When zombies invade a Hong Kong shopping mall, it’s up to the ever scheming pair of Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee to save their friends and avoid becoming undigested stomach bits.

I hate zombie movies involving malls. Let me rephrase that a bit because I don’t so much hate those films, in fact, some mall zombie flicks are really good, I just hate the problems they cause for my kind. Ever since the original Dawn of the Dead, people have drawn some kind of connection between malls and the undead, and I just don’t get it. There’s been zombie movies that have taken place in Police Stations, zombie movies that have taken place in Hospitals, and zombie movies that have taken place in Schools. Graveyards, apartment buildings, spaceships, bathroom stalls, basically, if you can stand on it, there’s been a zombie movie that takes place there, yet none of these other places have drawn the connection that malls have somehow garnered. Did anyone ever think that maybe zombies go to the mall because they like Jamba Juice, or because JC Penny’s has great sales, or any other number of reasons that people go to the mall? No, of course it couldn’t be for any other reason than eating flesh, mainly because the living are lifeist jerks that feel the need to freak out every time a zombie pops up in a mall. I don’t freak out every time a human pops up in a Union Hall, mostly because it’s only bits and pieces of humans, never the whole thing, but I think that’s beside the point. Just because you see a zombie walking around a mall, don’t freak out, they’re not there to eat you…most likely…human flesh and Jamba Juice is a terrible mix.

Our film begins with friends Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee (yes, those are their names), two ne’er-do-wells who work in a Hong Kong shopping mall selling bootleg DVDs. While they’re out picking up their boss’ car one day, a shady deal goes south and ends with a bloodbath. The one surviving member of said deal makes a run for it, only for Woody and Bee to run him over on their way back to the mall. Hoping to avoid any consequences and finding nothing on him but a bottle of soda, the pair give him a drink, throw him in the trunk, and continue on their way to the mall, promptly forgetting about him once there. What neither of them knew was that the soda in his pocket was in actuality a disguised serum used to turn the living into hungry, walking corpses, which it does with quick efficiency to the unconscious government agent. As zombie number one makes his way into the mall, biting and turning a few other as he goes, sushi chef Loi is determined to win the love of mall employee Rolls, something made difficult thanks to interference from Rolls’ friend, Jelly (yes, Jelly Rolls), and a bite he receives from an aggressive looking man in the bathroom. When the police show up to investigate a break in, they not only end up adding their numbers to the growing zombie horde, their arrival keeps several members of the living inside as the mall automatically closes down and locks up, trapping them in with the undead. Now it’s up to Woody and Bee to save themselves, a few other stragglers caught off guard when the mall closed, and the closely guarded Rolls, but the now zombified Loi isn’t going to make that easy.


{True love is never having to admit you don’t eat human fingers}

When I read the plot description, the first thing to jump out at me, probably the first thing to jump out at you as well, were the ridiculous names. With names like Woody Invincible, Crazy Bee, Jelly, and Rolls, I wasn’t about to take this movie at all seriously, which is most likely why they were given those names in the first place because Bio-Zombie is anything but serious. It’s an extremely humorous zombie film full of colorful characters, a claustrophobic setting, and some truly funny dialogue. It’s by no means perfect, but when a movie makes you smile this much, you tend to forgive some of the more glaring mistakes, even when they stand out. The comedy ranges from the subtle to jokes that would have made the trio behind Airplane! chuckle. My favorite scene in the entire film comes when Woody and Bee are being interrogated by police about a break in at one of the mall stores. We see both characters being questioned at the same time with a line separating them, implying that we are watching a side by side, but when they get up to leave it turns out that they were just sitting right next to each other, only on opposite sides of a very thin wall. It’s humor like that, the old school, parody type jokes, that really had me cracking up, but it’s by no means the only measure of Bio-Zombie’s humor. Video game like stats are given for characters, a reload screen flicks when they pick up guns, and everyone constantly finds themselves in ridiculous circumstances, but it’s the dialogue that really helps set the comedic tone, well, the dialogue and the eccentric cast of characters.


