You’ve got have respect for any DVD cover that proclaims and promises: “Brutality of screen!” “Thrill, speed and stupid zombies!” “Trash and chaossss!” Yes, that’s chaossss with four ‘s’s’ and that’s precisely what Wild Zero boldly does and, to be fair, it had me at ‘brutality’.
Ace (Masashi Endô) loves Guitar Wolf (themselves (( Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, Drum Wolf))), and who can blame him, and later it transpires Guitar Wolf loves Ace as he embodies the true spirit of rock and roll and that’s the kind of spunk Guitar Wolf admire.
While attending one of Guitar Wolf’s, as I am reliably informed by someone who understands the modern parlance, ‘gigs’, avid fan Ace stumbles upon a fracas between his heroes and their deliciously camp manager, (who may well have become my new hero, incidentally), the Captain (Makoto Inamiya) and accidentally manages to ‘save’ the day by giving an impassioned speech about the true nature of rock ‘n’ roll. As a reward for his actions and dedication to the true spirit of rock ‘n’ roll Ace is given the honour of being made their blood brother and presented with a whistle (wolf whistle, geddit?) that he can use to summon Guitar Wolf whenever he so desires. This is really rather fortunate as almost immediately space aliens decide to invade the Earth, even more unfortunately as a direct result of this invasion the dead begin to rampage through Japan, and probably everywhere else, with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Now you may think at this point ‘but how can this possibly end well, alien invaders AND zombies? We’re all screwed.’ But fear not, my friend, Guitar Wolf with their own peculiar brand of rock are on hand to save us. And save the world is what they set about to do and no amount of crazy missing fingered vengeful managers, hot naked gun toting chicks, arms dealers/incompetent armed robbers or, indeed, zombies are going to stop them.
Our immaculately pompadoured, exquisitely leathered champions proceed to run amok with guns and flame shooting motorbikes, fast cars and explosive headshots while Ace falls in love with a nice, swoony girl, Tobio (Kwancharu Shitichai), who’s hiding a secret and a ragtag band of ineffectual criminals and a superhot lady arms dealer get drawn into the fray to by turns help and hinder our heroes. And all the while the psychotic and flamboyantly dressed Captain is blithely pursuing them hellbent on extracting his barmy and hellish revenge.
If you have even a passing interest in witnessing such visual joys as a starkers lady mid shower taking on a heck load of zombies, an insane, bewigged rock manager clad in lamé hot pants, guitar picks employed as lethal throwing stars, a samurai sword handily concealed within the neck of guitar spectacularly used to take down an overhead invading spaceship and a lot of enthusiastic Thai soldiers acting like zombies then this film is going to make you happier than a leathered up rocker who thought he was out of smokes but found he had a pack rolled in his t-shirt sleeve all the time.
You may be thinking that Wild Zero is just a bit of 50sesque, B-movie fluff, but I say to you ‘hell no, daddio!’ There are two major life lessons I think we all can take from Wild Zero that will undoubtedly serve us well come the zombocalypse, or, indeed, just generally and they are that ‘Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders!’ and ‘rock and roll never dies.’ Wise words, Guitar Wolf, wise words.
Nothing speaks louder to me than sleazy, dirty rock ‘n’ roll, add to that pyrotechnics, my beloved zombies and cute rockabilly Japanese boys and you’ve got one happy Jinx. Wild Zero is an infectiously enthusiastic entry into the zombie canon and so full of heart it’s impossible not feel affectionate toward it. Unfortunately now I’m finding it very hard to stop myself from responding to everything with ‘ROOOOCCCCCKKKKKAANNNDRRRROOOOOLLLLLLL!!!!’
Incidentally, there is also a Wild Zero drinking game featured on the DVD in which participators are invited to drink every time they see:
• Someone drink
• Someone comb their hair
• Fire shoot out of anything
• Anyone say 'Rock n Roll'
• Something explode
• A zombie's head explode
These things happen a LOT. Even as a hardened whiskey drinker I feel obliged to advise against the downing your drink at every occurrence for the sake of your health and soft furnishings, a delicate ladylike sip would still guarantee a jolly good time.