Friday, 7 September 2012

Film: Biozombie (1998) review

When it comes to underrated Chinese zombie films from the late nineties in which Lucozade has been tainted by some top-secret military bio-weapon, one of my favourites is Biozombie (1998).

Quirky, funny and lacking in the usual gore and violence of a traditional zombie flick, Biozombie is perhaps Honk Kong’s answer to Romero’s seminal Dawn of the Dead. Set almost entirely in a shopping mall, the film focusing around two video bootleggers who, during the course of the film, mug, scam and screw over as many people as possible, but you end up warming to them; their characters are complex and arresting. Then the zombies come. I’m not going to spoil the story, but with themes of survival, unrequited love and domestic violence all interwoven into the story, you know that it’s going to be interesting viewing.

A word of warning: you need to watch this film in the original Chinese, as I recently had the misfortune of watching a dubbed version. When I realised early on in the film that the names of the characters had been literally translated from the Chinese (a girl called Sushi becomes Rolls, yes, Rolls), it was going to be rough ride. With the two main characters sounding like bad parodies of Bill and Ted, you lose all empathy for them and wish zombie death upon them before the zombies have even turned up. Far from the emotionally gripping film as described above, something is lost in translation.

This article was originally published by the Daily Scoundrel in 2009.

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