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Tokyo Zombie
Tokyo Zombie
Actors: Tadanobu Asano, Shô Aikawa
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2009     1hr 44min

Tadanobu Asano and Sho Ikawa star as full time slackers and wannabe ju-jitsu champions who bring the body of their murdered boxx to Tokyo's towering toxic waste dump known as "Black Fuji". But when an army of the undead r...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tadanobu Asano, Shô Aikawa
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/07/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese

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Movie Reviews

One of the wackiest zombie comedy adventures of all time
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A lot of fans seem quite excited over the long-awaited North American release of Tokyo Zombie on DVD, and I can't say I blame them. I've seen some seriously wacky Japanese films in my day (and you don't really know what wacky is until you've seen the Japanese variety), but this over-the-top zombie comedy thoroughly revels in its zaniness. I have to say that some parts of the film didn't really click with me, but Tokyo Zombie's originality and sheer chutzpah go a long way toward minimizing whatever complaints I might have - and I'm sure many a fan will enjoy Tokyo Zombie more than I did, especially those familiar with the original manga by Yusaku Hanakuma (illustrated in the "so bad it's good" heta-uma style). Heck, just thinking back on it makes me realize I like this film even more than I thought I did as I was watching it. It does have a little bit of everything - zombies, black comedy, social commentary, class warfare, gore, sex (including a zombie BJ, which really isn't the way you want to go out), etc. - and it features cult film stars Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer (Unrated Edition)) and Sho Aikawa (Dead or Alive (Unrated Director's Cut)) as the best buddies at the center of the weirdest zombie apocalypse I've encountered in quite some time. I might also mention that the film is directed by Sakicho Sato, the man who wrote the script for Ichi the Killer.

Fujio (Tadanobu Asano) and Mitsuo (Sho Aikawa) - or, for the sake of convenience, Afro and Baldy - are two blue collar workers at a fire extinguisher plant who spend most of their time practicing jiujitsu (which involves far too much rolling around on the ground together, if you ask me). Their mean boss doesn't appreciate their dreams of becoming fighters, which leads to his accidental death. The two friends decide to bury him on Mount Fuji, a huge trash dump that has grown up in the middle of Tokyo (and a popular place for disposing of future mothers-in-law and other folks you want to get rid of). Unfortunately, the place is so full of dead bodies and dangerous contaminants that some sort of chemical reaction begins reanimating the dead in the form of shambling zombies. So the rest of the film must be your basic survivors trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, right? Au contraire, my friend.

The two friends are separated before they can follow through with their "real men go to Russia" plan, at which point the story leaps five years into the future. Tokyo is now a three-class society, as the rich and elite who managed to survive the zombie apocalypse have enslaved their fellow survivors and like to pit the strongest of them against zombie opponents for their own amusement. Fujio has become one of the human champions, even though his commitment to jiujitsu makes him a "boring" fighter that the crowds love to hate (although the fight promoter is overly fond of him). Don't let the film's abrupt transition mid-way through get you down, though, as the zany comedy continues in full force all the way through the film's sequel-begging conclusion. I hesitate to say any more than that about the plot.

I don't think there's much middle ground to be had here, as most viewers will either love or hate this film. Many Western viewers will undoubtedly watch this film expecting to see a typical zombie bloodbath, and some will be disappointed because that isn't what this movie is about. Yes, there's a limited amount of gore, but it's far from realistic. Those who can't adapt to what they are seeing and embrace the story as an exceedingly weird and far-reaching comedy may feel cheated. That being the case, I certainly wouldn't recommend this film to anyone unfamiliar with Asian cinema. The more familiar you are with Asian - especially Japanese - horror in all of its amazing and oftentimes brilliantly original guises, the easier it will be for you to recognize and embrace the dark, wacky genius of Tokyo Zombie."
Zombies are praying for death after watching this movie
Mackshere | hampered by what's acceptable | 02/28/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Trading Babe Ruth. Driving drunk. Reality television. Sex with interns. Japanese zombie films. Some things are just bad ideas.

