Hong Kong 1998
Director: Wilson Yip
For the most part, nobody does zombie movies like the Americans. Sure, Lucio Fulci gave us some good Italian in the 1970s/80s and Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead showed that the British know the genre well, but American George Romero is the undisputed king of zombies: always has been, always will be. That said, Bio Zombie from Hong Kong is a helluva lot of fun, even if heavily influenced by Romero’s earlier films. This is a film that wears its references openly. Half Dawn of the Dead, half House of the Dead videogame (which the characters play in the movie), Bio-Zombie at some points transforms into a live videogame, with powerups and on-screen displays.
Bio-Zombie is too funny to be straight horror. Like similar zombie comedies (such as Return of the Living Dead, Braindead, and the afore-mentioned Shaun of the Dead), the emphasis is clearly on the comedy rather than the horror. In fact, the zombies sometimes seem almost an afterthought, as if they wandered into a zany comedy.
Though very low-budget (one of the symptoms of the zombie infection seems to be a covering in flour, for instance), the effects are pretty good and the film itself is well-made, with quick editing and interesting camera angles. The acting is good as well, for the most part; the film even manages to garner sympathy for an obsessed stalker zombie, a tough task in any movie.
Bio-Zombie is a fun distraction, clever and with some good laughs. Though not a classic, it’s worth a look for fans of the genres, both zombie and Hong Kong cinema.Colin Le Sueur