Zombie Self Defence Force
Zombie Self Defence Force
AKA: Zombie Defence Force, Zonbi Jietai
Director: Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Beginning with a political diatribe on war and slightly the US as well, before stating that not everything from the states was bad, including hamburgers and George Romero. From this odd introduction we see a flying saucer crash into a forest, turning all the dead people in the nearby area into zombies. Not such a problem you would think, it’s a forest after all, but then we are shown a small group of soldiers (the self defence force) on training staring at one lady who has hung herself from a tree, a gangster shooting a rival and a hotel owner killing his pregnant mistress who is trying to blackmail him. Also, don’t forget to throw in a Japanese pop starlet doing promotional shots into the mix and we have our main characters.
Bit by bit our group are thrown together in an absurd mix or gore, gore, comedy and more gore as the dead start to outnumber the living and the living take refuge in an isolated small hotel. This is essentially a zombie movie with an anti-war philosophy that has to be seen to be believed.
Zombie Quality: ****
A bit of a mix in the zombie quality here, from the Dawn of the Dead grey face to the Fulci-esque clay face zombies there is something for everyone here. Generally all zombies were covered in muck, to be expected from the woods I suppose, with some showing sharp jagged teeth, particularly highlighted by the baby zombie, reminding me of the kid in Brain Dead. For such an obviously low budget the crew did well, while not showing great technical lifelike Fx they are more than capable of giving us what we want in our putrid friends and this manifested in the score.
Zombie Behaviour: **
Reanimated due to the UFO, these zombies can generally be killed by a shot to the brain, although later in the movie some of these same zombies come back again. Is this due to effects of the UFO or because they think of a way to get more zombie extras. We will never know. Fans of the Romero style zombies will be pleased to know however, that these are the slow, staggering kind, where every movement looks an effort. However, later in the movie we are introduced to a super ninja zombie who can both run and talk, explained through a ghost story earlier in the film, while another “normal” soldier zombie is able to use a gun, although this can be attributed possibly to regaining past knowledge. By the end of this movie however, I was left a little confused, I am not sure if the zombies can actually be killed or if they will eventually keep reanimating, like many Asian movies, logic and continuity is eschewed in favour of gore and action.
Zombie Threat: **
Those pesky UFOs and space octopuses (you will see if you watch the movie) are taking over the world, no one is safe. Although this film doesn’t really concern itself with any of that, preferring to concentrate more on the several insane plots and stories involved directly with the move. Due to the involvement of the pesky aliens I have decided to give the threat quite a low score, as the zombies are possibly only pawns used by a greater power, which should get the credit for the threat.
Gore Content: *****
Almost immediately you know this film is going to deliver. Whatever budget they had, it went here and here only. We are treated to full frontal visuals of throats being ripped out gushing blood everywhere, limbs being ripped out in plain sight exposing all, eyeballs being gouged out (admittedly this one looks terrible but a lot of fun), it simply delivers. I hate to think how much fake blood they went through in the making of this movie, but I will guarantee if you will not be disappointed.
Overall Rating: ****
Many things should hold this movie back: It doesn’t make sense, the CGI when used is atrocious, and the story introduces random elements that themselves don’t make sense, however almost everything about this movie is great, it’s over the top, unashamedly fun, the constant up skirts of the Japanese pop star and most of all its gory, leaving us with a very low budget, highly fun zombie gore fest.
I have deliberately left out a few story arcs and situations as to avoid any spoilers or what the hell moments while you watch this film. All I can say in summary is, if you like George A. Romero movies, the low budget early Peter Jackson movies and Asian weirdness and humour then you must watch this film. Plus there’s a direct line taken from Dawn of the Dead, that’s almost enough in itself.