Review: Wild Zero (2000)

Directed by:
Cast: ,

Distributed in Australia by:

I confess that I’m at a loss how to begin talking about this one: I mean, what can one say about a movie that features aliens, rock ‘n’ roll, zombies, combs, tight shorts, and true love? But I’ll give it a go, and try to make some sort of sense about a movie that makes no sense, but is buttloads of fun.

First up, this is a road movie. Not a road movie like Thelma and Louise, or Easy Rider: there’ll be no political statements, garnering of wisdom, or tragic ending for this one. Our hero is Ace, a rock ‘n’ roll fan and wannabe guitarist, and his adventure starts with a concert by his hero, Guitar Wolf. Unsurprisingly, Guitar Wolf and his band have that semi-mystical funk power of guitar legends everywhere, and so they never appear without sunglasses and leather gear (I suspect that the amount of leatherwear and associated chains in this film would send any bondage fan into conniptions.)

Anyway, leather thoughts aside, Ace barges into the middle of an armed confrontation between Guitar Wolf and a very nasty manager type. We can tell he’s nasty because he’s just had a girl beaten up, he’s snorting coke like there’s no lid on the Ajax tin, but most of all because of his clothes. Man, oh man, what an outfit. Think tight muscle shirt and tight, tight shorts. Short shorts. The bowl-cut wig he’s wearing almost escapes attention, in comparison to his clothes.

So there we are, armed standoff, broken by the abrupt appearance of our man Ace. Bullets fly, our man hits the deck, and Guitar Wolf and compadres (there’s something about the guys that just begs for this word, honestly) escape, but not before GW gives Ace a whistle to blow “if you ever need me”. At this point it should be noted that our boy Ace is just a little bit gormless, and we know he’s gonna need that help.

That sums up the first ten or so minutes of the film, and from there it gets weird. We meet some extremely petty thieves, captained by a Steve Buscemi look-alike, coming into town to look for the meteor. Oh, did I forget to mention the meteor? Well, you’ll probably guess that that’s where the zombies came from. Zombies? In a road movie? Yep. Loads of ’em. Staggering around basically doing the Funky Chicken and eating folks when they can.

The cast of dozens is rounded out by: an arms dealer whose clothes get eaten by the zombies (she’s too mean to get et) and who consequently has to stroll around in some sort of plaid cat suit; the buyers of her arms, who don’t get much of a speaking part between them, assorted spear carriers, and the heroine, Tobio. Ace, of course, sees Tobio and falls instantly in love, and consequently has to rescue her several times. In the course of these rescues, I was most impressed to see that he could wield a mop with great vigour, although normally the mop head is kept on the floor, rather than swooshing through the air.

Oh, it’s got action, it’s got romance, it’s got zombies, it’s got rock ‘n’ roll (and a great and constant soundtrack), it’s got aliens. Think of Highway 61, Repo Man, and Night of the Living Dead, all rolled into one, with samurai icing on top.

8 rock 'n' roll zombies out of 10.
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