Howdy folks! Ya like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature? Well, come on down to Japan where everything is utterly bat-shit nutso. From Fever Dreams and Tokyo Shock comes 2008’s TOYKO GORE POLICE, one of the bloodiest damn films I’ve ever stuck in my eye holes. Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, we follow alongside Ruka, a special breed of police officer, hunting a new breed of criminal terrorizing neo-Tokyo.
A criminal mastermind is behind a recent slew of ultra-violent crime plaguing neo-futuristic Tokyo. Criminals have been infected by a mad scientist known as Key Man, who’s engineered a key shaped tumor from the most prolific serial killers and criminals in the world. This creation literally mutates humans into “Engineers”, basically sub-humanoid freakshows, that sprout bizarre weapons from any injury to their body turning them into unstoppable killing machines bent on destruction and murder. In the chaos that is the very near future, the police force of Tokyo has been privatized, basically becoming a sadistic corporate military unit that enforces martial law through gratuitous and illicit bloodshed. An elite group of officers is formed, the Engineer Hunters, basically super cops enlisted to deal with these new super villains.
Ruka is the top cop, played by Eihi Shiina of AUDITION fame. She’s the toughest of the Engineer Hunters, raised by her Police Chief, but she’s also an anti-social outcast due to her profession who copes with the pain of life by cutting herself. Ruka’s suffering from severe Daddy issues ever since her father was shot in the head in front of her as a child. This tragic event basically fuels her passion for crime fighting; to be as good as a cop as her old man, but also to take out her pent up frustration in the most artery separating ways possible. Her latest assignment, bringing the Key Man to justice, also offers the first clue of who assassinated her father and why. The Key Man’s motives aren’t the only secret, as the Police Chief has a few skeleton’s in his dojo as well. Ultimately, Ruka must face the consequences of her actions and stand for her beliefs. This is the core of any great super-hero tale and this one is no exception. Well except maybe that Wonder Woman never chopped off a guy’s arms for groping her on the subway.
The Key Man is a fascinating character as his motives draw Ruka further into her investigation and take us to the most insane places imaginable, like a Japanese S&M club specializing in genetic fetishes. This film is not for the weak of stomach, taking any previously accepted notions of WTF to new eye popping extremes. It makes Nishimura’s previous efforts with Noboru Iguchi’s MACHINE GIRL look like a Disney cartoon. It’s filled with mutant nudity, penis guns, school girl prostitutes, hari-kari, cannibalism, acid lactation, and a Hoover Dam’s worth of blood.
Take equal parts of the ROBOCOP Franchise and BLADERUNNER, mix with CHERRY 2000 and AZUMI, then proceed to free-base with soy sauce and you have the innard twisting gem that is Tokyo Gore Police. It’s depraved, perverted, and comically violent to the point of eye rolling absurdity. At times it’s also a cerebral political satire. I imagine this is exactly the type of film Lloyd Kaufman would make if he was born in the Far East.
The pacing moves at a speed all its own. The fight scenes are an equal combination of martial arts mastery and ferocious storytelling coupled with plenty of gunplay. It’s all one blood dipped ballet that you’d have about as equal opportunity of understanding without the subtitles. At heart it’s a cat and mouse detective story with a few solid thrills and chills. Intercut with the gory action sequences are outlandish commercials for wrist cutters marketed to and by school girls as well as the graphic depictions of the lengths the Tokyo Police Corporation will go to in order to protect their metropolis and other services that have to be seen to be believed. Flashbacks draw us into the emotionally scarred world of Ruka, as she tries to make sense of her mother’s psychotic break, her father’s murder, and the life she has built after such loss. You honestly feel for her despite being attacked by tentacles and chainsaw throwing mad men, and this fuels your urge to root for her to kick as much ass as she does.
The costumes are fantastic, blending shogun armor with Kevlar for the police officers and a MATRIX inspired getup for our heroine as if RESERVOIR DOGS was made with samurai sword wielding women with abandonment issues. What they accomplish with vinyl and gas masks shows a future as one decadent filled blood palace that I want to survive long enough to witness. It’s cyber-punk turned upside down for a unique look and appeal that seems light years outside of its budget.
The visuals are stunning, with lighting in reds and greens and never afraid to overcome the frame with shadows. The true testament to the special effects exhibited throughout is how well they look in broad daylight as well. The level of skill and craftsmanship with the special effects is extraordinary for a feature film that was cranked out of the meat grinder in only 2 weeks! The level of creature creations, from the body suits to the hand props is jaw dropping.
Opting for more old school techniques like foam rubber and latex, the transformations are wildly imaginative, from gun eyes to an alligator vagina. Coupled with that are a few CGI sequences that take it over the edge. A personal favorite is the quadriplegic with katana legs. It all plays out like an X-rated episode of Power Rangers gone feral. Nishimura is quintessentially and undoubtedly the James Cameron of Splatter Gore. I can only dream about the infinite ways their next opus will warp my fragile little mind. And hot damn, it better be a sequel.