Spooktoberfest Movie Review: Bio Zombie

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of horror movies, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I was, well, an extremely paranoid child. I’ve always been more into comedy and action when it comes to my entertainment but when I was a kid, the smallest bit of slasher-flick violence, no matter how ludicrous, would stick with me in the back of my brain and pop up when I was trying to get to sleep. Then again, given that I’ve already confessed to being irrationally terrified of the cover to Deadshot #4 and the voice of Sinistar, it probably doesn’t surprise anyone that Chucky from Child’s Play used to scare the living crap out of me.

Of course, eventually there came that magic summer when I turned 12 and realized one good football punt would send Chucky into the next county, and that’d pretty much be the end of that.

These days, I’ve come to enjoy a good scare every now and then, but I still like them the most when they involve a guy with, say, a big stone hand that punches out monsters or a handgun he uses to shoot ghosts in the face and a liberal amount of comedy thrown in for good measure.

Which brings us back around to Bio Zombie.

 

 

Unlike a lot of the movies that I talk about here on the ISB–most of which I pick up with the express intention of writing about them later–I’ve had a copy of Bio Zombie over on the shelf for years, for the simple reason that it is awesome. Imagine, if you will, what would’ve happened if Shaun of the Dead was made in Hong Kong in 1998, and instead of starring characters named Shaun and Ed, it was about two guys named Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee.

Yes: Woody Invincible. It is my parents’ greatest failing that this wasn’t the name I ended up with back in ’82. Well, that and my sister.

Anyway, like I said, it’s awesome. And I get the feeling that since I’ve already seen it, you guys–who were able to provide information on both Wild Zero and Sukeban Deka–probably have too. For those of you who haven’t, however, allow me to explain.

 

 

Our Heroes, ladies and gentlemen: Woody (Jordan Chen) on the left and Bee (Sam Lee) on the right. These two upstanding pillars of the community make their living selling bootleg VCDs at the mall, which appears to involve a lot of sitting around playing House of the Dead on Dreamcast and very little actual retail work.

In any case, the facial specialist being discussed above is, of course…

 

 

…fellow mall employee and all-around super-hottie Rolls (Angela Tong Ying-Ying). In addition to her work as MegaMan’s robot sister, Rolls spends the majority of her time hanging out with her requisite less-attractive friend Jelly and cruelly flirting with the Sushi Guy from down at the food court, who is played by a dude with the apt and awesome real name of Emotion Cheung. This will become important later because, as we all know, even a zombie can love.

Uh, spoiler warning. I guess.

Anyway, while Woody and Bee are running an errand for their boss wherein they encounter genunine royalty…

 

 

…sinister events are a-brewing!

See, at an abandoned warehouse across town, an actual group of cigar-smoking fat-cats are meeting with government types who, as government types are wont to do, are buying their latest innovation: A chemical disguised as a common soda that can turn a normal man into the shambling undead… the zombie!

I’m going to go ahead and guess that we all know where this is going.

Predictably, Test Zombie #1 breaks loose and, while it’s shot in the head, one of the military types who showed up to the product demonstration flees with the soda and is promptly run over by Woody and Bee, on their way back from picking up the boss’s car.

After a quick Weekend at Bernie’s moment, Woody and Bee try to do the right thing and grant the guy his last request by letting him drink the “soda,” then shove him into the trunk to be dealt with later and head back to the mall, only to get distracted by the more pressing concern of helping out a disgruntled customer:

 

 

By the time they remember the corpse stinking up the boss’s ride, find out it’s gone and grab some dinner with the ladies, it’s just in time for the place to close and get locked down for the evening.

Yes, my friends, you read it right: It’s Die Hard meets Mallrats… with Zombies. So brace yourselves, because it’s about to get awesome.

 

 

Of course, while the plague of zuvembies is spreading to the Food Court, Woody’s busy with petty theft, getting drunk, and making out with Rolls in the ladies room while poor Loi the Sushi Boy–already heartbroken over being spurned by Rolls–gets bitten, despite using a toilet seat to give his zombie The Business.

Needless to say, Sushi Boy quickly joins the ranks of the undead himself, but rather than just wandering around mindlessly eating brains, he goes to get Rolls a present. Because seriously, she’s that hot.

