14th Jan2012

‘Helldriver’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina, Kazuki Namioka, Yûrei Yanagi, Minoru Torihada, Taka Guadalcanal | Written by Yoshihiro Nishimura, Daichi Nagisa | Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura

For people who are used to “J-sploitation” films they will know what’s coming when I tell you that Helldriver comes from the same people who gave us Tokyo Gore Police. I’ll admit I’m a lover of Tokyo Gore Police, I love it’s all out gore, it’s attempts to shock and the fact it’s all out crazy. Helldriver is very similar in that approach, and it’s got a chick with a chainsaw sword, where can it go wrong?

The story set up for Helldriver is simple. There is the need for revenge as a daughter see’s her father killed by her evil mother and uncle, people are being turned into alien zombie type creatures by a strange ash and the government has no idea what to do with them so they set up a huge wall to keep all of the zombies away from the people who survived. The daughter has no heart as it was ripped out by the mother who now has it as part of her own body, oh yeah and she’s the queen of the alien zombie creature things. If you can keep up with that story then you have the main premise.

Of course the problem with zombie outbreaks is walls never work and the zombie issue becomes a problem. So with a chainsaw sword and a few new sidekicks the daughter must seek her revenge and find a way to blow up the zombie queen at all costs. This is where the second half of the film kicks in and where things really go crazy. I’m talking about cars made out of zombies, jet fighters made out of zombies, and all out action scenes that are just plain crazy. If you like this type of craziness then you’ll love this.

Films like this are made to break conventions and to make people love the risk that is been taken. I knew when watching that things weren’t going to be normal when the opening credits for the film actually appear halfway into the film. This is a wake up as before that the film really struggles. Its attempts to create the back story leave the watcher wondering if it’s going to continue to be as bad as it is. The acting is hammy and the story kind of meanders along until the opening credits hit. I’d say it’s risky but when the film finally starts for real it really is a hit to the senses. From that point its back to that Tokyo Gore Police feel with some of the zombie fights actually stealing some of the ideas from that film.

When it comes to this type of film it is a matter of taste. If you like films that go all out to throw as much gore at you as possible then check this out. Of course there should always be warnings with this type of thing because it’s one of those (very much likeTokyo Gore Police) that go for the extreme gore, but for fans of this type of thing that’s one of the reason they buy it. I’m the type of fan who will buy for the extreme nature, hell I watched parts of this and one of the first things I thought was “the makers of this have been watching Braindead/Dead Alive” because yes, it most definitely steals an idea from the Peter Jackson classic, which was something I liked. With the craziness I didn’t feel that Helldriver was as strong as Tokyo Gore Police and it does lose itself in trying to go too far but I can say that this is one hell of a roller-coaster right, it just takes about half a film to actually get to the ride to actually get moving.

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