As a fan of Yoshihiro Nishimura films in specific and weird Japanese films in general, I have taken to collecting such gems as Machine Girl, Tokoyo Gore Police, Alien vs. Ninja, Meatball Machine, Samurai Princess, Versus, Tokoyo Zombie, Hard Revenge Milly, and Oldboy and a bunch of other Takashi Miiki works. When I found out about the release of Helldriver, purchasing it was an easy decision to make. Truthfully, I am more than a little surprised that it didn't get more positive reviews by those who have watched it and posted here on Amazon. I mean, it's totall original, with plenty of weirdness, comedy, splatter, horror, and an absolutely absorbing rollercoaster storyline.
Kika (Yumiko Hara) is the heroine of the story - a young woman tormented by an awful sociopath of a mother (Eihi Shiina of Audition and Tokoyo Gore Police) and an equally deranged uncle - who wakes from a coma a year after an alien dust storm blankets Japan, turning its inhabitants into flesh-craving zombies. When she wakes, however, she is different. Someone has surgically fit her with a chainsaw samurai sword rig, the motor of which is attached to her chest. One finds out later that a secret branch of the government, unbeknownst to the Prime Minister, has altered Kika this way in an underground medical compound, all for the purpose of decreasing the number of infected citizens. And the proceeds to kick a lot of zombie ass, from enormous monster abominations to chainsaw-wielding undead to horrible patchworks of limbs and heads!
These aren't your average zombies, though. They have blood-red eyes, skin liked cracked plaster, a T-shaped (almost Y-shaped, actually) protrusion coming out of their foreheads, and sometimes some pretty disturbing body alterations. Now, the T-shaped protrusion, referred to in the film as the undeads' "horns," are the source of their continued living dead state, and removing them kills the zombies permanently. The T-shaped protrusion, tumor, or "horns" are also harvested by criminals to sell on the black market as a street drug, somewhat akin to cocaine it seems. What's more, the protrusion is also volatile and can explode if not handled properly by the smugglers.
Because of the zombie menace, Japan's government has a huge wall built to split the island nation in half, separating the uninfected citizens from the zombie-infested wasteland. Both the public and the government are torn between considering the zombies "deceased" and having them exterminated and declaring them "human" and preserving their human rights. Apparently it's a big issue.
Without spoiling the film's conclusion, the government eventually sends Kika and a small group of misfits into the zombie wasteland to eliminate the "zombie queen," who just so happens to be Kika's terrible mother turned even more evil and strange. The battles that ensue are visually stunning, creative as it gets, and more bizarre than one could possibly imagine without having seen the film. Believe me, you haven't ever had a film experience quite like this one!
From what I've learned recently, Sushi Typhoon/Nikkatsu and Well Go USA will be releasing some more films in the very near future - "Yakuza Weapon" and "Dead Ball." Personally, I can't wait to check 'em out!
So...there's my review for a movie that, in my opinion, hasn't received far enough praise.