Bio Zombie (1998)

biozombie

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A very witty remake or perhaps homage to George A. Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead, Wilson Yip’s Hong Kong zombie tale is nothing too exciting. However, the performances of lead actors Jordan Chan and Sam Lee make this quite a fun film to enjoy.

Chan and Lee respectively play Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee, two salesman at the local mall. Their goods? Pirated videos. Meanwhile, Woody has a infatuation with local beauty salon worker Rolls, who in turn strings along her friend Loi, the local sushi maker at the Japanese restaurant. Woody and Bee work for Kui, a local hoodlum who only wants one thing: money.

Meanwhile, while everyone is working the mall, the government is working on a new biochemical. When a new biochemical agent is poured into a bottle of Lucozade as a cover for a weapons dealer, a man testing the agent slowly turns into a zombie and kills the weapons dealer. Meanwhile, a survivor of the attack takes the bottle and is picked up by Woody and Bee. When they accidentally knock him over, they give him the spiked drink and now the survivor becomes a zombie.

As the zombie begins his rampage at the mall, Loi becomes one of the victims as he slowly becomes to crave flesh. It is not long before a zombie horde invade the mall. Woody and Bee must lead the survivors first to hide, but ultimately if they plan to get out of the mall, they must fight the zombie horde themselves.

While this film may not be well known outside of its native Hong Kong (with the exception of HK cinema fans), this is truly a nicely shot homage to Dawn of the Dead. What is interesting is the opening credit sequence, which is shot on what looks to be a video, perhaps indicating how piracy relates to the plot. It comes in the form of the heroes being of all people, video pirates.

Jordan Chan and Sam Lee are great in their roles of Woody and Bee. Those who love Young and Dangerous will get to know that Chan played Chicken in the actual films while Lee played Chicken in the prequel. They make a great pairing here as they find themselves in the first half of the film doing business and in the case of Chan, making an attempt to have a love interest in Angela Tong’s Rolls. Lee gets a love interest in the other weird-named salon worker Jelly, played by Lai Suk-Yin. Wayne Lai always tends to act mainly as a comic foil and here proves no different. While he starts off all big and bad as Brother Kui, Woody and Bee’s boss, he eventually downsizes to wussy galore when he is chased by the zombies.

A great highlight is the climactic battle of the film, pitting Woody, Bee, Rolls, Jelly, Brother Kui and his wife against the zombie horde. As Woody tells the others to get any weapon, the characters pose as if they are in a video game. The funny one is Kui, who poses by squatting with a scared look on his face.

The effects of the film are not like that of the European giallo films or the American over the top gorefests of late. They are however, nicely done and in the instances of the zombies, pay some respect to Romero. Adam Chan, a veteran stunt coordinator, handled the action pretty well here. While there are obviously no fancy martial arts here, for what it was, the violence is brutal and at times, cringing.

Bio Zombie is a great Hong Kong zombie fest. If you’re in the mood to watch a fun film on a Saturday night with your friends, pop this one in the DVD player. All this from the director of Donnie Yen’s recent action film fests.

WFG RATING: B+

A Cameron Entertainment Co. Ltd. Production in association with Brilliant Idea Group (BIG) Ltd. Director: Wilson Yip. Producer: Joe Ma. Writers: So Man-Sing, Wilson Yip, and Matt Chow. Cinematography: Venus Keung and Thomas Yeung. Editing: Cheung Ka-Fai.

Cast: Jordan Chan, Sam Lee, Emotion Cheung, Angela Tong, Wayne Lai, Bonnie Lai, Matt Chow, Ken Lok, Frankie Chin, Guy Lai, Ronny Ching.

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