on January 29, 2005
This one was destined for B movie greatness the second somebody said "Hey, let's mix Rock N Roll High School with Night of the Living dead" but it solidified it's status when it added exploding heads, a transvestite and japanese rock band Guitar Wolf!
The plot goes something like this:
Ace helps Guitar Wolf defend the honor of Rock n Roll against an effeminate night club owner who insists cheeseball pop is the way of the future. For this, Guitar Wolf makes Ace a blood brother and gives him a magical whistle that he can blow and summon Guitar Wolf to help him anytime.
Ace meets a girl and, later, tries to help save her from zombies that were somehow created by aliens in flying saucers. The aliens aren't elaborated on, you just see their flying saucers and are led to make the connection between the two.
Then, a handful of zombies, exploding heads, laser beam eyes, guitar-swords, fire-spurting microphones and shouts of "ROCK AND ROLL!" later, the movie ends.
The DVD even has a built in drinking game. A small mug icon appears on-screen when one of the following things happen:
-a zombie head pops
-someone combs their hair
-fire shoots out of anything
-someone yells ROCK AND ROLL!
I assure you, if you even play this game with near-beer, you'll be wasted before the movie finishes.
Criterion Collection it ain't, but if you're looking for an amazing B horror movie, this film is definitely for you!
But don't take my word for it, I think Seiji of Guitar Wolf summed up the movie perfectly in an interview with him where he said
"Ah yes. Just rock and roll. Very stupid, cool movie, and zombie UFO."
on December 26, 2003
Wild Zero cracks my top 5 list of zaniest films I've ever seen. This Japanese movie combines flying saucers, flesh-eating zombies, gender-bending love scenes and a sleazy music promoter wearing the tightest shorts known to man. All of this laced with powerhouse punk music and buckets of sloppy gore. The movie stars the 3 members of real-life Japanese punk band "Guitar Wolf", whose music is an irresistible blend of hardcore, rockabilly and surf garage. It also has some of the coolest features ever packaged on a DVD, such as behind-the-scenes looks, a Guitar Wolf discography and Bio and an interactive drinking game. I won't go into too much detail about how that game works but let's just say that anyone who chooses that option is likely to be tanked way before the film reaches the halfway mark.
The film opens up at a Guitar Wolf concert where we meet Ace, a young fan who follows the band on tour. After the show, Ace inadvertently saves the life of the lead singer who was caught in a shootout with a lowlife music promoter (the one who wears the tight spandex shorts). As a reward for his good deed Guitar Wolf give Ace a magic whistle and tell him to blow it if he is ever in trouble. As Ace hits the road on the way to the next Guitar Wolf gig, a meteorite crashes into the town of the next show, turning all inhabitants into zombies. It is now up to Ace and the members of Guitar Wolf to save humanity in the name of Rock and Roll.
The film never takes itself seriously and for this reason the cheese and lapses of taste can easily be forgiven. With movies like these, self-parody is often the only way of being effective and if Wild Zero took itself seriously in any way, it would easily reach the botom of the cinematic pile. Instad, the undercurrent of self-ridicule and over-the-top comedy works beautifully. One thing I found surprising was the amount of zombie action in the film. I figured the zombies would only be a backdrop within the overall nuttiness but instead zombies are pretty much present throughout the entire film. It's just that they are never really scary or to be taken as more than laugh fodder. The paranoia of 28 days later or the claustrophobia and social commentary of Romero's films are entirely absent. Although zombies appear throughout the entire film, Wild Zero cannot be considered a true zombie film any more than From Dusk Till Dawn would be considered a true vampire film. But if you liked Dusk, you'll love Wild Zero.
