HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Heiress, The
Cold Pursuit
Firestorm
Dogs of War, The
Holy Mountain, The
Piercing
Under Fire
Jennifer on My Mind
People on Sunday
Lethal Weapon 4
Downhill Racer
Emily
Odette
Escape Room
Across the Pacific
Madeline's Madeline
You're Gonna Miss Me
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
Derby
Mortal Engines
Union City
Knife+Heart
Little Stranger, The
Sauvage
Watermelon Man
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
   
 
Newest Articles
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
   
 
  Bio-Zombie As contagious as laughterBuy this film here.
Year: 1998
Director: Wilson Yip Wai-Shun
Stars: Jordan Chan, Sam Lee, Emotion Cheung Kam-Ching, Lai Yui-Cheung, Angela Tong Ying-Ying, Lai Suk-Yin, Chow Hoi-Kwong, Lok Daat-Wa, Chan Chi-Leung, Tam Suk Mooi
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bio-Zombie opens rather wittily with a gag that pokes fun at Chinese viewers’ preference for watching movies on crappy bootleg VCDs, by pretending the opening credits have been recorded in a cinema complete with chatty audience and heads gliding past the screen. The story proper concerns Woody Invincible (Jordan Chan) and Crazy Bee (Sam Lee), a couple of teenage slackers with perfect porn star names leading aimless, dead-end lives. Stuck in a Hong Kong shopping mall, selling bootleg VCDs these cynical losers pass the time swaggering like triad wannabes, failing to charm a pair of flirty girls named Rolls (Angela Tong Ying-Ying) and Jelly (Lai Suk-Yin), and annoying obnoxious triad electronics dealer Kui (Lai Yui-Cheung). Until the day they literally run into a government agent who has purchased a deadly bio-weapon from Iraqi arms dealers: a virus that turns victims into ravenous zombies, disguised as a harmless soft drink. Misunderstanding his warning about the drink, our luckless duo pour a sip down the injured mans throat and take him back to the mall. Soon enough the zombie virus starts to spread unleashing all kinds of undead mayhem.

You can count the number of Hong Kong zombie movies on one hand, but those there are remain distinctive including Kung Fu Zombie (1982) and Witch from Nepal (1986). The latter restricts flesh-eaters to its third act but still scores a pretty high cool factor rating since none other than Chow Yun-Fat blasts the undead, using magical powers no less. Bio-Zombie was the first Hong Kong horror movie to display significant awareness of George A. Romero’s socio-political approach to zombie mayhem. Although muted when compared to the likes of Dawn of the Dead (1979) (from whence it obviously pilfers its zombies-in-a-shopping mall concept), there remains a clear satirical bent given this concerns a post-handover Hong Kong slowly degenerating with mindless zombies and the film is deeper than the zany Asian novelty flick English-speaking horror fans often dismiss it as.

Though not without precedent - Night of the Comet (1984) springs to mind - Bio-Zombie arguably predates Shaun of the Dead (2004) in pioneering the zombie-themed slacker comedy. Jordan Chan, who found fame in the Young and Dangerous (1995) series of pretty-boy triad movies, and Sam Lee, star of the edgy, award-winning drama Made in Hong Kong (1997), are wholly convincing as cynical, fast-talking, obnoxious teens who drift from petty crime to fumbled sexual encounters. Initially these are not likeable guys, going so far as to anonymously mug Rolls when she rebuffs their advances. Yet a spark of decency lies buried deep within, hinted at in wry scenes where Woody sincerely apologises for forgetting Crazy’s birthday and bonds with a big dumb security guard (Chan Chi-Leung) over their mutually dead-end lives.

Unusually for a Hong Kong horror movie the pace is not frantic but builds slowly, taking time to establish the characters and demonstrate how a world of callous triads and self-important cops would naturally spawn disaffected teens like Woody and Crazy. Even as the zombie crisis unmasks Kui as a self-deluded hypocrite (so rotten he shoves one character in front of a rampaging zombie), it brings out the latent heroism in Woody and Crazy who risk their lives to save all. Interestingly, the film further implies that decency is not solely reserved for the living, since even after lovelorn sushi chef Lai (Emotion Cheung Kam-Ching) falls victim to a zombie bite he continues defending Rolls against a zombie soccer team.

While the zombie makeup is inconsistent, ranging from the effective to the sub-par, director Wilson Yip Wai-Shun stages some thrilling action and suspense scenes. Wai-Shun went on to great success with increasingly slicker, big-budget vehicles for martial arts star Donnie Yen, but this offbeat early effort is arguably a more substantial work with winning gags and some surprisingly affecting scenes. He deftly balances the comedic and horrific elements by staging an hilarious Resident Evil spoof videogame battle (complete with onscreen statistics rating characters weapons, sex drives and personal info - e.g. Woody’s love of Japanese lingerie models) and going for an audaciously downbeat ending that proves more touching and poetic than many “serious” zombie flicks.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1911 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: