‘Bio Zombie’ is delirious fun

BioZombie_JHK
Title: “Bio Zombie”
Director: Wilson Yip
Genre: Horror comedy
Release date: June 11, 1998
Country: China (Hong Kong)
Rating: 3.5/5

“Bio Zombie” is “Resident Evil” through the eyes of “Shaun of the dead,” with enough goofy gimmicks to keep viewers entertained, at least for a while.

After the misanthropic mall DVD store employees Woody Invincible (Jordan Chan, “Ip Man: The Final Fight”) and Crazy Bee (Sam Lee, “Man of Tai Chi”) hit a jaywalking government agent with their car, they feed him a biological weapon disguised as a soft drink. They take him back to the mall and he breaks out of their trunk, biting and slashing everybody in sight.

As if the cause of the zombie outbreak wasn’t ridiculous enough, “Bio Zombie” ups the stakes even more. The movie bursts at the seams with infectious enthusiasm, and energy and it’s easy to get wrapped up in it — so easy that it can distract from the downsides.

The biggest one is that the movie runs out of gags quickly. Though it’s consistently funny for the first hour, the final 30 minutes lag.

“Bio Zombie” is extremely low budget and it shows sometimes. It was obvious that director Yip had to make some compromises when it came to makeup. In almost every scene with a zombie, the viewer can see where the makeup hadn’t been applied.

And while Chan’s performance is decent as the selfish Woody, Lee’s performance as Bee isn’t as well rounded. Especially during the more emotional parts, Lee’s limited range as an actor shows through and he can be hard to take seriously.

But for its downsides, “Bio Zombie” revels in ridiculous ultra-violence and enthusiasm for the zombie horror genre. References to everything from “Dawn of the Dead” to “White Zombie” abound, and the film can be a “Shaun of the Dead” type treat for fans of the genre, though it doesn’t achieve “Shaun”’s dizzying fanaticism.

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When it comes down to it, there’s not much that’s special about “Bio Zombie.” It’s mostly funny and self-aware, but can’t decide what movie it wants to be by the end. Even for 1998, there’s nothing new about “Bio Zombie.” When it does what it does best, frenetic comedy, it’s a pleasure to watch.