Rika: The Zombie Killer (2008) - This outrageously silly film from Japan is brought your way by writer and director Ken'ichi Fujiwara, who has a dozen or so directing credits on IMDB but no reviews of his movies by users. So either the credits are questionable to really obscure or not available in the United States. Some research shows that some of his films are priced high and hard to get but that the Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion series is out there. Affordability though means you can check out his 2010 entry The Sultry Assassin: The Aphrodisiac Kill available at Amazon for $15.
The entry we are looking at today is wild and gory and comical all at the same time. There is this Power Ranger vibe it has where the monsters are ridiculously over the top, villains and the heroes more endowed with skill than they should be. That said this is not a clean Power Rangers where no one is really hurt in the fights that are more like choreographed dances. There is blood and guts and it is not for kid, plenty of fake blood spewing everywhere.
The story starts with an opening scene to establish the zombie outbreak, as a lab technician Takashi looks around his lab for a workmate. He leaves the building and finds him alright, but the poor guy is already a zombie. A bite from the workmate before he is disposed of and the technician is seen turning into a zombie himself. This is not the last time we will see him zombie or not.
We have a few different characters who will end up coming together and so introductions are in order. There are two school girls, Rika (Risa Kudo) her friend Nami, who decide to visit Rika's grandfather Ryhei to get advice about the problems she is having with her parents. Grandfather moved away a while back and although Rika is unaware of it, did so with a beautiful young woman named Sayaka (Tsugumi Nagasawa) who has gotten the old man to marry her. Sayaka's intentions are to slowly poison the old man and claim his personal fortune and insurance money. Working with her is her lover, who is posing as her brother Tomoya they feel they are close to sealing the deal. Through interactions with zombies at the bus station Tomoya, Rika and Nami end up traveling together and arrive at the house as the zombies start spreading into the area. Rika is surprized to learn her Grandfather is married and even more surprised at his state of health. The old man sits drooling barely able to communicate to the outside world. He is talked about early in the film as a brilliant surgeon so Rika is really shocked at his condition. Besides these people there are three beautiful maids at the house.
It is a strange story from here and after some initial zombie craziness we get the main plot points. Staying alive as the zombies start to infiltrate the property is the main point. In a strange scene the three maids are seen showing there breasts just prior to zombies coming in and attacking them. It was like someone said realized the film might sell better with tits on display and could not think of where to fit them in. The comic relief guys arrive as the zombies attack the house. Rika is bitten as Grandfather comes out of his stupor and using his sword from the mantle saves the group from certain death. Ryhei has to cut off Rika's arm to stop the zombie desease from taking her and being a great doctor he takes her into the other room to perform a surgery that will save her life and set up the rest of the story. He attaches the arm of the fictional zombie killer to her and with it comes the magical abilities to be one bad assed zombie killer.
There are a couple subplots that also are going on. On one hand Takashi is telling the group that they have to defeat Grorian to end the zombie invasion, apparently if you kill him everyone will return to normal? Takashi also has a secret, he craves human flesh and although he has intellect he can not resist the chance to eat a fellow character if he gets the chance to be alone with them. Yuji is telling them that in cases like this outbreak if it is not controlled in 24 hours the US government will nude the city. So the clock is ticking and has been for some time. He does not trust the Takashi story and tries to warn the others to no avail. On top of this wave after wave of zombie arrive and the fighting continues throughout. In the end as the different characters are slowly whittled away and turned to zombies it is inevitable that Rika face Grorian in a final battle.
When the battle is through and suddenly everyone who was dead or zombie is now returned to happy health it is a cruel twist that as they laugh and hug, the final twist happens. Even I who love these silly films was disappointed by the ending. As the final credits rolled I was saying out loud, "Come On, Really?" Oh well still I have to say even with the bad makeup on the zombies and the cartooninsh approach I sort of enjoyed the film. SO...
Rating (5.2) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others.