Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a balls-to-the-wall Japanese gorefest, so you can imagine my delight when I came across Tokyo Gore Police. In short, the clue was very much in the name. Cue a 110 minute bloodbath that at times had a hardcore bloodfest fan like myself flinching.

Tokyo Gore Police is set in a hedonistic future world vision of Tokyo, where extreme violence is a part of everyday life. Self-harm and mutilation are actively encouraged; so much so, cutesy adverts are interlaced throughout the whole film giving a view into a ‘fashionable self-harm’ culture. The story follows Yuka (Eihi Shiina), a member of a privatised police force, tasked with tracking down and exterminating ‘engineers’; malformed criminals who, when suffering wounds, mutate body parts into gruesome weapons. When I say gruesome, I mean full-on stomach churning. But hey, who wouldn’t want a three foot mutated penis gun that trumpets like an elephant, right? As the story progresses, more about Yuka, her past, and how she became part of the police force become clear. Throw in a moral ‘who is the real monster’ undertone, and you’re set for a true assault on the senses.

In terms of the level of violence, it’s on another level. I consider myself of a strong stomach, but the obscenely high levels of blood (although comical the vast majority of the time) registered a substantial level of wincing in my twisted mind. The concept of the engineers’ mutations is the real genius play though. It gave the filmmakers complete creative freedom to show the most whacky and wonderfully stomach-churning abominations, and I found myself willing the bad guys to get minced up just to see how they mutated. The film constantly pushes the boundaries of fetishistic, sadistic, and masochistic violence, and at no point did I become bored of the violence, as it was ever changing.

Eihi Shiina plays the part of Yuka magnificently. She will always be best known for her incredibly unsettling performance in Audition so had a high pedigree coming into this film. She plays the role quietly and calmly, and in the face of the comical over the top violence, she’s the level-headed constant that keeps the film on track. The supporting characters do their part well too, amalgamating a mix of serious to downright slapstick.

The soundtrack has the ever predictable shredding guitar solos when there’s a fight scene, reminiscent of any Japanese hack-and-slash game, offset by emotional soft violins when there‚Äôs a particularly deep moment in the story.

Tokyo Gore Police is definitely a worth a watch, if you’re of a strong stomach. Sadly it is somewhat let down by a relatively weak storyline and is predictable from start to finish. For the most part though, you’ll be too busy enjoying/wincing at the buckets and buckets of blood and fiendishly twisted executions throughout. The death count is through the roof in this; each one more imaginative than the last. Carried throughout by a strong performance by Eihi Shiina, it’s a film I’d highly recommend; and if you liked it, check out The Machine Girl, or the highly acclaimed (and personal favourite of mine) Ichi the Killer, for the same twisted levels of violence.

Watch it, wince, and go back for more.

I did.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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