For decades Japanese filmmakers have excelled in making landmark samuraii films, superbly creepy supernatural films, or highly entertaining and erotic pink films. Last year Asian filmakers even ventured into the vampire realm (THIRST) and nailed it like a stake through the heart. And here with TOKYO ZOMBIE, they tried to breathe new life into the undead genre. The only thing they succeeded in doing is being intentionally idiotic.

Some might refer to this movie as a quirky gem. Others might say it's so bad, it's good. I can appreciate the imaginative efforts, but there's no other way around it--this is just plain dumb.

It shambles along from the beginning in conventional zombie fashion--the undead causing mass hysteria in some Japanese city (I can't remember which one). We get to witness a couple of rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' buddies struggle for survial. The two sorta meet an annoying, foul-mouthed chick and decide to kidnap her. Soon after catastrophe strikes.

This leads to a major plot twist, which inevitably shifts the overall tone. It goes from human survival mode to an unorthodox bourgegois clymphamatic social equalitarium rebuttal of psychological transferrance with a sole intent of entertaining the masses in a predominantly preordained aristocratic influx of societal reformation. Basically what I mean is, it gets stupid trying to act smart.

Lots of social commentary imbedded here in obvious fashion. That's all well and good I suppose, except the film had too many other problems. For one, the dialogue was atrocious...

"Oh shutup! You sooo retarded!"

Everybody got on my nerves. I was begging for Long Duck to make an appearance and say something clever like "No more hanky my wanky...the Donger need food!". No such luck. The acting was intentionally over-the-top, and makes for a tiresome flick.

This all would be easily forgiven if this movie had some freakin' action! Please, some blood! Gore! Nudity! Some hint of apocalyptic foreboding doom! Anything! Bad makeup and cheap effects are all the more noticeable when you don't spray the screen with some red stuff. Sheesh!

I don't know, maybe they were going for a silly PG-rated comedy with loads of social commentary that's disguised as a zombie film. Was this a cure for insomnia, perhaps? Or maybe this was aimed at comic book nerds with absolutely no life. I'm not sure. Either way, you will definitely appreciate life a little more once this movie is over.

Karate Zombies!
John Lindsey | Socorro, New Mexico USA. | 07/25/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)


In Tokyo on a large rubbish pile, there are some hazardous radioactive waste that have been bringing the dead back to turn including turning people into flesh-eating creatures. Karate artist Fujio (Tadanobu Asano) and mentor Misuo (Show Aikawa) are two slackers who studied Jujitsu that is until zombies invade their turf and must find a way out. Five years later after Misuo supposedly died, Fujio gets a wife and kid as he's living in a special colony in the city away from the zombies out there as he's a fighting champion who fights zombies for people's entertainment.

Enjoyable and sometimes funny Japanese horror-comedy from the writers and stars of the cult classics "Gozu" and "Ichi The Killer". It's not too gory even though there are good gore effects in this movie and the performances by the cast is OK but the movie is like a cartoon brought to life. It's been called Japan's answer to "Shaun of the Dead" but i can't agree on that where "Shaun" was funnier but this had a few laughs, it's still worth watching.

This DVD offers the film in it's Japanese language with English subtitles with English dubbed versions with cool extras like featurettes, trailers and teasers, and interviews."
3 ½ - Stars: The Power of Jiu-Jitsu versus Zombies?!
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 04/09/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Zombies have contributed to film enjoyment almost as much as vampires and werewolves--witches and monsters in the horror genre. Hell, they've even a good run in comedic satirical misadventures in "Shaun of the Dead" and "Fido", even Thailand had a go at it with "Bangkok Zombie Crisis" and Japan`s own "Wild Zero". Heck, I guess it is Japan's turn once again to create another zombie comedic spoof. "TOKYO ZOMBIE" is based on the manga by "U-saku Hanakuma" and has been remade and directed for the screen by cult director Sakichi Sato. Yes, the film is another "ssooo bad, that it is good" entry in the annals of Japanese cinema.

