Dead Sushi (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
Chances are, if you are going to watch a film directed by Noburu Iguchi, you will have a rough idea of what to expect. You won’t get a deadly serious, deep and meaningful script, but you will get balls-to-the-wall, action, gore and a good variety of weird and wonderful imagery. His films are an acquired taste, of that there is no doubt, so when you come across a film entitled Dead Sushi don’t go in expecting anything other than utter mayhem.
I’m dead serious; this is a movie about killer raw fish. Imagine the Evil Dead mixed with Martial Arts, a dash of Tim Burton (I shit you not) and fish, and you might get an idea of what to expect here. Saying that though, whatever your rough ideas might be will not prepare you for the madness that comes from Iguchi’s mind. This is the director that brought us The Machine Girl, Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead and Mutant Girls Squad, so you know that just about anything goes in his films.
Dead Sushi follows Keiko, a young girl who runs away from home when the pressures of her father’s work regimen get too much. She ends up at a rural resort, where to tell the truth things don’t get too much better. She spends her time serving obnoxious folk Sushi and drinks, and ends up getting herself into trouble when she points out the shortcomings of both the resort’s Sushi chef and her clientele.
As if this wasn’t enough, there is also a former employee of a pharmaceutical company running around injecting the Sushi with a strange serum; which brings the dead fish to life. From here on in it’s pretty much a case of killer fish, a Tuna man, blood and guts and non-stop action. Come on; let’s be serious, if you are watching a film called Dead Sushi for the depth of its plot you are going to be severely disappointed.
This is a non-stop rollercoaster of outrageous effects, some being of better quality than others, some really weird fight scenes and a ton of rice. I thought it was terrific fun. Sure, it’s not the best film ever made, but I don’t think it was ever intended to be. It has that usual Japanese madcap feel to it, where anything goes, but aside from a few dodgy effects it is really rather well made. Some Japanese films of this nature have an almost home video feel to them, whereas this felt like a movie and looked like one too, and looks great on Blu-ray.
Dead Sushi is also only about 90 minutes in length, so it is not going to outstay its welcome. There’s so much going on, with the various characters and outlandish events, that you don’t really have time to get sidetracked or bored. If you don’t like this style of Japanese craziness I suggest not even bother watching it; it will do your noggin in. If, however, crazy Asian cinema floats your boat, such as Tokyo Gore Police or Helldriver, then get in there my son, you’ll have a blast.
Included on the Blu-ray release is a Making of featurette, World Premiere Stage Greeting, a trailer, Dead Sushi Extreme Sushi Eating Contest, Fantasia Film Festival Interview, as well as both Japanese and English audio options. Mind you, I can’t imagine why anyone would watch the dubbed version, go with either the Japanese Digital Surround or Stereo option; the Japanese audio just adds to the on screen mayhem. Hell, even the Sushi talk!
So, I thought Dead Sushi kicked ass. It was the perfect tonic to some of the deadly serious cinema that’s out there right now, and hit all the right notes with me. Just remember, when you insult a Sushi chef, the next course is death!
Dead Sushi is released by Millenium Entertainment on DVD, Digital and Best Buy Exclusive Blu-ray on January 22nd. Blu-ray is available everywhere from March 26th.