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Wild Zero: A Real Zombie Punk Gem

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

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In a moment when the Japanese horror genre was completely focused on the most extreme, serious and intense spectrum, director Tetsuro Takeuchi and screenwriter Satoshi Takagi decided to break the pattern and create a funny and bloody film about aliens, zombies and a whole lot of punk rock.

And from that same first decision not to follow the established formula in the Japanese film industry, this project was in total harmony with the punk spirit of transgressing the established and offer what is genuinely within you.

And if the result of that is a movie where a rock n' roll guitar player murders zombies by throwing guitar picks like laser shurikens, that's a total win in my book.

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In Wild Zero, we follow the story of Ace (Masashi Endo), a young punk rocker enthusiast whose favorite band is Guitar Wolf--a band that actually exists in reality and is renowned in the garage rock world--. Ace loves the band, and he fully emulates their style: Big pompadours, The Ramones, black leather jackets and shades.

Ace wants to enter the world of rock n' roll, and wants to do it by surprising the power trio (Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, and Bass Wolf) with his guitar talents and the next concert at the local bar.

Guitar Wolf is dealing with problems of their own. Their manager wants to force the band to a different musical direction, because, in his own words, "rock is dead". The absurd discussion escalates quickly, with everyone in the room pointing guns at each other. Ace enters the room and his distraction and support end up saving Guitar Wolf from the manager.

Guitar Wolf, in solidarity, makes a blood pact with Ace. He's now their new blood brother. In addition, they give him a whistle (a dog one) to call them if he ever gets in trouble. Ace is left visibly moved and dismayed by the gesture.

Trouble, of course, is just around the corner. Outta nowhere, a large fleet of fast UFOs starts to zombify the town village, with the aim of eradicating humanity. Ace, along with other characters, will soon be fighting a zombie apocalypse.

Fortunately, Guitar Wolf will attend the call of duty, with their motorcycles and electric guitars/samurai swords (no, seriously, it's awesome). The zombies, designed as a tribute to Romero's old bluish and gray undead and the aliens of John Carpenter's They Live, will be dismembered and destroyed in many creative ways.

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wild-zero-a-real-zombie-punk-gem

When Wild Zero unleash its punk rock power, the fun is absolute. Not only are there a lot of well-achieved CGI exploding heads, but everything related to Guitar Wolf's musical sequences absolutely rocks. We're talking electricity bursts and microphones that spit fire while the stridency of music drives the audience wild.

Just for the aforementioned reasons, Wild Zero deserves our full attention. But, incredibly, its playful content is not its most revolutionary, interesting and original proposal within the genre.

It's its free and completely refreshing vision of love that brings this movie to the next level.

Throughout the journey, Ace falls in love with Tobio (Kwancharu Shitichai), a thin and shy girl who also corresponds his love. However, in an intimate scene, Ace discovers that Tobio wasn't born physically as a woman. We don't know mucho about Tobio. We don't know if Tobio identifies as Bishonen or a transgender in the process of physical transformation, but one thing is clear: Tobio has a penis.

At first, Ace is horrified. How can he feel love and attraction for someone who looks like a woman but has a penis? Ace even shouts the horribly transphobic phrase "Please no! anything but that!"in a fetal position.

But what comes next is what makes Wild Zero consistent with its proposal and being a unique film within the genre. Guitar Wolf, or at least his spirit, faces the devastated Ace. With a motivating, totally rock attitude, Guitar Wolf shouts what it sounds basically like a war cry: "Ace! Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders! DO IT!!"

It's one of the most punk rock lines shouted. Guitar Wolf is screaming at Ace, his new rock blood brother, to fuck on the limits imposed by society. Guitar Wolf is motivating him to overcome his own mental obstacles. If there is genuine love between two people, no "social law" should intervene.

Slowly and progressively, Ace realizes the absurdity of his reaction and begins to value and act as his heart dictates. In the end, Ace and Tobio end up happy together.

It's a surprisingly progressive subplot that destroys paradigms, and it's in perfect harmony with the punk and free spirit of Wild Zero.

Wild Zero: Movie Details

Title: Wild Zero

Release Year: 1999

Director(s): Tetsuro Takeuchi

Writer(s): Satoshi Takagi, Tetsuro Takeuchi

Actors: Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, Bass Wolf a.o.

© 2021 Sam Shepards

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