Although the concept is ludicrous Wild Zero is major fun from beginning to end. In my opinion, this is the most entertaining rock band film ever, edging out classics such as Rock n' Roll high school and A hard day's Night. Not in quality but in sheer entertainment value. The best scenes are easily the ones where Ace blows his whistle and Guitar Wolf appear to save the day and lend Ace some of their philosophies such as "Ace! True love knows no boundaries, color or gender! ROCK AND ROLL!." That one phrase pretty much sums up the underlying message of the entire film. Wild Zero also serves as a commentary on greedy producers and sharks in the music industry who try to stiffle the creativity and artistic freedom of musicians signed under their labels. Well, Guitar Wolf just ain't gonna have that!
on August 1, 2003
rock n roll will never die and japanese rockabilly punk band Guitar Wolf is going to prove that to their mushroom wig, lace up hot pants wearin' manager- but there are space ship controlled zombies seeking flesh in daylight which may complicate a few things. but no worry, there's ace and a weapons supplier for the yakuza to help handle that...
wild zero is an excellent horror/b movie and your not so average love story. i love this movie for its ridiculous characters and their antics. it's wildly inventive, but the japanese have a habit of creating insane scenarios so you can never expect the ordinary from them. if you like low-budget flicks, zombies, and a good laugh- buy it! and remember the words of guitar wolf: love has no race, nationality, or gender.
on March 15, 2016
If you like fun quirky cult movies, this has it all (including an onboard drinking game). Flames, punk rock, zombies, arms dealers, and love - what's not to like?
Definitely one to watch with friends. The drinking game will put you four or five beers deep by the end of the movie.
on December 14, 2004
I saw this movie during a "whatever we got" timeslot in a convention video room some time around 2am, which actually is how I think it is probably best viewed.
To quote one of my friends who experienced this with me: "Someday I'm going to either start crying or vomitting and while I might not realize it at the time, subconciously it will be because I watched Wild Zero."
To quote Guitar Wolf: "BLOOD! BLOOD! EXPLODING BLOOD!"
Take from this what you will. I'm not even sure how to try passing a judgment on this. It's one of those rare things that simply "is". You should go into this being informed that it involves rock'n'roll and zombies. For my part, I regret nothing.
on December 25, 2003
If you're looking for something fun...something filled with zombies, aliens, Japanese punkabillies and rock n' roll, well then, sh*t, you're either looking for Wild Zero or you're a weirdo. Freak.
Wild Zero's fun and craziness. A young Japanese man obsessed with the punk rock n' roll band, Guitar Wolf, gets thrown into a world full of aliens, zombies, cross dressing club owners and love regardless of several inch long body parts. Helping him along the way is Seiji, Toru and Billy, the three members of the greatest band ever, Guitar Wolf. They don't say much, but what they do is pure gold.
The leather jacket wearing, Kawasaki with flames for exhaust-riding rockers show up to kick ass, rock and just be cool. Quite frankly, I'd kill to be able to do either one of the three, but 'cause I can't, I loved every single second of this movie. From it's outrageous dialougue, over-the-top bad special effects and downright fun of it all, I don't think I can watch this movie enough.
If you're a fan of campy sci-fi/horror, Japanese craziness or the spirit of sweaty, greasy rock n' roll..or just have ADD, buy this. Ten bucks says you'll be buying a tube of pomade within a week.
on June 19, 2004
This movie has it all; zombies with exploding heads, plenty of guns, naked chicks, naked guys, (only chests are visible) love interests, Rock and Roll, aliens, guys combing their hair, guitars with weapons, and a really good time. Despite being a zombie flick the gore in this film is kept to an incredibly tasteful minimum; I've played fighting games with more guts.
This is what "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park" should have been, and any other movie in which zombies explode and Rock and Roll saves the earth. Ace, Guitar Wolf's biggest fan, assists them and becomes a Rock and Roll blood brother. The next day, he meets a girl and is attacked by zombies. There's no plot as to WHY the zombies or the aliens are there; invasion, accident, first contact? Who really cares, however, when you've got true love to save and Rock and Roll to spread?
I'm inclined to place this in my Comedy section, but it fits Sci-Fi quite well: it's not scary, so Horror is out. If you love Rock and Roll, zombies, or just plain cheesy-good movies that are a blast to watch with friends (this includes a drinking game!) Wild Zero is better then new strings for your Gibson!
on August 15, 2003
One of my favorite Japanese films, Wild Zero is a Japanese punk sci-fi film with the taglines of "Brutality of Screen!", "Thrill, Speed and Stupid Zombies!" and actually delivers on these claims. The story is about a young rockabilly punker named Ace who is following his favorite band, Guitar Wolf, on tour. Ace passes through a town where a meteorite recently fell and causes the inhabitants to change into zombies and it is up to Guitar Wolf to save the day with their magic powers of rock and roll. Mix into this young love, a crazy villain in hot pants and invading aliens and the result will blow you away. Wild Zero is great film that incorporates the mythology of Rock and Roll well and is also good trashy fun.
