Presumably set in Okinawa, Shiryo-gari (written and directed by Muroga Atsushi) is about an American military experiment on dead bodies that predictably results in a zombie outbreak. The hapless American soldiers enlist the help of Dr. Nakada (played by Kishimoto Yuji), a Japanese scientist who was involved in the original research, to help bring the situation under control. As luck would have it, a group of inept jewelry thieves, led by Jun (Asano Nobuyuki) and Saki (Shimamura Kaori) decide to use the isolated laboratory as a hide-out before the American soldiers can get there to clean up the mess.
Problems have a way of going from bad to worse and the crooks soon discover that they will not only need to escape the flesh-eating zombies but a gang of growling yakuza thugs as well. The problem goes from worse to way fucking worse when poorly-aimed yakuza gunfire spills the resurrection juice (called DNX formula) over a large amount of dead medical cadavers. Hordes of the undead, including some token black dudes, are unleashed on the compound. The American military decides to solve the problem the way they solve all problems – by blowing things up. Tsk tsk Americans, zombies are never that easily defeated. Kyoko (played by Japanese idol Miwa), a more intelligent and naked zombie, overrides the warhead’s detonation sequence. Dr. Nakada (who seems to have a history with the hot naked zombie) and two American soldiers fly to the base in a conspicuously non-military helicopter to manually trigger the warhead. I’d continue with the plot summary, but honestly who really cares.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to zombie movies is this – when the laboratory supplies look like they were purchased at Wal-Mart and filled with Kool-Aid, you can tell the movie is going to be bad. Shiryo-gari features yakuza with multicolored hair, a lot of fake blood, fake entrails, gunfire, screaming, and two attractive Japanese women who fight each other and roll around on the floor. Despite that winning combination, some pretty unimaginative directing on the part of Muroga Atsushi makes most of the film mind-numbingly dull. It also lacks good special effects, a good plot, and good acting…but no one was really expecting that anyways.
There are two problems with Japanese movies that have English-speaking characters: A) They tend to hire the gaijin riff-raff (models, English teachers, etc.) inhabiting Tokyo to play the American roles. These people usually have absolutely no acting ability. B) There needs to be at least one Japanese character who can communicate with the English-speakers. This actor usually has absolutely no English-speaking ability. These problems aren’t obvious to a Japanese audience, who will use Japanese subtitles to understand all of the English dialogue. Unfortunately, both of these problems are glaringly obvious when the Japanese film is imported to English-speaking countries. Thus, I find many of the scenes in Shiryo-gari virtually unwatchable due to horrendous acting from the Americans and indecipherable English dialogue on the part of Dr. Nakada.
Ultimately, Shiryo-gari is too campy to be scary and not campy enough to be funny. My recommendation: only watch this movie when you are highly intoxicated and surrounded by equally inebriated friends. Every time a zombie gnaws on some intestines, take a shot.