asian horror

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)


With the word “gore” right in the title, one would expect a fair amount to show up in the movie.  Well I’ve got good news for you – the title delivers and then some. 

Tokyo Gore Police is the directorial debut for the multitalented Yoshihiro Nishimura, a name you might not recognize, but if you’re a lover of Asian horror, you’ve probably encountered some of his work.  In addition to screenwriting, Nishimura is best known for his proficiency in, wait for it – makeup and special effects.  Sometimes referred to as the “Tom Savini of Japan,” his effects work can be seen in such cult films as Machine Girl and Suicide Club.  If you’re like me, then you’ll certainly appreciate the nearly nonstop spray of blood and guts that grace almost every second of this film.  Gorehounds, gather ‘round … this is a film you cannot afford to pass up.


Sweaty’s Stats



Some, but the tits are freaky monster boobs, mostly.  And there’s plenty of weird fetish stuff throughout.  Leggy Ruka looks damn hot in her short-skirted cop gear though.


Oh god yes.  Absolutely drowning in it.  Dead Alive levels of blood.

Scare Factor

Moderate.  It’s a little freaky in parts, but this one’s more on the comedic level.  The effects are good and gross though.




Picture it: Japan, 2057.  A virus created by the evil genius “Key Man” is sweeping the populace, mutating humans into genetic nightmares, referred to as “Engineers.”  With their hands full hunting these monsters, the privatized Tokyo police task force of “Engineer Hunters” seeks to wipe them out.


Because in Japan, every naming scheme must adhere to the Rule of Making Everything Sound Like a Goddamn Cartoon.

The movie centers around Ruka, a sexy, mentally unhinged police officer with a flair for slicing up freakshows in the name of justice.  Well, justice and revenge – there’s a daddy-issue subplot interlaced here; to give Ruka a reason for being a little more psychopathic than the other Engineer Hunters, the film actually opens with a flashback to her kind, loving police officer dad … whose head promptly bursts open like an overripe, blood-filled peach.  The tragedy has left poor Ruka with *gasp* a desire to cut herself deeper than the average Simple Plan fan.

So it all seems fairly standard, right?  Future setting, monsters taking over, a hot special agent taking down the maniacs … nothing too strange about the setup.  However, remember that this is Japan.  And in Japanese horror, nothing – nothing – is ever normal in these goddamn movies.


Case and point.

First of all, the police are actually encouraged, for some Japanese reason, to sadistically torture these monsters, who if you remember, are actually people afflicted with a virus.  Second, and this just so, so awesome – these Engineers are so named because any wound inflicted on their bodies causes weaponized machinery to sprout from the wound.  Yep.


Blues Campbell, eat your heart out.

Dour-faced Ruka goes about her job, not seeming to take any pleasure from her work.  But things are about to get more interesting.  We cut to a whorehouse, following the madam from the job to a public bathroom, where a bad end is waiting for her…


Live by the box, die by the box.

With a whore-killing madman on the loose, naturally Ruka has no choice but to go undercover as a prostitute.  After some good ol’ Japanese subway molestation, Ruka goes all vengeful female on the assgrabber, then resumes searching for the killer.


Street justice, Japan style.

A strange encounter on the subway reveals that the man with the Ringu hairstyle has the same eyes as her father’s killer.  She follows him to discover yet another victim in a box.  Heading into another alley, she faces off in blood-soaked battle with the dreaded Key Man, the Big Bad Engineer of our story.  He gets the drop on her and implants a “key,” a fleshy, key-shaped tumor used to turn one into an Engineer.  But will this stop Ruka from hunting down her monstrous brethren?  Hell no!  Determined to continue fighting the good fight, she uses her new powers to aid her in destroying every last one of the bastards.



Ruka spends the second half of the movie hunting down Key Man and angsting out over trying to keep her new affliction a secret from her cop bros.  Meanwhile, we’re introduced to a sexy party with all manner of just … just fucking insane shit.  The screencap below doesn’t even do this scene justice.  Take note people, because this right here is why we love Japanese horror in particular, and why these films are in a sexually deviant, utterly batshit crazy class by themselves.


This is the reason the term “whyboner” exists.

