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Zombie Ass

May 11, 2012

Scatology lesson doesn’t take itself serious enough

Zombie Ass (2011)

The lack of poker face may seem like a silly argument against a film called Zombie Ass. Yet, this is the main issue with famous ass-fetishist Noboru Iguchi’s latest offering. Zombie Ass, while high on bad taste, is neither very funny nor truly offensive.

Marking a return to the roots for the AV-director gone cult hero Iguchi, Zombie Ass is very much what you’d expect from the pre Karate-Robo Zaborgar era Iguchi. The latter marked a successful mainstream entry with passable production values and solid technical execution. Zombie Ass compensates the lack of both with a maximum delivery of of asses, zombies, and crap.

The premise is simple: a group of youngsters who never saw The Evil Dead travel to the countryside, only to be attacked by crap-covered zombies with sharp teeth not only in their mouth, but also in their asses. Add parasites, a cabin, and a shotgun, and you’ve got a movie.

Zombie Ass struggles with Iguchi’s usual shortcomings. Like in his past works, the director’s wild imagination has frequently to battle a much lesser technical execution. Compare Iguchi’s works to the gore circuses of Yoshihiro Nishimura, and you’ll see how much of a difference more dynamic editing, punchier sound use, and superior sense of synchronizing action to heart pounding score, can make.

As an Iguchi factory product, Zombie Ass is not the weakest one, though. In fact the film’s visual, film-like look is even notably more pleasing than that of most Japanese gore cheapos. The disappointment is rather that the film ignores the opportunity to compensate mediocre tech credits with uncompromising nature. Instead Iguchi takes his shit storm over the top and through the roof, underlining the comedy aspect at every turn and has his actors deliver their lines painfully over-the-top. What could’ve been a clumsy but nasty film is now merely clumsy.

All criticism aside, Zombie Ass not an entirely bad movie. The premise alone is enough to spark light to an exploitation fan’s heart. Genre fans will find many bits and pieces to appreciate, most importantly Yoshihiro Nishimura’s skillful gore and make-up effects that accompany the regrettable CGI work. Thankfully, the latter is less visible in Zombie Ass than might be expected, partly due to the very dark visual appearance of the film.

Casting has its hits and misses, including fan favorites Asami (ass zombie), Demo Tanaka (crap zombie), Kentaro Kishi (maniac), and pretty girl Arisa Nakamura who makes a solid lead. The 50 Kaitenz rocker Danny, on the other hand, merely has the audience sympathise with the zombies who try to eat his character.

Although Zombie Ass will no doubt be seen by audiences more because of its title and the director’s name than critical perception, it’s worth noting it’s another product more in the Robo-Geisha alley than anything resembling Tokyo Gore Police. Fans of genuinely black humor and dark splatter will have to keep on waiting – Zombie Ass doesn’t have the balls to tell a joke without explaining the catch at every turn.

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