people. I didn't think many movies could compete with Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive/Braindead" for bloodshed. Even Jackson I'm sure didn't think so when he left those days behind, but then here we are with one of the bloodiest films of the last decade.

Some other films such as "Shogun Assassin" had amputation scenes with a single hose implanted underneath, only to spray spurts of blood to mimic a heartbeat or just explode out in a continuous stream like you've got your thumb on a garden hose. Now, this movie somehow takes that even further to where every time flesh is cut open several hoses spray out blood, no matter where main arteries lay, and then faster and in larger quantities than the human body probably contains. One way of turning that illogical outlook into a new perspective, is that blood is fearful of being trapped in its own body and wants to live on the outside quicker than it can come out to see the world in wonderful streams and bursts. Flesh is so soft and cuttable here, it's as if it was made to be ripped open than stay intact. As if we were meant to be turned inside out rather than inside in. This finds some of the most inventive ways that us humans can be ripped apart and then even built back together again by people called "engineers." It's almost poetic in a morbid way as it can make you think of the vast possibilities of how to dismantle and reconstruct the human body.

This is a somewhat futuristic version of Tokyo where the police are privatized. It's not going to look like, say, "Blade Runner" as they still drive around cars and use other modern devices. Though some of the architecture doesn't look as well-kept and maintained as the cleanly, present day Tokyo. Outlaws called engineers modify their bodies so that when they get injured their wounds reshape into weapons. The only way to kill one is to severe a tiny key shaped tumor in the body. A samurai sword carrying woman named Ruka is an engineer hunter that's called in when the Tokyo Police Corporation have one they can't handle. Ruka isn't sure where she places herself in this odd world. She cuts her arms and rides around in the city with very few words--numb to the violence she commits as soon as her pager goes off alerting her of another engineer. Her mother was a cutter, and her father died as a police officer during a demonstration, though the Chief raised her like a daughter. A serial killer engineer is dismembering women, and then draining their body of blood similar to "Exorcist III" by leaving little jars at the scene and a scar on the skin with the engineer tumor stamp. The killer turns an officer likewise into an engineer and the Chief amps up the authority of the the Police Corporation--who are already donning outfits like samurai warriors instead of peace keepers--to the point of taking out anyone that looks remotely suspicious. Ruka soon has a conversation with the mysterious serial killer who gives some revelations about his actions that tie into her father.

The story takes awhile before it kicks into a narrative flow, as in the meantime it gets caught up in its own creative devices, as well as concentrates on making the futuristic world as atmospheric as they can. There are a lot of strange use of colors with neon lights of the city, along with some purposefully misaligned and miscued camera angles to show ruination and imperfection. Some of the gore and creature effects aren't perfect with some makeshift contraptions, but that's also part of what I think gives this film such a surreal vibe. Not every second is filled with a gore scene but when it gets down it takes a bath with it in an area the size of a lake. It gets so wild that blood doesn't just spray at the camera but drench the lens to the point of having a slimy red tint oozing down. Everything is in such excess from its comic book style action to its sadistic sense of humor, such as certain appendages turning into cruel weapons. There are even some hilarious infomercials/commercials that play on Japanese society in between that are just straight hilarious, such as a brand of wrist cutters promoted by cutesy Japanese girls like they're selling Hello Kitty memorabilia instead.

Sometimes this feels like a collage of highly inventive ideas to take you to a different world and time than being structured with a story that jumps out at you. This is more an exercise in stimulating untapped sensations with the absurd, as the underlying plot about police privatization isn't anything new or made to be message worthy, and just seems an excuse to show perversions of violence and sex taken to the extreme. It's the future and Japanese have gotten so advanced beyond their slimmer cell phones that no one here manages to have sex normally. Other movies include sex and violence that fit in context to the story. "TGP," on the other hand, has brutality and perversion first and then a story or certain scenarios at times that seem only there to perpetuate the mentioned. The message is only going to be taken as far as: "Hey, they should have made the police even more vile!" Though they have enough of their own mechanics and devices to keep a viewer busy and get you locked into their world as exaggerated as that may be. Almost nothing's based in reality here and the mechanics don't make sense outside of the movie, but the filmmakers manage to do it so well that you forget about your surroundings, which is just as good enough to let go to the highly diverting and gruesomely amusing experience.

Rating: 8/10

Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura (special makeup effects on The Machine Girl)
Starring: Eihi Shiina, Yukihide Benny, Itsuji Itao, Ikuko Sawada
Link: IMDB

No comments:

Post a Comment