Key Man is, of course, behind the monstrosities at Club Whyboner, and it isn’t long before Ruka’s back on his trail.  After changing one of her cop buddies into an Engineer who makes Oderus Urungus’s cuttlefish look like a minnow, Key Man’s machinations effectively wipe out a good chunk of the Tokyo Police.  Oblivious, Ruka does manage to find Key Man in his apartment, where the two have a little heart-to-heart.  It’s here that we learn of Key Man’s tragic backstory, and how his and Ruka’s fates are intertwined.  I must say, there’s some nice twists and turns to the story here, and it’s a little deeper than you might expect from such a film.  Key Man attempts the, “you and I are the same” bad guy speech, but Ruka ain’t having any of that.  She splits him in two but doesn’t remove his key, so she leaves, because fuck it, we need a sequel.

Between a montage of cops laughing and murdering people, out of nowhere comes a boobalicious hottie with a giant naginata (that’s a polearm, for you fantasy geeks) to join in the fight, because you can never have too many hot chicks carving motherfuckers up.  And so begins an Engineer slaying free-for-all.  Sort of.  The cops, who have apparently completely lost their minds, are just killing and torturing everyone on sight, just in case.


Also known as the LAPD style of enforcement.

Ruka returns to her city in chaos, her friend drawn and quartered, and she goes full Engineer on everyone, corrupt cop and evil Engineer alike.  It all comes down to the final battle between Ruka and the Police Chief, but before that she has to take out a couple of minibosses.  First up is the M.E. and his fist gun.  And by “fist gun,” I mean he has a gun that actually shoots fists.  Which is pretty much the most badass thing in the history of everything.  Just typing that sentence almost got me knocked up.

Second is the amputee fight, which, given her new sword attachments and unnerving gyrations, she makes Voldo seem like a productive member of society.


And now I’ve just realized that someone, somewhere, is probably writing Voldo/TGP Amputee slash fiction. Fuck you internet, you’ve ruined me.

The boss fight is as entertainingly ridiculous as it is bloody.  The police chief character is just great throughout, and this scene does not disappoint.  After the battle we get a few teasers, implying that the battle is over, but the war rages on.  Tokyo Gore Police 2, anyone?



Final Thoughts

Maybe it was the copious amounts of alcohol in my system, but on first viewing I had no idea what the fuck was going on in this movie, at least plot-wise – but don’t get me wrong, that’s not a dig on the movie itself.  There was just so much gratuitous, arterial-spraying blood and borderline sadistic levels of violence, the entire film is gorehound eye candy.  I was literally in a state of sensory overload, and I loved every minute of it.  Upon a slightly more sober viewing, I took in a few more of the details.  And while it may take more than a single viewing to fully appreciate the insanity of this film, I was no less entertained the second time around.  This is a movie I feel that I could watch over and over again.

With a running time of nearly two hours, impressively there is not a single, dull moment in this film.  This movie doesn’t make any attempt at being realistic; instead, it pushes the boundaries of taste, of strangeness and gut-spilling effects.  I mean, their fucking M.E., a character who is barely in the movie, is a hunchbacked, fauxhawked nutcase with a metal eye patch and a saw blade for a hand.  The police chief?  He wears a similar getup as the other cops, only with giant Oni-style devil horns and a megaphone attached to the front of his armor.  Oh, and he has a bondage-wearing quadruple amputee on a dog leash by his side, who blows him while he watches goreporn.  This entire movie is absolutely bananas.

Like I said, bananas

The special effects, while totally over the top, are fan-fucking-tastic.  Nishimura, in my opinion, is certainly worthy of the Tom Savini comparison.  The movie isn’t very old (2008) and so in addition to it being in the hands of a very capable director, we are treated to some of the best horror effects Japan has had to offer in recent years.

Overall Tokyo Gore Police has all the elements of what I love about Asian horror: a sexy, badass leading lady (played by Eihi Shiina, who you may remember from Audition), gallons of blood and guts, and outrageously fetish-laden sex scenes.  All topped off with a great sense of humor.  The television commercials sprinkled throughout are a riot, from anti-harakiri PSAs to ads for designer wrist-cutting implements.  This movie is Japanese sci-fi splatter comedy, at its absolute best.


Overall Rating: 9/10, highly recommended 


IMDB for this gorefest

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