{These guys…and gals}

The success of any good comedy, whether it be a zombie comedy or otherwise, hinges on not just the characters created, but the actors chosen to play those characters, and I’m happy to announce that Bio-Zombie was successful on both fronts. The characters are amazing and the actors playing those characters did a wonderful job with their performances. Woody and Bee go perfectly together, and I had no problems imagining these two having been friends for years. They might have been a bit obnoxious, but their sarcastic attitudes and energetic nature (sometimes bordering on too energetic) won me over rather quickly. Jelly and Rolls are every ditzy, mall girl stereotype rolled into two interdependent friends, a play on the female mall rat trope. Sushi chef Loi is a such a dopey, love struck guy that even as a zombie, all he can think about is winning Rolls’ affection, to such a point that you kind of feel sorry for him when you aren’t laughing at his confusing attempts to entice his love interest. And what would any zombie movie be without the one survivor you wish you could punch in the face for being such a prick, here, that would be shop owner Kiu who spends much of the film berating his poor wife, but don’t worry, she gets her revenge. All of these people coming together made Bio-Zombie­ the fun film it was, not to mention the talented ensemble that play these people, giving them witty personas and the viewer an ear to ear smile. I loved just listening to these people talk as their dialogue and conversations were hilarious and a lot of fun to hear. Beyond them being funny, the actors also added heart to their performances so that none of them seemed like throwaway jokes, but instead became people you’d end up caring for, making the very few serious, touching moments that much more heartfelt.


{When these two get serious, you know you have a problem}

The only thing I can complain about, and it’s a complaint I have with a lot of Asian zombie cinema, is the zombie makeup. It mainly boils down to lesions, blue tinted skin, and what looks like heavy mud caked on their faces, something that seems all too common in more than a few zombie flicks from Japan, China, and South Korea, though I must not hate it that much since I continue seeking these movies out. I wouldn’t say it’s a deal breaker so much as it is a minor annoyance. What’s going to bother people a hell of a lot more is the lack of gore. While there are a couple of imaginative deaths, for the most part Bio-Zombie is pretty tame, and even when the bloody bits start flying, it doesn’t look great. Most of the deaths either involve minor amounts of blood, or happen off screen (an explanation for why, though very few attacks are shown, the mall is swarming with zombies by film’s end). The effects are a huge weak spot in what is an otherwise great film, but the comedy always comes back around to save the day, the comedy, and how much I feel in love with the characters.


{Why, hello}

The only real dread that one gets from the film comes from the claustrophobic mall. I don’t know what malls are like around the world, but I’m used to a wide open mall, and this isn’t that. It’s full of narrow corridors, bright, florescent lighting, and very little room to move around; coupled with the chaotic camera angles and sudden twists, it can be disconcerting, but that’s about the only fear inducing factor to the entire film. If you want something gory and terrifying, you’re going to be severely disappointed with this one, but if you’re looking for a comedic zombie film with great characters, then look no further, Bio-Zombie is the movie for you.


The Undead Review


Directed By: Wilson Yip (Ip Man, Kill Zone)

Starring: Jordan Chan (White Vengeance, Once a Gangster), Emotion Cheung (Healing Hearts, Love for All Seasons), Sam Lee (Dog Bite Dog, Pingu-Pongu), Angela Ying-Ying Tong (Walking the Dead, Juliet in Love), and Suk Yin Lai (Shark Busters, Legend of the Wolf)

Written By: Matt Chow (Dog Bite Dog, Golden Chicken), Siu Man Sing (Robotrix), Wilson Yip (The White Dragon, Dry Wood Fierce Fire)

Released By: Brilliant Idea Group, Cameron Entertainment, Mei Ah Entertainment, and Tokyo Shock

Release Year: 1998

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
Image | This entry was posted in Movie Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s