Zombie Self-Defense Force
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Zonbi Jieitai (aka Zombie Self-Defense Force) has a bang-up premise: how would something that suddenly turned people into zombies affect people going about their daily lives? Unfortunately, the execution doesn't quite live up to the premise, but it's not as bad as it could have been.
A spaceship crashes to Earth as the movie opens, but few people take notice. After all, they're going about their business. There's a model on a photo shoot in the woods, two inept yakuza attempting to kill a guy and dispose of the body, a poor hotel owner attempting to break up with his mistress in order to preserve his marriage. Then comes the spaceship, and the radiation from it (okay, I think it's the radiation, maybe, who knows?) turns dead folks into zombies. This leads to some amusing moments. (The hair stylist on the photo shoot alone is worth watching this movie for.) Eventually, though, we find ourselves in something that looks like a zombie movie; a bunch of folks from these situations and a couple of others end up holed up at the hotel trying to fend off a horde of hungry zombies.
This one's got a pretty low rating at IMDB, and to be honest, I have no idea why. If you're not a fan of zombie movies (and yes, zombie movies,especially of the low budget variety, have gotten really meta over the past couple of decades), I can understand maybe not getting some of the in-jokes or wondering why this movie's effects are really kind of crappy, but let's face it, if you're a zombie fan, you've seen a lot worse in the past couple of years.Read more ›
Now we have "Zombie Self Defense Force" (aka "Zonbie Jietai") which was released back in 2006. So, how does it compare to the two previous Japanese zombie films?
The film kicks off with an anti-war message and how the United States gets involved in such matters and how Japan hangs on to the coattails of the USA. The film then shows a few things happening at a nearby village. A group of high school students on a field trip, two kids walking on the road, a teen pop idol having her photo shoot, a man and a woman inside a home, a group of yakuza working on a deal and soldiers of the Self Defense Force discovering a corpse of a woman that is hung up on a forest.
Next thing you know, a UFO starts floating in the air and everyone sees it flying around and then crashing down in the forest area. Next thing you know, the crash somehow triggers a green cloud of radiation throughout the village.
All of a sudden, a man that the yakuza killed comes back to life, as does the woman who was found dead and hanging on the tree. All dead people buried, start rising from the dead and then attacking people around the village and becoming zombies.
Immediately, one of the yakuza members, the teen pop idol and a few members of the Self Defense Force manage to make it alive and survive the first initial attacks from the zombies. The female soldier starts to have headaches and memories of some type of surgery.Read more ›
I'd assume that most people leaning on the reviews of this movie are doing so with an understanding of what it is exactly they're looking for to begin with. (I'm hard-pressed to imagine someone inadvertently stumbling upon this specific title, but stranger things have happened.) The reason I bring this up? ZSDF is geared towards a very specific fan-base that most people aren't aware even exists.
Painting with a wide stroke reads like this: A UFO crash-lands at the base of Mt Fuji. The resulting explosion blasts a green fog across the landscape that resurrects the dead. Five members of a militant group, the Self-Defense Force, or SDF, are running an operation in the forest during this crash and are left defending themselves and a small civilian collective against the uprising. There you go.
The film clearly rotates around a desperate budget, but it's just this sort of restriction that attracts some of us to the effort, right? RIGHT.
Thus, the gore here is notable, but I did and always will take issue with computer generated blood. I don't understand why it happened here? One minute flesh is being ripped from the bone convincingly while real fluid spreads from the wound, but then the next scene some absently-placed digital redness is blasted into the air. It's unnecessarily kitsch. Boo.
Cinematically, the movie is somewhat of a wreck. The acting is mediocre, but bizarre. Just not bizarre enough. Concerning the subject matter, I think the crew could have been a bit more over the top.Read more ›
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