BIO ZOMBIE (1998) – The Dungeon Review!

I apologize it took me so bloody long to get my first zombie review of the month up, but I am now officially in full frontal zombie mode! For your reference (and mine!) I swiped a list of zombie films from Wikipedia which I put in my sidebar. Seems like a pretty complete list to me, but if you spot an omission leave me a comment and I’ll add it. I also included links to zombie films I’ve already reviewed. I watched 3 zombie films on the weekend and I am pleased to say I enjoyed them all in varying degrees. The zombie sub-genre has always been a personal favourite. There is however a lot of shitty zombie films out there, and an awful lot that lack any originality and just feel redundant. But when they work, they really kick ass! Regardless of quality, I always appreciate a fresh attempt at the zombie film. I’ve really enjoyed the few Asian zombie flicks I’ve watched so I thought I would start out the reviews with a horror-comedy entry from Hong Kong.

Like Dawn Of The Dead, Bio Zombie’s action takes place in a mall, although that would be where the comparisons end. There is barely a serious moment from beginning to end of Bio Zombie. It is definitely intended to be comedy first. The film focuses on its two main characters Woody and Bee. Woody and Bee are a pair of lazy, irritating losers that work in the mall selling bootleg films. They are loud, obnoxious and do some incredibly messed-up things, like mugging a character in the washroom and stealing her ring and cell phone. This film takes a while to get going and you are forced to sit through this pairs antics a little too long. I wasn’t overly impressed with the first 20 or so minutes of the film. But things do improve significantly as the film moves along. In fact, to my surprise, I actually ended up having a little bit of empathy for this pair.

We begin with the obligatory set-up where we learn that a soft drink called Lucozade has been spiked with a bio weapon that turns its consumer into a zombie. We are introduced to a prototype soldier who has drank the lucozade and goes nutzoid and chases a conspiring employee out of the building. Inevitably, the employee gets hit by our two dumbasses. Seriously injured and lying on the road he asks for a drink and wouldn’t you know it but a can of Lucozade has fallen from his briefcase. The employee ends up in their trunk full of zombifying Lucozade and the two drive to the mall. I don’t recall if there is another mention of Lucozade until the films final scene, but at this point people are turned into zombies the old-fashioned way, by biting. Well, it seems one cannot avoid some manner of build up but I just wish it hadn’t lingered so long. We watch Woody and Bee interact with various mall patrons and merchants, scamming, yelling, taunting and flirting. The other players include a couple of aestheticians; Jelly and Rolls (yeah, ha ha), Sushi-boy (you guessed it, he works at the sushi restaurant), and then there is the owner of the cell phone store and his meek wife. It is these secondary characters that help take the piss out of the Woody and Bee duo. Eventually the group must work together to survive. Even though I found the build-up tedious I must admit it definitely aided the character development. The man who owns the cell phone store is a bitter, cowardly asshole who is a complete dick to his wife. It is he who ends up being the revelation that Woody and Bee need, as the two realize he is them in grown-up form. The film ends up being a character-driven story as opposed to just a typical zombie showdown. In fact, even the zombies maintain a certain amount of their human personality.

I didn’t find much inspiration here for Zombie Walk. The zombie make-up isn’t bad; it’s just kind of mediocre. Some of the zombies face sores looked a bit gross but it really could have used some amping up. There sure seemed to be a lot more zombies than there were people in the mall, not that I consider that a negative, I actually found it amusing. The more zombies the better! Sadly there’s not much in the way of gore but there is a decent body count. There is a scene where the characters are mocked up into a video game screen that shows their profile. Their weapon, strength; the kind of stuff you see in a character profile in a video game. The scene actually works quite well. It fits the films vibe and the profiles are quite humorous. But the best part is the surprise ending which you are either going to love or hate depending on whether you like hopeful endings or bleak endings. For me, the last half of the film definitely made up for a less than stellar start. Bio Zombie does have heart and tries to do something different that works more often than not. Recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Wilson Yip

Starring: Jordan Chan, Emotion Cheung, Sam Lee, Yiu-Cheung Lai, Angela Tong Ying-Ying, Suk Yin Lai, Tat-Wah Lok, Frankie Chan

One Response to “BIO ZOMBIE (1998) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. […] There is a goodly amount of horror-comedy on this list, but I am surprised by how few zombie films were around in the 90s. A soft drink called Lucozade has been spiked with a bio weapon that turns its consumer into a zombie. Enter Woody and Bee, a pair of lazy, irritating losers that work in the mall selling bootleg films. These two got on my nerves early in the film, but by mid-film I found myself rooting for them and their group of pals. There is a significant body count but not much in the way of gore. It is more of a comedic character-driven affair, but there is plenty of action in its second half and a freaking great finale! Bio Zombie is undead fun from Hong Kong! To read the full review click here. […]

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