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Wild Zero
Reviewed by Oct 14th, 2009

It’s been a long time since I saw a movie this fun. Even before I saw the whole thing, I wanted to go round up everyone I know, pack them into my living room, and make them watch this movie.

In the first few scenes, Japanese music video director Tetsuro Takeuchi introduces us to our bumbling hero, Ace. He’s something of a wannabe (at one point he laments, “I’m so uncool! I can’t even play guitar!”), but has a leather jacket and a greaser rockabilly type hairdo. He’s off to see a Guitar Wolf show. The club manager thinks rock music is over, and has decided his club will show J-pop instead. Ace, of course, overhears this and busts the door down. Assuming a rock and roll pose, he shouts, “Rock and roll will never die!” This earns him a punch in the nose, as well as the respect of Guitar Wolf. Their singer (also called Guitar Wolf) gives him a whistle to use if he’s in danger, and they become rock and roll blood brothers.

Ace meets a cutie named Tobio at a seemingly abandoned gas station, and it’s love at first sight. But Ace has to go catch Guitar Wolf’s next gig… As fate would have it, the sky is filled with UFOs and zombies are now overaking the countryside. Ace goes back for Tobio, and they hole up in an abandoned school or something. After Tobio surprises Ace with her dark secret, an apparition of Guitar Wolf, ever the wise rock and roll messiah, tells Ace: “love has no race or gender.”

All throughout the film, the Japanese lo fi band Guitar Wolf is playing small clubs. The mic shoots flames, and their songs seem to be about things like “exploding blood.” One song includes the line “I’ve got a wallet on my ass with a rock and roll license.” Their singer has a supernatural ability to kill zombies with flying, glow in the dark guitar picks. And of course they all ooze cliched coolness. Fabulous!

Obviously, this movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more over the top, it one-ups the last gag. The effects are pretty good, and everything either shoots fire or gets blown up. This must be seen to be believed. It’s in Japanese with English subtitles, but I find that vastly preferable to bad dubbing. And it’s not like all those other self-parodying zombie movies from the last five years or so. This one is truly funny and thoroughly entertaining. I was going to give it only five Trioxin barrels, but I couldn’t think of anything about it I disliked. Go watch it now.

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