"Black Fuji" is a man-made mound that is located in the outskirts of Tokyo; it is full of junk, trash, poisons, and even dead bodies. (much like "smokey mountain" in the Philippines) In a fire extinguisher plant, Fujio (Tadanobu Asano) and his mentor, Mecchan (Sho Aikawa) practices the moves of jiu-jitsu to entertain themselves and to attain "spiritual fulfillment" and they are unaware of the dangerous occurrences nearby--Tokyo is being overrun by zombies due to the mixing of poisons and human flesh in "Black Fuji". The two are on the run and they run across an ill-mannered young woman called Youko (Erika Okuda). This leads to tragedy, and we fast-forward 5 years in the future.
Because of Tokyo being overrun, the rich have established themselves as the ruling party of the Japan with the poor as their slaves. They use them to generate electricity and to provide them food. The poor has a chance to be accepted in this elite class though, women can become prostitutes and physically capable men can compete in a ring against zombies to provide entertainment for the wealthy. Fujio's jiu-jitsu skills is being put to good use, that is until he has to fight a "super-zombie".

Granted, this movie isn't going to win any awards with its mild violence, dumbed down visual effects and humor that feels a little geared towards those used to Asian humor. The film's first half focuses on Fujio and Macchan's relationship, their petty squabbles, and rude behavior. The film also has a bit of eco-disaster commentary as to how we manage our planet, our wastes and our trash. I thought the manner of which human life is taken fore granted and murder seems pretty routine in this world created by the director says a lot of today's current events. The film has a dark tone in its humor as we see citizens burying folks they've killed (luscious Maria Takagi makes a cameo) and even hints of child abuse were fairly visible to the viewer. Count on the Japanese to blend in a powerful social commentary in a horror-comedy.

The second half of the film is heralded by an animated short that at first gives us the hint of a change of pace, but it was just the vanguard for the film's next act about social status. I guess director Sato thought it best to add certain hints of George Romero's "Land of the Dead" (the high-rise building), "Fight Club" (zombie fights) and even "the Running Man"(hunger for entertainment) in its narrative. The rich takes full advantage of the unfortunate as they use their slaves to produce "grip electricity" (I don't know its logic), and to provide entertainment. Fujio is a man using the means he only knows (his fists) to provide for Yoko (the woman they encountered in the 1st act) and a small child named Fumiyo (Hina Matsuoka). Yoko is a little abusive (but good-looking) and wants Fujio to entertain the pig-like women in the audience so they can have a decent apartment in the high-rise structure of the rich. Fujio just wants to pay tribute to his mentor, Macchan for teaching him the art of Jiu-Jitsu. I suppose a clash between principle and immediate need is being reflected upon by Sato in the sequences.

The chemistry between Asano and Aikawa is truly the film's major selling point--they characters are eccentric and bizarre--complete with an afro hair-do and a bald head that looks like a dick. Their humorous exchanges do provide for good entertainment. Aikawa's character Macchan is the type of person who is easily fooled by his own perceptions. Hey, the film does have some complex sequences of jiu-jitsu and I was pleasantly surprised in the way they were shot. The film's cinematography has that "whatever" feel, director Sato does have a talent for visual flair; from the mild CGI, animated short, and deadpan finesse. But I was a little confused whether it wanted to be comical since it has a strong dark tone, or it wanted to be horrific, the blood and gore is pretty toned down--the shameless prattling just kills its attempts at a horror comedy. (How come they used the word `retard' too much?)

Anyway, such narrow-mindedness forms a little disconnection to its audience. The film does think it is being ironic and in a funny way, it is. It's just that it is too silly to be taken seriously and too serious to be laughed at. I guess it's all part of its B-movie charisma that may be a little lost to me. The story may feel a little goofy but Sato and his leads do provide a good entertaining diversion. I do have to admit that I had a kick watching "Tokyo Zombie" but I have to say that it is NOT the type of film for everybody. A lot of folks just won't `get' the movie and it's not really anybody's fault. Sato and company knew what they wanted to do--play the movie for Japanese film fans and the heck with anyone who doesn't like it. For better or for worst, the film sidesteps almost all expectations.

Recommended with caution, Rent it first! [3 ½ - Stars]