Bio Zombie (1998)


Would you like to hear something sad? Well, maybe it's not terribly sad, but it does say a few things about my life that some folks might find a little depressing. I've watched director Wilson Yip's Bio Zombie six times now. Do you want to know something else? No? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway: I plan to watch it again very soon. Too many years have passed since my last viewing, and I'd somehow forgotten about much I truly and deeply love this film. It's delirious, offbeat, and strange -- and all of these elements come together despite everything working against them. However, to truly appreciate Bio Zombie's unique brand of sheer craziness, you need to watch the English dub. I don't usually utter those hideous words, but the Tokyo Shock DVD has one of the loopiest English dubs I've ever encountered. It rivals The Story of Ricky, and that's not something I would ever say lightly. Long story short (too late): I love Bio Zombie, and I want others to enjoy it, too, which is why I'm writing about it today. Duh.

Here's the story in a nutshell: Well, this is where things get a little complicated. You see, Bio Zombie doesn't have much of a story to speak of -- or at least a coherent story, anyway. The tale centers around the exploits of brothers Woody (Jordan Chan) and Crazy Bee (Sam Lee), two lazy, good-for-nothing mall employees who harass women, sell stolen goods to local merchants, recklessly drive other people's vehicles, attack and rob folks in restrooms, bully anyone who gets in their way, and wander aimlessly around malls when they're not working at a dodgy VCD shop. Unfortunately for the duo, things get a little hairy when they accidentally hit a suspicious character with the aforementioned automobile and force him to consume a soda that transforms people into flesh-eating zombies. Whoops! Before long, these grotesque monstrosities are attacking everyone in the mall, and it's up to these two obnoxious clowns to protect a handful of lovely ladies from the living dead. It's all in a day's work.

Yes, Bio Zombie is pretty much as stupid as it sounds, but therein lies its charm. Again, when I say that you need to watch the dubbed version, I'm not kidding. It's quite possibly one of the greatest dubs ever created, and there are plenty of low-budget kung fu movies from the 70s and 80s that could easily compete for that title without breaking a sweat. But there's something about the over-the-top nature of Bio Zombie's English dub that makes it so endlessly appealing. Listening to Woody berate everyone he comes into contact with wouldn't be the same without the efforts of the clearly enthusiastic English-speaking actor tasked with playing that role. And while Crazy has his own charms -- in a Beavis and Butthead-Dude, Where's My Car? kind of way -- his brother steals every moment. There's some zombie carnage to speak of and a few wonky action sequences, but everything takes a backseat to that dub, my friend. Everything. Maybe I'm overselling the product like a desperate door-to-door vacuum salesman who has yet to meet his quota, but it's really a thing of absolute beauty. If you can get your hands on a copy of Bio Zombie, I urge you to do so, especially if you're a fan of late 90s Chinese cinema and weirdo comedies in general. And remember: Don't forget the English dub. Please. Don't.


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