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Tales From “Watch Instantly”: Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

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Tokyo Gore Police is hands down the most insane movie I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Even now, as I try to write a review of this (because god knows you can't watch anything if I don't review it *rimshot*), I'm having trouble finding a way to adequately explain just exactly what the hell I watched. Still, I will press on, and hopefully by the end of this, something will click and I'll start making sense. If not, think of it as an homage to the movie presented before you.

Tokyo Gore Police is set in the near future in the city of Tokyo (obviously). The police force has been privatized (much like Robocop), owned by corporations. Also spurting up is the new generation of criminal, known as "engineers". These engineers are genetically modified killers who are able to regenerate lost limbs into weapons of destruction (from a gun to an alligator head… seriously) to keep their rampage going. Ruka (Eihi Shiina) is the best engineer hunter the Tokyo Police Corporation has, and the story generally follows her on her quest to avenge her father's killer.

I say "generally" because, well, the plot does not matter whatsoever. It's really there to lend some sort of coherence to the events, but it doesn't really accomplish that in any believable way. There are plot holes aplenty, you don't really know how the Tokyo Police Force is affected by being privatized (only that it is), and none of the characters are particularly well fleshed out. And while these issues would matter for a film striving to be classically good, Tokyo Gore Police just spits in its face and goes on a rampage.

What a rampage it is too. If you thought the violence in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 or more recently Kick-Ass was over the top, you haven't seen anything yet. Tokyo Gore Police is the most violent thing I have ever seen. Save for about ten minutes where the movie attempts to give Ruka some sort of backstory, the screen is constantly filled with violence on top of blood on top of more violence. I don't think my eyes have ever been assaulted with such force before. The opening scene sets the stage completely: a Leatherface-ish dude is wrecking havoc, shooting chainsaws (!) from his arms and decapitating police officers. Ruka comes in to save the day and the chops the guy to smithereens, the blood squirting out like a faucet turned on high. If you really want to see if you'll like Tokyo Gore Police, watch that opening scene because that is the tamest thing that happens.

As I said, it's a completely constant assault. One guy rips off the top half of his head, exposing a brain and gun barrels for eyes (!). A lady is modified to look like a snail, popped out eyes and all (!!). A guy has a Gatling gun that shoots LIMBS (!!!!?!?#!!?!?!?!?!?!). Tokyo Gore Police feels like a movie Troma would do if they had a budget and weren't concerned with adding comedy or telling everyone how funny and "independent" they are.

Tokyo Gore Police has a very cool visual style, and I love the fact that all these mutations and all the blood are not CGI. When someone is cut in half, it's not some computer generated image pretending to die — this thing literally chops in half and the blood instantly flows out (again, comparisons to Kill Bill: Vol. 1 can be made, but this stuff would make Tarantino blush). It's all costumes, props, and fake blood, and that is refreshing to see, especially in 2008. The movie also looks great in a cinematic sense, with interesting shots and an ironically clean look to it. My only annoyance with the way it was shot has to do with how they  occasionally speed things up for about three seconds, then go back to normal. I don't know what that technique is called, but it's annoying.

Besides the violence, Tokyo Gore Police also has some satirical elements. Through out the film, commercials pop up, either as anti-suicide ads, or fashionable razors for kids so they can kill themselves (I know), to really sharp swords. They are done in this mocking tone similar to Robocop, and are absolutely hilarious. It's also a nice brief break from the chaos on screen.

Look, I'm not going to wax poetic about the acting or anything you would normally see in Tokyo Gore Police because it doesn't matter. This is 100 minutes of pure violence and gore (obviously) that you will either love or hate. Me? I had a blast watching it, going from moments of laughter (at the absurd) to grimacing to yelling out "WHAT THE *BLEEEEEEP*!" when it would up the ante even more than what they had done earlier. It's a movie to watch with friends, and if you love blood and guts, or the Japanese style of filmmaking, you should definitely check this out. Tokyo Gore Police may be the craziest thing I have ever seen — but it's the most fun I've had watching a movie in quite some time.

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