Search this blog and The Mike's favorite blogs!

April 19, 2012

Midnight Movie of the Week #120 - Bio-Zombie

Bio-Zombie (or Sun faa sau si, if you prefer Cantonese) follows the adventures of Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee, two young pirates (in the selling fake DVDs sense, not in the "Arrrrgh!" sense) who face off against a slew of zombies in a Hong Kong shopping mall.  Any comparisons between the film and George Romero's masterful Dawn of the Dead - which shares zombies and malls with this film - should probably end right there, but there's still plenty of fun to be ahd with this madcap horror comedy.
Our two young heroes - who are somewhere between Bill & Ted and Lloyd Christmas & Harry Dunne on the intelligence scale - are out for fun, sex, and cash when they unknowingly set loose a biologically enhanced zombie virus (although is it really a zombie if it's a virus? I'll let you decide) in their mall.  This leaves the pair, alongside a few other stragglers, facing off with green skinned fellas after the shops close for the evening. 
These two slacker characters do a lot for the film, primarily establishing how irreverent the script is from the opening scenes.  The beginning sequence seems to set the film up as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of itself (and if you watch the DVD with English dubbing you might think you're watching Most Extreme Elimination Challenge) as the duo mock the opening credits, and the tone doesn't get more serious until after a Grindhouse-esque scene in which the biological weapon (which is conveniently disguised as a soft drink) and its effects are revealed.
Even after the creatures are revealed, there's very little fear at work in Bio-Zombie. The low budget film shines in other areas, however, particularly through the effective creature makeup.  It's a very minimal film in that regard - sometimes it looks like they just threw a couple of huge pustules on dudes, other times it looks like they ran faces through cheese graters - and one probably won't mistake this for the work of Tom Savini.  In fact, the biggest problem most viewers will have with Bio-Zombie probably has to do with how amateur it looks.
I'm not sure if it's the budget, the camera, the DVD, or something else - but this movie (released in 1998) looks about 10 years older than it actually is.  If it weren't for these video game style stat cards that show up right before the final battle gets funky, I might have assumed this was a lost Return of the Living Dead sequel.  That's not necessarily a bad thing either, I just want you all to know how odd and kind of bizarre this movie is.  Maybe I don't get it because I'm not Hong Kongian....I don't know.  The point is it's out there.
That all said, the bottom line is that Bio-Zombie is a ridiculously fun little film that should win over some viewers.  The side characters are effective caricatures of horror stereotypes, the leads win us over with their bumbling ways, and there's enough action and playful humor to keep things moving along.  There's absolutely no depth to the film whatsoever - unless I feel like giving some credit to the sly message from the fatalistic final shot - but I'm OK with that.  Bio-Zombie works on a Mallrats-meets-Romero-in-Hong-Kong level, and that's good enough for me.


James Van Fleet said...

I didn't like it much on initial viewing - seemed too shrill for me - but this is a good breakdown of the movie's virtues. You're right about it looking old, but that adds to the flick's grungy approach.

Real Queen of Horror said...

I only remember bits and pieces but I remember it did look like it was old!