Thursday, October 10, 2019

chan-tastic.

A few years back I did a few of the wee drawings - and wrote some words - for writer Andy Ross' undead opus DEAD FUNNY : THE RISE OF THE ZOM-COM, a hardy paperback celebrating 30 years of the zombie-themed comedy, it re-traces the path that led to Edgar Wright's benchmark 2004 production, Shaun Of The Dead and features overviews of such classics as Return Of The Living Dead, BrainDead, Bio-Zombie, amongst others.

It's well worth a read and not just because of my contributions.

Tho' there is that.


And why am I telling you this?


Because this review is originally from there so if you like it you can buy it.*

And buy the movie too cos it's an absolute belter.



Bio-Zombie (1998).
Dir: Wilson Yip.

Cast: Jordan Chan, Sam Lee, Angela Tong, Emotion Cheung, Suk-Mui Tam, Yiu Cheung Lai, Frankie Chan and Bonnie Lai Suk-Yin.






Welcome to the whacked-out world of Woody Invincible (HK superstar and official mancrush Jordan Chan) and Crazy Bee (top drawer comedic sidekick Sam Lee), two  professional wide boys who make their money selling bootlegged DVDs at a small stall in the popular New Trend Plaza Mall.

When not selling knock off goods ("Tracking's dodgy mate!"), gambling and hitting teenager customers on the head they pass the time picking on bespectacled Sushi bar worker Loi (Cheung), avoiding run-ins with the grumpy  Mr. Kui (Cheung Lai) the owner of the mobile phone shop and, in Woody's case flirting with the button-nosed beautician Rolls (Tong) much to Loi's chagrin.

With the main characters introduced it's time to get down to the plot good and proper and catch up with a couple of nefarious black market arms dealers who are in the middle of selling a scary bio-weapon that turns people into the undead to a couple of sinister secret service types.


ABBA have let themselves go....




Obviously the shadowy government agency are interested in the weapon but insist on a demonstration and lo and behold the scary sellers just happen to have an infected zombie with them, which is kinda lucky I guess.

Their luck is about to run out tho' as no sooner is the zombie let loose than it manages to chomp down of two of the agents and mortally wounding the other before being shot in the face.

Realizing that the whole situation may be a wee big difficult to explain the arms dealers make a swift exit leaving the bioweapon (cunningly disguised as a bottle of Lucozade) behind.

Could things get any worse?

Well Woody, on his way back to deliver his bosses newly repaired car accidentally runs over the prone agent and quickly jumps out of the vehicle to see if he can help (or at least persuade him not to press charges) as the poor guy gestures to Woody to come nearer (I reckon he's going to whisper 'I love you' to him I mean c'mon he's only flesh and blood) our hapless hero mistakes the actions for the guy having a dry throat and quickly pours the Lucozade into his mouth before bungling him into the back of the car and driving back to the mall.

On arrival Woody desperately tries to find Crazy Bee for a wee bit of moral support leaving the injured agent sloppily leaking onto the back seat.

It's not long tho' before the guy is totally zombified (is that even a word? Well it is now) and wandering off into the mall in search of fresh meat.

Realizing that he'll need to get the car fixed if he doesn't want a doing Woody sells the (by now undead) agents top of the range mobile phone to Mr Kui  but still doesn't have enough money to fix the car so alongside Crazy Bee decide to steal Rolls purse and jewelery whilst she's busy doing Mrs Kui's (the marvelously mumsy Suk-Mui Tam) make-up for the weekend.

The rotters.

Exit wound in mah mooth!



Suspicious of the pair - and egged on by her pal Jelly (Bonnie Lai Suk-Yin), Rolls asks Woody to help find her purse in exchange for a dinner date.

A dinner date where she intends to get him drunk so he'll admit to stealing her stuff.

She's a crafty one and no mistaking.

Obviously Woody agrees and the pair head off to the sushi bar, much to the annoyance of Loi.

As Woody and Rolls get more and more drunk - and even more flirty than usual the couple stumble into the toilets for some privacy with an anxious Loi - determined to protect Rolls honour - in pursuit.

As he goes to burst into the toilet tho' poor Loi is bitten by the undead agent who then scurries off toward the mall's underwear section leaving our bitten soy-boy ranting about monsters whilst bleeding over Rolls incredibly milky thighs.

Being a nice girl she takes Loi round the rear (ooeer missis) - of the sushi bar obviously - whilst Woody and Crazy Bee look for help.

Oh and zombies (of a Bio kind) obviously.


Fair enough.

Whilst all this slight panic is going down the zombie special agent manages to find his phone amongst Mr Kui's belongings causing the (already) angry shopkeeper to go full on shouty at our heroes accusing them of stealing the phone back before reporting them to the mall security guard known only as 'Ox' (Frankie Chan).
Realizing that the plot may need a few more characters to really get going Ox calls the police (Policemen #3001 and #9466 to be precise) who, after a series of more and more outrageous questions decide to lock Woody and Crazy Bee in Ox's office whilst #3001 goes in search of clues.

Popping into the sushi bar for a snack he's soon killed by Loi who by this time has completely turned and is currently holding Rolls captive (he loves her you see) whilst back at the security office the undead agent has turned up killing Ox before attacking #9466.

