Services like Netflix and YouTube have made the most recent films readily available to anyone. Can we find anything of value in the muck of b-movies, ambitious failures and exploitative crap-fests? We’re going to find out in Dispatches from Instant View Purgatory.
What’re we watching: “Tokyo Gore Police,” a 2008 Japanese action film that’s probably best described as splatter porn.
What does it look like: Think about the weirdest dream you ever had. Now add chainsaws, dancing police dispatch women, schoolgirl outfits, tumors shaped like keys and a patch-eyed coroner. You have the first 10 minutes of this movie.
What’s going on: It is barely worth explaining but in the future, Japan has privatized its police force to deal with the threat of “engineers,” people who modify their body so they can grow weapons out of their wounds. Ruka is an elite police officer and engineer hunter, and she’s sent to track down the new serial killer in town. Did I mention she inexplicably wears a schoolgirl outfit? And that this is all in live action?
Why haven’t we heard of this: Unless you frequent foreign language film festivals, you didn’t catch the American screening of “Tokyo Gore Police.” Since then, it’s become something of an underground cult success.
What works: “Tokyo Gore Police” is unbelievably, joyously perverse, violent and bizarre. There’s more blood when one man has his hands cut off for groping Ruka then in most movies I’ve seen in the last 10 years. It’s a gleeful joy to watch, particularly with its sparse CGI and low-fi aesthetic.
What doesn’t: There are times when the movie is a little too perverse for my taste. There are several scenes involving underage and/or mutant prostitutes, several people graphically having their eyes cut out and some particularly gruesome torture.
Skip to: There are so many great choices that it’s hard to pick one. Instead, I’ll answer some questions you might have about “Tokyo Gore Police.” Does a woman’s vagina turn into an alligator? Can you use a chainsaw as a grappling hook? Do people shoot orange blood out of their wrists? Does a woman at any point shoot acid from her nipples? Does anyone use a strange phallus-shaped gun that comes from their groin? Is there a gas-masked wearing gimp who walks around on swords? Is there a gun that shoots human fists? Does a major bad guy explain his plans in a cartoon? The answer to all of these questions is yes.
The Verdict: “Tokyo Gore Police” isn’t good, but there are few movies that are this much fun. If you’ve got the stomach for it, sit down and have a blast.
What’s coming up next: Remember that movie about crazy people doing crazy things with Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it? Yeah, we’re watching “Manic.” What movie are you thinking of?