Tokyo Gore Police…if you haven’t seen it, and you have the stomach for gore that makes Saw look like Bambi, then I heartily recommend it. Trust me; you’ll have the time of your life! It’s fun, over-the-top, ludicrous, yet with a compelling message that isn’t drowned by the gallons of blood that (sometimes literally) splash the screen. It’s perverse, obscene, ludicrous, laughable, and unlike anything you’ve seen before. Unless, of course, you’ve seen other films of this type…
The story: Future Japan, the police have been privatised, thus they wear silly Samurai-influenced armour, and often carry a katana with them. There is one type of criminal that they can’t deal with: so-called ‘engineers’, mutants who grow a mechanical/animal body part when a body part is cut off (bear with me!). So, for example, in the first scene, an ‘engineer’ has his arm cut off, and grows a chainsaw to replace it. Of course, the police cannot handle such brutality, so they employ ‘engineer-hunters,’ one of which, Ruka, is the main character (and, apparently, a prostitute a night, as we see in a scene reminiscent of Secret Diary of a Call Girl). She doesn’t wear any armour, but kicks ass! Her back story is vital to the film; her father, a member of the police pre-privatisation, was murdered. She was brought up by the head of the privatised police.
What follows is absurd, ludicrous, but beautiful ultra violence. The blood splashes the screen to ensure the viewer that this is in no way a serious film. Buckets of blood accompany to smallest cut, just to emphasise that this is a film to ENJOY. There’s a penis-biting scene (and a mutated penis-gun), a person being hung, drawn and quartered by four cars, a chainsaw fight, a sword-limbed sex fiend…I laughed so much throughout this film that I seriously considered checking into the nearest loony bin. But that’s the point; the violence is absurd. One thing to keep in mind is something that Ruka says during the film: ‘Everything is buried under rubbish.’
Tokyo Gore Police may owe a lot to classic Japanese gorefest films and horror films (eerie violin strains, the mysterious person covered by long, greasy, black hair, a la Ringu, the loud, blonde female announcer, a la Battle Royale), but it owes more to Robocop and the films of David Cronenberg. See, for example, the continued emphasis on the sexual organs; the penis-biting incident and the subsequent penis-gun (the phallus as a dangerous weapon), the engineer who has her lower half cut off, being replaced with a crocodile’s mouth (the similarity between the vagina and the mouth focused on).There’s also the emphasis on the mesh of flesh and technology, and the consequences (good and bad)…
The satirical (and hilarious) adverts throughout are direct references to Robocop, as is the ‘privatising police’ story line. My favourite advert was ‘Stop the Hara-Kiri,’ a glance at the type of people who commit suicide. They depict a broken society, one where the state has failed. The most important advert contains a line that we hear throughout the film; “Privatising the police will lead to more plentiful lives for us.” Of course, without spoiling too much of the story for you, these privatised police eventually wreak havoc, killing everyone they think are engineers (cue intimate, shaky cam). So we see the danger of a police not regulated (and, by the same token, hampered), by the state. As Ruka pronounces in her final battle with the real evil of the film (yes, there’s a pretty interesting twist towards the end of the film) “I am a police officer who protects citizens.” A privatised police (if we agree with Robocop and Tokyo Gore Police!) will always fail the citizens.
All in all, it’s a ludicrous, absurdly beautiful and satirical film, with a couple of important messages to boot. And it’s Japanese; what more could you want? Of course, if you’re squeamish, stay well, well away from this film. But if you have the stomach for it, go ahead and watch it!
VERDICT: 8/10. Not for the weak of heart, and the absurd ultra-violence can become tiresome at times, but ‘Tokyo Gore Police’ layers its blood-splattered duration with some hard-hitting social satire.
What did you think of ‘Tokyo Gore Police’? Leave your comments below!