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Bio Zombie


Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/20/2007

Long before Zack Snyder made the official DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, Wilson Yip (who would later go on to helm the ultra-slick and ultra-stylish SPL) made his own. Sure, it has more laughs than frights, but the basic premise of a bunch of survivors in a mall over-run with the walking dead remains the same.

The twist here is that the survivors want to get out of the mall as it has become the centre of the zombie activity thanks in no small part to our two heroes. Woody Invincible (Jordan Chan) and Crazy Bee (Sam Lee) are two slackers who run a dodgy VCD stall in the mall (having seen the quality of their stock, I think I may have purchased some of their VCDs in the past), while Woody’s would-be girlfriend Rolls (Angela Tong) is a vacuous beautician who strings along “Sushi Boy” (the wonderfully named Emotion Cheung), a well-meaning chef in the Mall’s Japanese restaurant just to get a discount. Rounding out the crew are Woody and Crazy Bee’s scumbag boss Mr Kui (Lai Yiu-Cheung) and his beautiful but downtrodden wife (Tam Suk-Mui). It is a testament to Lai’s skill as an actor that he pulls off such a vile role so well after playing the kindly, gentle “Piggy” in TVB’s JOURNEY TO THE WEST! From this essentially unlikeable cast of characters we have what passes for Bio Zombie’s heroes – but it’s best not to pass judgement on them until they show their mettle in a crisis situation.

There’s a plot in here, but for the first forty minutes you’d hardly know it. A biological agent is stored in a bottle of Lucozade (surely a recipe for disaster right from the start!) and is being sold illegally nearby. This agent can turn people into killing machines – albeit very slow, shuffling killing machines with a taste for human flesh. The deal goes horribly wrong when the test case escapes and eats the weapons dealers. A survivor is picked up by the two slackers when they inadvertently knock him over in their car – and is given a drink from the Lucozade bottle to perk him up! The survivor, left for dead in the boot of Woody’s car, goes on a rampage when they reach the mall and thus kicks off the zombie invasion.

There’s some weird stuff in the first half of BIO ZOMBIE that has nothing whatsoever to do with zombies and has no place in a horror film. The comedy factor is so high early on that you actually forget what’s going to happen, and when it does, it’s quite a shock. The acting is quite remarkable at times, and much higher than you’d expect in a movie like this. The preliminary scenes setting up the heroes and villains pay off big time come the final reel because of all the goofing around earlier, not despite it. It even conjures up a fair bit of tension at times, particularly when the pair are handcuffed in the Security Guards’ office during an attack.

The zombie make-up is not terribly complex or groundbreaking, but this doesn't hamper the fun in any way. The zombies themselves are straight out of Romero’s world, and the same rules apply: only severe head wounds (preferably a headshot with a firearm) will stop them, and anything else is just going to fail.

The Mei-Ah DVD is a bit of a travesty, it has to be said. There is a US version, I believe, that has a very entertaining dub, but that sort of thing goes against the grain for me and I can’t see myself ever watching it. The problem with the Mei-Ah disc is the sound – it’s probably the worst I’ve ever heard on DVD. The picture is no more than adequate, but the subs throw up some strange “Chinglish” on occasions – such as when Woody and Sushi Boy burst into the gents’ toilet to find Crazy Bee in there. When asked what he was doing, he shouts back, “I am stooling!”. There are quite a few nuggets like that in here. The main selling point seems to be the very short alternate ending, but it is rather pointless and seems to have been filmed without serious consideration of actually being used.

This was followed by BIO COPS – an unnecessary and unsatisfying sequel that should have taken a headshot in the planning stages.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/16/2006

Woody and Crazy Bee are low-lifes selling pirate VCDs in Central, who accidentally get mixed up with a biochemical weapon that turns people into zombies. They end up trapped in the shopping centre with cute girls Rolls and Jelly, as the zombies take over.

Wilson Yip's low-budget films were a cut above the norm that showed tremendous promise as a director, a man who clearly knew what he was doing and made the most of his limited funds. For some reason this skill seemed to depart him when he got his hands on a serious budget, and he has made some seriously disappointing "blockbusters" that completely lack the strong characterisation, wit and whimsy shown in films like Bio-Zombie. I guess we have to assume some of the credit for Yip's three films must go to writer/producers Matt Chow and Joe Ma - the three of them apparently brought out the best in each other!