WILD ZERO (2000) is living proof just how weird, oddly brilliant (at the same time stupid) and outrageously cheesy Japanese films can be. Granted this style of filmmaking is not for everyone. This film pretty much has everything from zombies, aliens, rock & roll, super powered rock stars, zombie and transgender love...There's crowbar brutality, bazooka abuse, razor-sharp laser targeting GUITAR picks, electrical eyebeams and a gun-slinging shower scene...The film is NOT to be taken seriously, as the plot lacks structure, characters look like they're rejects from "Grease" but for some unbelievable reason, it all manages to click together. WHAT THE HECK?!
Synopsis derived from dvd back cover:
ACE (Masashi Endo), a rockabilly fan who really wants to be cool, is on his way to see his favorite rock band; Guitar Wolf, when a strange thing occurs...aliens invade the earth and people start returning to life as flesh-eating zombies! Enlisting the aid of the real-life Japanese punk/rock band Guitar Wolf, Ace and the members of the band get entangled with many misadventures with insane managers in tight shorts, transsexuals, naked women shooting guns in the shower and blood-thirsty zombies ready to tear them apart!
The one thing that stands out in the film are its characters. They are all underdeveloped but in their own way very colorful and interesting. If you pay attention to their mannerisms and costumes, you'll figure out just what they're all about. Seems like everyone has a purpose; from Masao with the butterfly knives, to the woman in the shower, to the Yakuza gang, from Guitar Wolf up to the lead; Ace. It seems like everyone in the film wants their share of screen time and everyone has a subplot. The events linking all the bizarre incidents all share their own credibility.
Now, this is not an action film so don't expect it to be one or you'll be disappointed. The film is slow-paced in the beginning until it reaches its second half. It's no "Versus"; the film is pretty much a satirical horror film that makes fun of itself. It is meant to be different and the film manages to stand on its own with its very unique style. It exaggerates smaller things with the action, acting and the special effects itself is a bit over-the-top. The EFX is cheesy and campy as was its intention. If you saw "SARS WARS Bangkok Zombie Crisis", you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. The zombies pretty much look like rejects from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video with a bluish color that is so vibrant to once again exaggerate the stereotypical appearance of the "undead". The zombies also move much like the ones in "Night of the Living Dead" (it was even mentioned), slow-moving, shambling dead "things".
Cool poses, a lot of hair gel and combing, this is a Japanese film so expect another play on philosophy based on courage and Rock and Roll. Love has no boundaries not even death or gender; it has zombies making out and transgender love. The best way to see this film is to approach it without any expectations and do not pay any attention to other reviewers who say that it has non-stop zombie action. There is quite a bit of blood and gore, brains are brutally blown away and innards of the zombies' victims are eaten on camera. Again, the movie tends to exaggerate, so they all end up looking cheesy and stupidly amusing (?). Of course, no film like this would survive without a few "splattering blood" effects.
If you want to see something totally over-the-top with utter silliness and oddball humor; then you may be ready for "Wild Zero". The film isn't going to win any awards but hey, it may be the ultimate Asian Cult film; I'm sure some folks will like it while others will hate it. The film does require a very large suspension of disbelief. Director and writer Tetsuro Takeuchi knew exactly what he wanted to do, film a movie to make fun of itself and to pay tribute to the self-proclaimed coolest rock band in the world; Guitar Wolf...again, it is all a matter of exaggeration.
Recommended timidly to fans of Asian Cult Cinema [3+ Stars]
Note: Alcohol may maximize its viewing experience.
on January 4, 2013
This movie has it all, rock and roll, explosions, flames, motorcycles, zombies, exploding heads, flying saucers and a transgender/gay love interest that is blessed by a vision of Guitar Wolf. I can't think of anything I didn't love about this movie but I shrieked like a Justin Bieber fan when Guitar Wolf pulled a samurai sword out of his guitar and cut a flying saucer in half. It doesn't get any better.