Directed By: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Starring: Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny
Tag line: "Strap yourselves in because things are about to get very, very bloody and very, very strange"
Trivia: This movie was shot in two weeks
Even throwing the word “gore” in the title doesn’t prepare you for the copious amount of bloodletting that occurs in director Yoshihiro Nishimura’s 2008 movie, Tokyo Gore Police. There was so much blood, so many spilled guts, that I had a hard time keeping up with it all; I tried taking extensive notes during the opening scene (where our hero Ruka, played by Eihi Shiina, and her fellow policemen are battling an out-of-control killer) on the off chance that I might want to give a detailed account of this sequence in my review. Within a couple of minutes, the action was hot and heavy and the gore was out of this world. So, instead of sentences, I started jotting down words and phrases, like “dismembered female corpse”, “chainsaw”, “self-mutilation”, “flying chainsaw” and “rolling eyeball”. Eventually, I gave up on the idea of an exhaustive analysis, due in part to the film’s frantic nature, but also because I was afraid I’d miss something if I didn’t pay attention. Yes, Tokyo Gore Police is a blood-soaked motion picture designed to test your gag reflex, but it’s so damn insane that you can’t wait to see what happens next.
Orphaned at a young age when her father (Keisuke Horibe), a cop, was shot by an assassin, Ruka was taken in by the police chief (Yukihide Benny), who did more than simply raise her: he turned her into a killing machine, the best cop on the force. Ruka is especially effective at hunting down “Engineers”, mass murderers and criminals whose bodies have been genetically altered (whenever an Engineer loses an arm or a leg, a deadly weapon grows from the wound, making them more dangerous than before). When a prostitute is murdered and cut up into itty bitty pieces, the evidence suggests she was killed by an Engineer. But as Ruka will discover, this was no ordinary maniac. In fact, this particular Engineer (Itsuji Itao) harbors a secret that, once revealed, could change Ruka’s life forever.
Pretty much every limb imaginable (including one best left unmentioned) is severed at one point or another during Tokyo Gore Police, but like the big battle scene at the end of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1, the violence is so over-the-top that it’s more funny than gross (blood spurts from wounds like a fountain, spraying the red stuff high into the air). Sure, there are a few moments that’ll test your mettle (an autopsy conducted at the police lab, shown in graphic detail, had me cringing a bit), but for the most part, it’s all so ridiculous that you’ll probably smile through it all.
Also entertaining are the various "commercials" that play during the movie, including a PSA for the police department (where we see a serial killer put to death) and an ad, aimed at teenage girls who cut themselves, for a “cute” new blade called the Wrist Cutter G. In addition to the violence, Tokyo Gore Police tries to shock us in other ways as well, with drug use, pedophilia, forced prostitution, and even golden showers (one scene, set in a subway, features a guy who eats bugs, the camera closing in on his mouth as he chews). In short, there’s something in this film to offend and disgust everyone, but it’s all presented with a nudge and a wink, signifying we’re not meant to take any of it seriously.
Tokyo Gore Police was a true labor of love for Yoshihiro Nishimura, who, along with handling the direction, also co-wrote the screenplay, served as special make-up consultant (he’s worked on over 80 projects as an effects / make-up artist), and even produced and edited the movie. Prior to this film, I had very little exposure to Nishimura’s work; I wasn’t a fan of the sequence he created for The ABCs of Death ("Z is for Zetsumetsu"), but enjoyed the behind-the-scenes stuff he did for “O is for Ochlocracy”, one of the better segments in 2014’s The ABCs of Death 2. A quick search of my DVD collection turned up two more titles he directed, Meatball Machine from 2006 and 2010’s Mutant Girl Squad, neither of which I’ve seen before. And based on my experience with Tokyo Gore Police, I think I should check these out sooner than later. If either of these movies is half as enjoyable as this one, I’m in for a treat!