There are other films. And then there's Wild Zero
Some of the films which were made before Wild Zero
(which were all obviously inferior) used their entire
length dealing with issues that end up being merely tiny pieces of the rich pageant that is Wild Zero
. For instance,
there were zombie films, such as Night of the Living Dead
(which is, in one of this film's more obviously postmodern
moments, explicitly referenced in Wild Zero
). There were kung fu films, and there were rock and roll films. There
were action films and films about people with ambiguous genders. There were science fiction films about flying
saucers, and there were fantasy films about magic. There were buddy films and there were romantic films. There were
gore films and there were gangster films.
All of these films are, collectively, merely the John the Baptist to Wild Zero
's Jesus Christ Superstar.
They came before, to herald its coming.
Okay, so maybe I'm using a little hyperbole. But Wild Zero
is certainly an insane, goofy, rollicking,
ass-kicking, Molotov cocktail of a film. It is a Japanese film starring a Japanese punk rock band called Guitar
Wolf, as themselves. They are Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf, and they rock. They rock hard. (For more, see
. And, if you can read Japanese, check this
out.) They are cooler than living beings are normally allowed to be. Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf
(who are basically interchangeable) will sit calmly in their black leather jackets among masses of zombies, drinking
liquor (Guitar Wolf, as a band, is fueled mainly by large amounts of alcohol) and combing their hair. Guitar Wolf is
the leader of the band, and he never puts down his guitar. He has guitar pick throwing stars which he can, and will,
unleash upon hordes of zombies with deadly accuracy. His guitar doubles as a sword. He has some kind of magical
power which occassionally manifests itself as blue lightning bolts. His microphone and motorcycle tend to spit fire.
He speaks a little English--he can say "ROCK AND ROLL!!!", and he does, often, and very loudly. His philosophy is
simple--love (and, by extension, rock and roll) has no boundaries, nationalities, or genders. Did I mention he has a
We are introduced to Guitar Wolf at the beginning of the film, right after we meet their biggest fan, a young
man named Ace. Ace aspires to be cooler than Guitar Wolf, though he is sadly unfit for such an obviously impossible
task. He's actually a bit of a loser; he uses his mama's red plastic comb in vain attempts to tame his unruly
pompadour. After witnessing a Guitar Wolf show which seems to transport him to new realms of pleasure, his real
adventure begins. He heads into the back of the club to demand a gig of his own there (regardless of the fact that
he cannot even play guitar), and overhears an argument between the owner of the club and Guitar Wolf.
And now I have to stop here and introduce the owner of the club: The Captain. The Captain is most likely a
pimp and a drug dealer, and he is certainly a gangster of some kind. He's also a childhood friend (ahem) of Guitar
Wolf. He's bald, though he often wears outrageous wigs. He is also constantly wearing what are, I sincerely hope,
the shortest, tiniest and most obscene short pants that exist on Earth. They are even laced up the side so that the
maximum amount of flesh is visible. He loves to laugh maniacally and for long periods of time.
When Ace arrives, the Captain is explaining to Guitar Wolf that rock and roll is over. Ace is having none of
this. He bursts into the room and announces that rock and roll will never die!
What Ace doesn't know is that by this time the atmosphere in the room is tense; guns are drawn and aimed. He
is knocked out almost before he gets to finish defending rock and roll. Then the shooting starts. When it's over,
the Captain has lost a few fingers, and some guy in the hallway has lost his head (and that's only the first of many
heads to explode in this movie). On his way out the door, Guitar Wolf (who is unscathed, of course) makes Ace his
rock and roll blood brother, and gives him a whistle. If you're ever in trouble, Guitar Wolf says, blow on this, and
I'll come help you.
This is about 5 minutes into the movie. During and after this scene (the editing is intense and
disorienting), we are introduced to multiple characters and plot lines. Just hold on and try to keep up; it will all
make sense after a while. (Well, a certain amount of sense. At some point the Captain starts shooting
green energy bolts out of his eyes. You can come up with an explanation for this, but you really have to think about
Eventually everybody and everything collides in the same town--a town that has recently had some meteorite
activitiy (or was that a flying saucer?). Along the way, you'll meet a greedy, tough-as-nails arms dealer whose
every movement ends in a supermodel pose--she's doing some business near the town. You'll meet the yakuza who are on
the other end of that arms deal. You'll meet a bickering couple and their wound-way-too-tight friend who are on
their way to see the meteorite. And you'll meet cute little Tobio, who's apparently just passing through. And
eventually, the zombies show up, and wackiness ensues.
I'd tell you more about the plot, and describe more of the many great scenes to you, but it'd be nowhere near
as effective as seeing the movie yourself. So that is what I suggest you do, now, without delay. It won't be easy
(I'm pretty sure the film has not been released on video or DVD in America yet), but you must do it. He has a GUITAR
SWORD, for god's sake!
may be the only film to feature a zombie love story. Wild Zero
may be the only film to feature
magical punk rock superheroes playing themselves. Wild Zero
belongs to many genres, and to none. But whatever it
is, it is great.