But it’s probably best to move on: Once everyone finally gets hip to the fact that the dead are mall-walking–after the best “split-screen” visual gag in zombie movie history when they’re interrogated by the cops–Woody and Bee are the only ones who know how to deal with things, thanks to the hours of training from the underappreciated Dreamcast:

 

 

Who’s laughing now, PlayStation 2?

Before long, Woody and Bee have met up with Jelly and Kui and Mrs. Kui–a local entrepreneur/douchebag and his beleagured ZMWILF–and once Woody saves Rolls from a team of zombie soccer players, the goal is clear: Getting out of a mall full of commerce-driven zombies alive.

As usual, small businessmen cannot be trusted, and once Kui throws Jelly to her death-by-devouring, it’s time to get serious:

 

 

The next scene is actually my favorite bit of the movie: As everybody gets equipped, the movie suddenly switches over to shots of them slowly rotating in place against a black background with a readout of their stats. Because really: Who doesn’t like a little Resident Evil (the game) in their Resident Evil (the movie)?

 

 

 

For the record, the group collectively idolizes both Hello Kitty and Bruce Lee, which means they’d probably fall right within my target readership.

From then on out, it’s pretty much let’s kill zombies with power tools time, which, of course, is the best time. Needless to say, Mr. and Mrs. Kui die after he finally grows a pair and tries to save her from being eaten (which doesn’t quite work out too well for either of ’em), Bee also tries to rescue Mrs. Kui (for she, like the sirens of old, lures men to their deaths with her business casual blouse and sensible skirt) and ends up dying after a genuinely touching moment, and Woody and Rolls make it through a horde of zombies and escape the mall alive.

…Of course, once they’re out, Rolls mistakes the Zombie Formula (remember that? From an hour ago?) for a soda and takes a big swig, and Woody–in true Romeo and Juliet (With Zombies!!) fashion–follows suit with a gulp of his own. It’s a pretty big downer for a movie that kicks off with its protagonists cracking jokes about a mechanic’s testicles, but hey, whaddaya want from a Chinese horror movie?

A happy ending?

27 thoughts on “Spooktoberfest Movie Review: Bio Zombie

  1. Oh man, that is a total downer. There was me expecting to watch this and be all gung-ho about power tools and zombie-blasting. Versus had a pretty “fuck you all for trying” ending too.

    Perhaps if I watch most of BioZombie and switch to the final scene of Wild Zero instead I should be fine.

  2. One night a few years back I was jonesing for a zombie movie. I entered the rental place two minutes before it closed, so I grabbed the first thing with zombies I could find. I would never have picked up BioZombie otherwise, and that’s a shame. There are other zombie flicks I like more, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt for the main characters as much as I have with BioZombie, which is shocking considering how reprehensible they are.

    And it featured a character hitting zombies with a garbage bag full of pop cans. How could I not love it?

  3. You could improve pretty much any movie by switching to the final scene of Wild Zero. Unless you’re watching some other movie where Guitar Wolf pulls a sword out of a guitar and cuts a spaceship in half, in which case it might just be confusing.

  4. Chris, there’s still one DVD copy left on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000059HA9/imdb-adbox/ )! There WERE two – but your review so inspired me I bought that one…. :D

    BTW, have you seen NAKED KILLER yet for another bit of Hong Kong mindroasting? I was turned on to it by MEDIA FUNHOUSE‘s Ed Grant, who used to occasionally shoot his “higher-end” (i.e., when he wanted to use chromakey or lower thirds) episodes at my former office/studio in Greenwich Village. The movie is…an experience, to say the least….

    Can’t wait to expose myself to BIO ZOMBIE,

    Best,
    Tim Liebe
    Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce – and co-writer of Marvel’s WHITE TIGER comic (TPB out in bookstores everywhere!)

  5. ZMWILF?

    Zombie Married Woman I’d Like to F___?

    Brings a whole new class of acronyms to the classifieds.

  6. Wow. when Sims reviews obscure cinema, life is good. Except for zombies and aliens aboard the ship Guitar Wolf cuts through.

    Mr. Sims, what’s your stance of Godzilla Final Wars?