It never rains.

In the bloody confusion Woody and Crazy Bee escape and head toward the mall entrance, where they come across Jelly, Rolls' co-worker, who's just back from a sly fag oblivious to the chaos all around her but as the dynamic duo try to explain the last 35 minutes of plot a reanimated Ox closes the mall's shutters, trapping everyone inside.

As the trio argue over what to do they bump into Mr and Mrs Kui who've narrowly avoided a biting and after a quick exchange of pleasantries decide to hide in the beauty parlor till everything blows over.

Coming to the conclusion that he is, in fact, the films hero (well he does have a hit recording career outside his film work) Woody volunteers to not only contact the authorities but also rescue Rolls whilst he's at it and heads off excitedly to the sushi bar where he manages to sneak Rolls out whilst Loi is distracted fighting off the bad zombies who want to eat her whole.

Although I've heard that they spit that bit out.

Meeting up with the others they all decide to attempt an escape rather than wait for help.

I mean what could possibly go wrong?


"He did WHAT in his cup?"



Running toward the store elevator with the (Bio) Zombies in hot pursuit Kui proves his patent bastardness when realizing that the lift is over the weight limit by cold-heartedly pushes Jelly into the path of the undead much to the annoyance of everyone else who then decide to go back and attempt save her.
Kui swears at everyone before dragging his wife off toward the exit.

Finding Jelly dead Crazy Bee, Woody and Rolls - now armed with a collection of household items - head for the security office in order to get the keys to open the shutters, killing and maiming zombies as they go.

Hearing a scream in the distance they realize that Mrs. Kui - now separated from both the group and her hubbie - is under attack from the undead and Crazy Bee, admitting to having a huge crush on her, hurries to help.

Meanwhile Mr Kui is hiding in a cupboard shitting himself.

Crazy Bee arrives too late tho' and poor Mrs Kui dies in his arms.

But things are about to take a darker turn for as Bee cradles his unrequited love a sneaky zombie manages to crawl toward him and bites his arm.

Ouch.


Your mum, Christmas eve, 1994.




Meeting up with Rolls and Woody at the security office, Crazy Bee is desperate to find the security key as well as keeping his bite hidden from his friends, unfortunately due to his panicked state he totally fails to see Ox creeping up on him.

As Crazy Bee tells his best friend how much he means to him Ox pounces and kills him sending Woody into a violent rage where he first beheads Ox before doing the same to Crazy Bee so as to prevent him coming back from the dead.

Finally finding the security key the duo head down the parking garage in the hope of getting to Woody's boss' car and escaping but by now the whole underground carpark is crawling with zombies.

Fighting their way through the undead hordes, they reach Woody’s boss’ car but find themselves trapped and surrounded.

Suddenly tho' Loi appears and in one last show of kindness to Rolls raises the garage shutter before pushing the car out into the street allowing the pair to escape.

As the drive off into the night they see Loi fighting the other zombies as he pulls the shutter back down, trapping the undead inside.

With the streets empty Woody pulls up at a deserted petrol station in the hope of finding help and supplies, as he searches he notices an emergency broadcast programme on the TV warning the populance against against drinking soft drinks due to a mysterious contamination. 

As Woody continues to watch he notices that Rolls have found the Lucozade bottle under the seat of the car.....





An obvious influence on Edgar Wright's Shaun of The Dead, director Wilson (IP Man, Kill Zone SPL and Skyline Cruisers also with Jordan Chan amongst other classics) Yip's  Bio-Zombie is a surprisingly charming little movie that, playing against audience expectations is less a lo-fi undead shlocker and more of a genre defying rollicking roller-coaster ride that riffs on  rom-com conventions, buddy comedies and action movies before delivering one of the bleakest endings since Miracle Mile.

And all in under 90 minutes.

Zach Snyder and Rian Johnson take note.

But any low budget film, no matter how entertaining lives and dies by its cast and luckily Bio-Zombie's is brilliant, from the natural chemistry between the leads (Jordan Chan and Sam Lee who bizarrely enough have both played the same character - "Chicken" Chiu - in the Young And Dangerous film series, Chan in the first three movies and Lee as a younger version in the prequel) to the vile, misogynistic Mr. Kui and fabulously flirty Rolls everyone  plays it with a terrific conviction that makes even the most hastily sketched and clichéd characters come alive to a point where you find yourself genuinely caring for the people on screen.

A rare thing to find in the low-budget comedy horror genre and no mistaking.

A joy from silly start to freaky finish Bio-Zombie deserves to bee seen by a much bigger audience than it has already so stop what you're doing and track down a copy NOW.



You can thank me later.


Titles.



One final word of warning tho', if you do fancy seeing it try to stay away from the dubbed US release because although worth it to see how many Cartoon Network voice actors you can spot (DeeDee from Dexter's Laboratory is one) the script appears to have been translate by someone whose favourite film is American Pie, although they had to have it explained to them as there were too many big words in the script.



Really it's that bad and frankly a film of this quality deserves better.































*You can tell this was for a 'proper' publication due to the lack of puerile humour in the review....don't worry there'll be mooth shite aplenty tomorrow.

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