Biozombie (1998)
Media Blasters
Cast: Jordan Chan, Sam Lee
Extras: Still Gallery, Bonus Trailers

First of all, allow me to say that ’Biozombie’ is not the all-out living dead gorefest that we’ve all been waiting for. Secondly, let me add that this is still one really cool movie! Playing as a mixture of ’Mallrats’ and ’Dawn of the Dead’, ’Biozombie’ is a Hong Kong import aimed squarely at a Generation X audience. The film introduces us to Woody (Jordan Chan) and Bee (Sam Lee), two slackers who work at a video store (more on that later) in a small shopping plaza. Woody and Bee imagine themselves to be tough-guys and lady’s-men, and they strut around as if they own the world — Woody with his leather jacket, and Bee with his ever-present GameBoy (which plays a large role in the film). While on an errand to pick up their boss’ car, they hit a strange pedestrian and take him back to the mall. This stranger turns out to be a zombie, and he soon infects several others. With the mall locked up for the night, Woody and Bee must take it upon themselves to protect the few humans remaining… while doing the least amount of work possible.

The first 45-minutes of ’Biozombie’ really threw me, as the film plays as a straight comedy. It was entertaining, but a bit slow. But, once the zombie’s arrive, things change in a hurry. We’ve all seen films based on or influenced by video games, but ’Biozombie’ actually becomes a video game at one point. This is only one of the unique approaches that director Yip Wai-Shun brings to the film. ’Biozombie’ turns out to be a true roller-coaster ride, as we start with the comedic opening, then move into the action-horror, and finally, a very nihilistic ending. The film was obviously made on a low budget, but Yip Wai-Shun manages to derive many genuine emotions from the film, as ’Biozombie’ shows a true heart that few American films would dare to touch. Chan and Lee come across perfectly as the incompetent boobs who find themselves fighting zombies in the real world (as opposed to their video games). ’Biozombie’ isn’t the next big things in zombiedom, nor does it try to be. It’s simply a fun movie that offers laughs, scares, and hit-points for all of the characters.

’Biozombie’ arrives on DVD from MediaBlasters. The film is presented in a letterbox format, and has been framed at approximately 1.85:1. Unfortunately, this transfer is not enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, but the transfer has exposed some defects in the low-budget film. Scratches and white blemishes from the source print are noticeable at times, and there is some overt grain during the brightly-lit scenes. The colors are true and realistic for the most part, but things do appear slightly blanched in some scenes. However, taking the film’s origins into consideration, this is probably the best that ’Biozombie’ has ever looked.

The audio on the DVD is a Dolby Digital Stereo track, which offers clear and audible dialogue and sound effects, but, of course, a surround track is always desired. ’Biozombie’ may be viewed with the original Cantonese dialogue track, or with an English dubbed version (which, for once, isn’t all that bad). The English subtitles are in white with a black backing and easy to read. There are some typos, but they appear to be fairly accurate.

The only extra on the DVD is a still gallery featuring 8 lobby cards from the film, as well as four videos for other MediaBlasters titles, including ’Hakaider’ and ’Gappa’ (which must be seen to be believed). I recommend ’Biozombie’ for those who’ve enjoyed video games such as ’Resident Evil’ and for any living-dead fans.