If The Ramones had decided to follow Rock'n'Roll High School with a film for Troma, the results might have been a little like Wild Zero. It's an exuberantly silly Japanese punk rock zombie flick, and it's good to see a film that lives up to its tagline for once: 'Trash And Chaosssss!'
The band in question are Guitar Wolf (members: Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf), who play a demented high speed, high volume rock'n'roll while looking seriously cool in shades and leather. Their biggest fan is a kid called Ace (Masashi Endô), who inadvertently saves them during a stand-off with their gun-toting manager. Thus Ace and Guitar Wolf (the man) become 'rock'n'roll blood brothers', and Ace is given a magic whistle which he is to blow whenever he's in trouble. Good job really, cos that very day UFOs start encircling the earth and suddenly there are ravenous zombies everywhere. Why? Who knows? Point is, only Guitar Wolf and the power of rock'n'roll can save the day.
There are various other characters - a sexy smuggler, a trio of idiot teens, a sweet girl for whom Ace falls (and who hides a bizarre secret), but the film is never nearly as interesting when Guitar Wolf are off-screen. They can't act (hell, they can barely play their instruments), but moments like the one where they decimate a horde of zombies with a shower of super-powered plectrums more than make up for this – and anyway, who needs acting when you've got a guitar round your neck and lines like "Love has no borders, nationalities or genders!"?
Because the band don’t really figure for much of the first half, Wild Zero takes a while to get going, and director Tetsuro Takeuchi lets many scenes go on too long. Even when the living dead make an appearance and start chewing gorily on anyone who gets in their way, it's not until Ace blows his whistle to summon his punk rock idols that things get exciting.
The budget is clearly low (most of the film is shot in the countryside), but the zombie make-up is quite effective and there are some cool CGI-assisted exploding heads. In fact, most of the budget seems to have been lavished on the climax, in which Guitar Wolf confronts a giant UFO, and we discover that his guitar also doubles as a deadly energy sword. Or something. Idiotic, messy, but kind of fun.