The Plot: Ruka as a young girl saw her father, a police officer, murdered. Did I say murdered? I mean she saw her dad’s head EXPLODE from a shot to his cranium. After the death of her father she moved in with the police chief who then looked after her. In this new apocalyptic setting the police force has been privatized and a new breed of criminal has taken the streets. They are called Engineers, and they are of the biological sort. A killing breed of criminals who when a specific part of their body is injured a new and more dangerous limb grows back as a weapon. Ruka is raised by the chief to be the ultimate Engineer Hunter and has become the single most destructive force in the Tokyo Police Organization. However, things may not be all they seem as Ruka grows closer to the Engineer menace – and she digs up a horrible fact from her past that may just change everything around her.
The Review: Who would expect a film titled “Tokyo Gore Police” would be taking off amongst horror fans in the US? Although I myself am a fan of the more gruesome side of the horror genre, truthfully many horror fans (and I’m speaking of hardcore fans as well who are equally as committed to the genre) usually don’t go ape-bananas over gore flicks. Few seem to break through that exploitation barrier. Most of the time they’re truthfully not even deserving of what little praise they probably get. It takes a pretty forgiving film fan to really get behind these projects, and I’ve learned that after reading the majority of reviews for “Girls Force of Competitive Swimmers” – a film that I found to be incredibly fun but that most found to be far too bizarre and downright stupid. Incredibly accurate descriptions, but those negatives are also part of the charm. Films like these, when the gore takes the front seat it becomes less a work of cinematic storytelling and more of a way for the filmmakers to simply push through doors and through taboos only if to say “look at what we can do!”. That isn’t to say Tokyo Gore Police doesn’t have an involving plot or that it’s simply all gore – but it’s certainly one of its defining characteristics.
The violence most definitely defines the film, but within the first few minutes of watching it – you should find very quickly that the stylish flare of the film also provides ample interest. Taking bits and pieces of science fiction cinema throughout the ages, Tokyo Gore Police manages to craft that along with some extreme gore. Making it an excellent addition to the “deformed flesh” subgenre (or whatever you’d like to call it) made popular by David Cronenberg, and more importantly Shinya Tsukamoto within Japan. Tsukamoto’s influence is definitely there within the film. From the crunching industrial soundtrack that plays throughout and the more than just a little offbeat storyline. However, as much as you can derive the Tsukamoto influence, as much of that could very well be from manga and anime. Much like the works of many modern film geek filmmakers, Tokyo Gore Police is a mishmash of previous ideas and genre staples tied together in the attempts at creating something entirely new and I would say it certainly does so. It’s the only industrial arthouse gore comedy with social commentary that I believe I’ve ever seen.
Yep, that’s right, amidst all of this blood, chaos and general oddities committed to celluloid – there is a social commentary afoot. I don’t personally find myself agreeing with the vision completely, but the film shows a world in which capitalism is left to run amuck and police departments become organizations rather than publicly funded institutions. Generally the film is meant to leave you wondering whether or not our societies might someday go in such a far right direction what might happen. Generally my opinion is whether public or privatized, people are people and we have crooked cops now and we would have them then as well I imagine. Regardless, the film does offer some valid ideas and shows some insight into this strange other world that it creates for itself. Creating an Orwellian dystopian hell hole and throwing in a bit of Robocop-like vision (as well as humorous commercial breaks!), you can’t help but appreciate the attempts at getting “deep” right dead in the center of such an over the top exploitation film. One that carries some of the most spectacular imagery I can currently think of. It pushes the body modification boundaries to limits never before seen and is done so in amazing fashion.
There are amputees with no arms or legs walking around on swords, women with stitches where their breasts once were and of course your run of the mill average penis monster to top things off. The FX, from the same gentleman responsible for The Machine Girl, are all very well done. Occasionally there’s some CGI that takes you out of the element, and some of the latex work isn’t exactly the very best the world has seen but I’m not complaining. The two head explosions that probably look the least realistic are still done in such a way that you can only describe them as “cool!”. Not bad! As always though, this surely isn’t going to be up everyone’s alley. A lot of people I’ve been hearing feedback from have had great things to say about it and I can only join their praise; but yeah, this one sure ain’t your average commercial release. For fans of extreme cinema however, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. For fans of of bizarre independent cinema, you too will find something to enjoy. For those looking for just a flick to sip a brew and watch with the pals – well, maybe yes and maybe no. As gory and crazy as the film gets, it also carries that arthouse respectability. Whether you can get over that or not is on the viewer – but for my personal opinion, I thought it was a really great and taboo crushing scifi/horror. I can’t wait for the ultimate sequel, which is essentially promised to viewers. My final thoughts: don’t be late to jump on the bandwagon, get on board the goretrain ASAP.