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/18/2003

Two pirate VCD sellers, Woody Invincible (played by Chan -- heh, dirty bird, he's still called Mo Dik in other versions) and Bee (Lee), run into a guy while returning their boss' car. The victim starts asking for a soda, so Bee gives him one that was laying by the crash scene, not knowing that it is actually a secret chemical weapon that turns people into zombies. Fearing trouble from the police, Woody and Bee put the body into their car and swing back to the local mall, where they have their VCD shop. To their horror and amazement, the body seems to disappear. But when strange things start to happen, they realize that the man they hit has turned into a zombie. The two friends, along with a small group of survivors, must try to get out of the mall, which has turned into a death trap.

I've always been a fan of zombie movies. Whether it's the level of gore or the nihilistic ("everybody dies") attitude, I don't know. So when Bio-Zombie began to create some buzz in the newsgroups, I was very anxious to view Hong Kong's take on the "classic" zombie movie.

I wasn't disappointed -- Bio-Zombie is the best horror movie I've seen in quite some time. Don't get me wrong -- the film is nothing serious and won't give you recurring nightmares; it definitely has its tongue planted firmly in cheek at all times. While this may turn many people off, I've always found that the best zombie movies (such as Peter Jackson's Dead/Alive) have just as much humor as gore.

Everything about Bio-Zombie is done well; Chan and Lee, while no thespians, do create a couple of likeable characters as the hooligan VCD dealers. Chan, in particular, is great as he delivers lines like "Monster? Monster? Hell, I've got a monster in my pants!" The supporting cast is also good as well; I'm waiting for the "sushi boy" to come back in the sequel, and the nerdy guy who complains to Woody and Bee that his VCD has crappy quality (something which with a lot of US HK film fans can sympathize with) is a nice bit of comic relief. The cinematography, while nothing extraordinary, is really far above many other horror movies; for instance, there's a great sequence where the survivors are profiled ala video games such as "Street Fighter." And, suprisingly to me for a movie made after 1997, there's a high level of gore. While it's no Dawn of the Dead, there's enough blood to keep any gore hound happy (let's put it this way -- Woody's weapon of choice is an electric drill). Combined with the great cliffhanger ending, Bio-Zombie marks a great new chapter in the book of zombie movies. At any rate, it's one hell of a lot better than the recent "teen" US horror movies and definitely worth a look if you want a laugh along with your shocks in a horror movie.


Reviewed by: icacutee
Date: 04/18/2003

I liked this movie, but then I like Sam Lee's acting most of the time.

The make-up was kinda gross, but it was cool to. Zombies having feelings was sweet, and poor Sam Lee died.

Fun movie to watch, I liked it.


Reviewed by: dbfchristopher
Date: 07/27/2002
Summary: I liked it

I'm a huge zombie movie fan, and this one didn't dissapoint me. I can't say a whole lot about it as a HK movie, because I haven't seen many, but I thought it was pretty good. This movie is probably in my top 5 of zombie movies (I've seen lots). It is just a fun film, so expect nothing more.

4/5

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/14/2002
Summary: not too bad

Starting off very boring, but after halfway gets quite enjoyable. It's not really scarey or anything, but it trys to be. It's fun enough to watch, but it is a bit stupid.

Rating [2.5/5]

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: ssidiouss
Date: 01/03/2002
Summary: More Like This?

I just bought this DVD and loved it. I liked the actors, direction, plot.. everything. What other chinese movies are fun like this one?????


Reviewed by: metamovie
Date: 08/04/2001

A Hong Kong zombie film? Reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead? Oddly enough, it grows on you - it really does.

True, it doesn't start too promising, with Jordan Chan and Sam Lee as two archetypical HK-style "comic" heroes, "clever" video game references and some cheesy make up effects. However, oscillating between jokes and serious moments in traditional HK horror fashion, Bio Zombie actually manages to find its own way.

There are scenes of cartoony, Evil Dead II-style action, but Bio Zombie's most effective moments of blending horror and humor are so underplayed as to be perceived almost subconsciously: the final battle in the garage should be watched twice to be really appreciated, and the ending is a most pleasant surprise. (The Mei Ah DVD, available through HKFLIX, offers an alternate ending which was shelved after test previews - a sound decision.)



More:
http://www.metamovie.de/film/bio.html


Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 09/06/2000
Summary: watch this and never eat sushi again.

The title sequence to Bio Zombie is great, it's the two main characters recording a pirate dvd of the main titles to Bio Zombie! It's a great joke that sets the tone for the beginning of the movie, a garish, rude comedy. But what would you expect when the leading men are named Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee?