  7. I’m thinking Zuvembie Mall-Walker ILF.

    Heh. Zuvembie. I love that word.

    I gotta see this. Zombie movies should have downer endings.

    Call the number on the drum!

  8. Yeah, BioZombie is pretty good. My favorite part is when Loi the Emo Zombie helps the survivors push start their car at the end as they make their escape. You will believe a zombie can love!

  9. One of the best movies to come out of Hong Kong cinema EVER. Jordan Chan and Sam Lee are great together; I wish that they would have done more movies together, that were as successful as Bio-Zombie.

    Like Rolls, my idol is also Hello Kitty. No one can resist the power of the cute!

  10. I actually watched Bio Zombie a few years before Shaun of the Dead came out. Consequently, the entire time I was watching Shaun, I kept thinking how much better it could be if the main characters were two spastic Asian VCD salesmen instead of two overweight British guys.

  11. Got dang, fella. I gots to find me thos movie. I concur…it is good to have you back, sir.

  12. I thought it was Zombie Movie Wife…

    And you could argue that the entire movie is symbolic of the fight against inevitable progress and change in one’s life, and the ending is about the inevitable moment we all have to accept what life throws at us.

    Or I’m completely full of crap. Either or.

  13. I’m w/Twilightwars, Chris – I know what my opinion of GODZILLA: FINAL WARS was, but I also await your takedown w/bated breath…. :)

    Seriously, good to have you back. How’s your Mom convalescing?

    Best,
    Tim Liebe
    We need Punisher punching out Godzilla!

  14. Technically, shouldn’t that line be “Must be the kings of balls?”
    I mean, we can’t be talking about just one ball here.
    Unless he lost one, and the other one’s compensating.
    But in that case, it really shouldn’t be in the running, since it’s got an unfair advantage.

    But do unfair advantages count in ball-run governments?
    Testiculocracies, if you will?
    I suppose they don’t. After all, this is a ball kingship, not a ball bicameral system…

  15. “the group collectively idolizes both Hello Kitty and Bruce Lee, which means they’d probably fall right within my target readership”

    Oh hell, yes.

    And madd propps for the Dreamcast love. Best console ever. Or maybe it ties with the SNES?

  16. If it means anything, the cover of Deathshot scares me, too, but I think it’s more of a startling “Yiiyyyy!!” fear than a creepy, shuddering fear. *looks at cover again* No, it’s a creepy, shuddering fear, too. Hmmm…

    And the cover of BioZombie looks like it was drawn by Alex Ross for something called “Justice and Crisis on Infinite Zombie Earths”, so extra points for you!

  17. Have you seen the “sort-of” sequel, Bio-Cops?

    Not that great, but it DOES have Triad zombies and Sam Lee stuck for a good chunk of the film pretending to be a zombie, (because it seems if you growl, make weird faces, shamble and wave your arms like you’re having a seizure, zombies are too stupid to notice you ain’t really dead).

  18. I expect all my Chinese massages to have happy endings, so I expect the same thing from Chinese horror movies.

  19. I HAVE seen Bio-Cops, and it wasn’t nearly as cool as this movie sounds. The Triad were inadvertantly hilarious, though.

  20. I’ve seen this film, and heartily concur with everything you’ve said here, Chris.

    Oh my GOD, I totally identify with being a paranoid child. As I blogged about here, I was attracted to a lot of horror and sci fi fic as a wee girl, and by the age of nine was reading H.P. Lovecraft.

    Then, one fateful winter night, still at age nine, I read his novella The Whisperer in Darkness in one sitting. I was so terrified when I closed the book that I was literally frozen on my bed for a good fifteen minutes, and then, being nine, I decided to go get my father, who was asleep in his bedroom down the hall.

    I made it halfway down the hall before I literally fainted in terror (natch, the house was completely dark). It’s one of the three times in my life that I’ve fainted, and the other two times were due to severe pain.

    Like all sane people, after reading The Whisperer in Darkness I have developed a permanent aversion to large crustaceans. If you click through to the blog entry I linked to above, you’re going to see a picture from hugecrab.com that will give you NIGHTMARES for weeks.

    Just…a warning. :-)