Reviewed on 2007 February 16
It’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Zombie! I heard this was a very stylish martial arts gangster movie with zombies, and despite how inane that sounds, it worked. The characters don’t even have names, and I think for a plot director Ryuhei Kitamura just wrote “Smackdown!” on a piece of cardboard and held it up a various times. It was still an entertaining movie.
Two prisoners escape and go meet some Yakuza members that agreed to hide them. One of the prisoners, KSC2-303 (Tak Sakaguchi) is suspicious, especially when he sees that the thugs kidnapped a girl (Chieko Misaka). A fight breaks out, and some of the men are killed… and keep coming back like dandelions. The men are in a world of hurt — they picked Portal #444 for their rendezvous, one of the 666 portals that connect this world to the Other Side. This portal is The Forest of Resurrection, and the dead don’t stay dead.
The Girl (that’s how she’s credited) and KSC2-303 run away. She realizes how this place works, and that there’s a connection between her and KSC2-303. He rejects this, even though the undead are popping up like weeds at this point. Eventually even he realizes that in addition to Yakuza zombies gunning for him, someone from his past is coming to settle a score.
There are a couple of weak points — Sakaguchi’s character was written like the Marlboro Man, and The Girl seemed to exist only to act helpless and be smacked on the head by him. (That would have really been offensive if the movie wasn’t so cartoony.) Other than that it’s a great Friday night movie. You laugh at it, even when you know it’s just sick and wrong, and the score is very good. And Kenji Matsuda was hilarious as the Yakuza Leader, especially when he was trying out #444 like it’s a new toy.
Three chocolate morsels.