“Bio-Zombie” – Chris Luedtke

For anyone who’s ever wished that Mallrats and Dawn of the Dead would partake in an unholy union, then your prayers have been answered. I present to you, Bio-Zombie. Call it Hong Kong’s answer to George Romero’s ‘70s masterpiece, or call it a mockery; the tides can turn both ways. But if you are a fan of zombie cinema, seek out a copy with all means at your whim.

Crazy Bee (Sam Lee) and Woody Invincible (Jordan Chan) are young mall shopkeepers that spend their days ripping off customers, trying to score with hot girls, and snatching easy money. However, when their mall becomes the victim of a zombie outbreak, the slackers realize that their usual priorities have taken a back seat to surviving however they can.

The characters in Bio-Zombie are absolutely despicable — and I couldn’t love them more. The first thing we see is evidence of how shady Bee and Woody are. They constantly mope around, complain about having no cash to pay off their car repairs, and mack on every attractive girl that comes into their sights. These two are scum on the mall’s walls, and yet we still find them not only tolerable but very much likable. Their misadventures comprise the film’s first half, but we catch so many sides to these guys that they’re just like characters from a Romero film, multi-dimensional and intoxicating. People in Bio-Zombie don’t just talk to each other; they act like those that surround us every day.

Once we get familiar with our friends the misanthropes, we come to a startling realization: half the film is over, and there’s not a zombie in sight. This is the most disappointing aspect of Bio-Zombie. While do I enjoy watching Bee and Woody bumble around, there came a point where I began wondering when heads were gonna start getting busted open. Luckily, the zombie epidemic pays off well, because once the creatures set foot on set, chaos ensues. Situations are tense, and shots are tight; there were points where I forgot that Bio-Zombie was a sitcom for the first forty-five minutes. Bio-Zombie’s dark side is just as fun as its light, an awesome contrast of buddies and blood.

It isn’t hard to call Bio-Zombie a direct result of Dawn of the Dead’s influence, as the mall setting is a noticeable similarity. Where Dawn philosophized on the concept of zombies returning to the mall because of its connection to their past lives, Bio-Zombie is almost like a precursor to that notion. A little deep maybe, but this film has no problem with scraping the surface of those ideas Mr. Romero introduced.

Bio-Zombie is an awesome zombie film. If you’re a fan of the genre, then there’s no reason to pass it up. It has good gore and great characters, the only flaw being that it takes a little long for the two to pair up. Pick this up. It’s worth 90 minutes of your life.

Rating: ★★★½

-Chris Luedtke

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