Xavierpop Does @TADFilmFest – Louis vs ‘Dead Sushi’
Dead Sushi is the latest film by Director Noboru Iguchi. Known for such cult classics such as The Machine Girl and RoboGeisha. His latest film is a horror-comedy romp of epic proportions. Light and mocking, it never takes itself, or even the premise, very seriously.
When Keiko (Rina Takeda) runs away after her overbearing Master Sushi chef father (who wants her to be a boy) berates her for not being good enough at either making Sushi or martial arts, she finds a job in an inn that specializes in Sushi. Keiko doesn’t get hired to make it, only to serve as waitress. The other employees mock her and the owners scold her. The only friend she has is Sawada (Shigeru Matsuzaki). When the management of Komatsu Pharmaceuticals shows up at the end, disgruntled employee, Yamada (Kentarô Shimazu) infects sushi with a reanimating drug. What ensues is mayhem and chaos, with Keiko and Sawada teaming up to try and save the hotel and its guests from the food gone wild.
While this ridiculous premise might seem too far beyond good taste and acceptable filmmaking, it the blended concoction of action, horror, farce and slapstick works quite well together. The playful manner with which Iguchi uses the cast and crew helps the material and cast bring this cartoonish movie to life. With an eye squarely set on the fantastically funny, the over the top effects and situations never stop amazing and amusing. Not only do the individual pieces of sushi and sashimi kill, but they fly, mate, mock and even sing. Keeping the pace and tone throughout it 90 or so minute runtime might seem like it’s either overly long or could be tiresome, but is funny enough and whimsical enough to carry the entire film through without getting boring or tedious.
Some people may be offended or confused by cultural differences, on top of which there are multiple outrageous, violent, gory scenes that will bother others. The effects are a mix of CGI and old school props, but they never rise above the cheesy quality the film so richly deserves and gets. Had they gone for real effects, it would have ruined the mood of parody so carefully created. Takeda carries much of the film on her shoulders. Cute and vulnerable, she also comes across as tough and determined as she kicks and chops her way through the film. A completely gonzo spirit marks her performance, as well as the film, as she gives it her all. The band of back up performers, most notability Sawada as a knife phobic sushi chef, are as dedicated and fun to watch as she is, but she is the star, and the star attraction.
While a fun and fantastic film, it will not be for everyone. Horror fans will find much to enjoy here, as it’s lightly, enthusiastic mocking of monster films does so with knowing what fans find funny, and gives them a reason to laugh at the genre, and themselves.