Jordan Chan and Sam Lee do a good job mugging it up, mostly while looking frantically scared. The blue gray quality of some of the scenes was very reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead and I can only wonder if the setting of a shopping mall was an homage to the film. The film works it way to a slow boil until the last 30 minutes culminates into a violent man vs. the undead showdown involving knives, hacksaws, and a plumbing utensil.

Bio Zombie uses the subtext of a video game to drive the storyline. Jordan Chan checks to see if there are bullets left in a gun and a flashing icon comes into the corner of the screen- Reload! Reload! He checks the mall control console and a No Key icon flashes. Comic relief for what should be the most tense part of the story. Is this a video game mocking reality or vice versa?

The ending is good although very bleak and a total 180 degree turn from the tone of the first scenes. 8.5/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/13/2000
Summary: Not THAT good...........

WELL after reading the reviews here, i went and bought this vcd!!
Well maybe it's because i don't understand chinese but read the subtitles instead that i might of missed out on something!! But anyway there are a few good laughs in this!! The REAL action occurs in the last half hour!! Thats were most of the gore and action are!! The part where it acts like a computer game is HILAREOUS!! (did i spell that right?) I wish i didn't buy it due to my HIGH standards (Spent $13,NNNOOO!!) but still worth a look just for the the last half hour!! Reminds me of the play station game RESIDENT EVIL 2, and if you know this game, your sure to laugh your head off watching the last half hour!! I TOTALLY agree with what MilesC says about this movie!!

Because the first 2 thirds of the film is boring, and the last half hour is great, i will give this

6 out of 10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

Bio-Zombie is a horror movie in the great Hong Kong tradition of extremely (and I do
mean extremely) silly horror movies. It is basically a long series of jokes about
brainless youth, videogames, and of course, zombies. There are a few scary moments
but mostly it is jokes and gross-outs (very campy gross-outs).

The basic plot of the movie seems to have been drawn from George Romero's classic
(well, in some circles at least) film Dawn of the Dead, in which a few people are
trapped in a mall with a bunch of zombies. Dawn of the Dead was a fairly tense movie
with a lot of limbs being ripped off and flesh being eaten. Bio-Zombie is pretty gross,
but the special effects are low enough in budget that they mostly provoke laughter.
The director and screenwriter seem to realize this, and make no effort to force us to
take any of it too seriously.

Jordan Chan and Sam Lee make a great pair for this film. They're wannabe
tough-guys who run a pirate VCD shop (provoking some topical humor) in a mall.
They are joined by two young women, Jelly, and Rolls (where's Morton?), and a
slightly older wannabe gangster, Brother Keung, and his wife. The first half of the
movie is largely setup and jokes. The second half gets a bit tenser but is still largely
focused on the humor. Jordan Chan and Sam Lee play the roles pretty much as
you've seen them do in previous films (time to branch out) but are highly entertaining
nonetheless.

Unlike many earlier Hong Kong films (particularly Hong Kong horror films),
Bio-Zombie is a fairly polished production, despite its obvious low budget. In fact, it is
reminiscent of the classic B horror movie Evil Dead 2, which sets a standard for good
films on low budgets. There are also some strange moments of artsy direction thrown
in for no apparent reason, though they're fairly amusing when they happen.

Hong Kong movies (like zombies) will not die, no matter how hard the industry is
punished. Bio-Zombie is a sign that the spirit of Hong Kong films lives on. Silly,
frenetic, goofy, and gross. How could it be better?


Reviewed by: SUPERCOP
Date: 04/08/2000
Summary: Fun and entertaining

This hyper-stylized zombie flick is a surprisingly entertaining production, which can be described as Romero's Dawn of the Dead on acid. Jordan Chan Siu-chun and Sam Lee Chan-sam star as a duo of pirate VCD salesman who inadvertantly plague Hong Kong with a race of flesh eating zombies. Finding themselves trapped inside a deserted shopping center, they must fend for themselves in order to escape alive. Inventive, flashy cinematography, along with fun performances, hilariously over-the-top situations, and great blood and guts action are just a few of the reasons that you should give Bio-zombie an hour and a half of your time.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 12/11/1999
Summary: Mall employees are trapped with a growing army of zombies.

This movie is dull at times, but is fairly entertaining when things pick up. Some of the comedy seems to be missing something in the translation. However, there are a couple of video-game inspired sequences that are among the most clever things I saw in movies last year, and are almost worth the price of admission alone. This is a decent one to pop in if there's nothing else going on, though Cantonese speakers might enjoy it more.