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Wild Zero

Thrill, Speed, and Stupid Zombies" is the tagline, but "Wild Zero" also offers flying saucers, pee cams, fire-breathing motorcycles, bad rock songs and some spontaneous combustion worthy of "Spinal Tap," among its generally amusing charms. Pic has everything the midnight crowd could possibly want, although such items generally have a hard time hitting other parts of the theatrical clock.

With:
With: Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, Bass Wolf, Endo Masashi, Inamiya Makoto, Sato Masao, Namiki Shiro, Shitichai Kwancharu, Nakajo Haruka, Morishita Yoshiyuki.

Thrill, Speed, and Stupid Zombies” is the tagline, but “Wild Zero” also offers flying saucers, pee cams, fire-breathing motorcycles, bad rock songs and some spontaneous combustion worthy of “Spinal Tap,” among its generally amusing charms. Pic has everything the midnight crowd could possibly want, although such items generally have a hard time hitting other parts of the theatrical clock.

“Rock and roll has no boundaries, nationalities or genders,” is the battle cry of Guitar Wolf (all the musicians, and musical actors, go by such names here). It also sums up the movie, which sort of follows a pompadoured rocker (funny Endo Masashi) as he fights off zombies and homophobia on his way to true love with a lithe young woman who’s really a boy.

The zombs, and said saucers, have something to do with the recent crash-landing of a giant meteorite. Not that this interests a venal manager-cum-drug dealer, resplendent in hot pants and Prince Valiant wig, who’s singularly determined to wreak revenge on his erstwhile band (also called Guitar Wolf) for betraying him, and also shooting off his fingers.

There’s a subplot with a bickering couple who actually become nicer when they die, and helping mete out the old ultra-violence (which is very gory) is an Amazonian arms merchant adept at plowing down the undead in her armor-plated Humvee. Eventually, all the characters meet in a shed packed with weapons, but the action stops when one is incensed to learn that none of the others has seen “Night of the Living Dead.”

Big finish pits our stoic guitarist, who never takes off his shades, against a huge mothership. Western viewers will definitely get a kick out of seeing the Wolf-man, at his most demonstrative, scream out “Lock and lole!” in English, while hoisting his ax like a samurai sword.

Colorful pic was smoothly shot in Thailand, with Thai military and their families standing, and staggering, in for an army of zombies. Helmer Tetsuro Takeuchi is best known for his flashy rock vids, so he has a built-in Asian following. Cult status is assured.

Wild Zero

Japan

Production: A Gaga Communications presentation of a Dragon Pictures (Tokyo) production, in association with Takeuchi Entertainment. Produced by Kaichiro Furata. Directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi. Screenplay, Satoshi Takagi.

Crew: Camera (color), Motoki Kobayashi; editor, Tomoe Kubota; music, Guitar Wolf; production designer, Akihiko Imamura; sound (Dolby), Koichi Hayasaki. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival, Sept. 30, 2000. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, Bass Wolf, Endo Masashi, Inamiya Makoto, Sato Masao, Namiki Shiro, Shitichai Kwancharu, Nakajo Haruka, Morishita Yoshiyuki.

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