Posted on 7/15/10 03:01 PM
Review of Wicked City ([b][b]Yôjû toshi, 1987)
Overview:[/b][/b] Rarely does one encounter a movie where nudity is an integral part of a very in-depth and rich adult horror story. Usually, one associates massive nudity with cheesy porn flicks. Wicked City, brought to us by the director of Ninja Scroll, is not that. This is an adult Gothic horror-thriller movie with a pretty interesting story. But beware: Wicked City involves sex with monsters, rape, oral sodomy and torture. All I can say is this stuff is fully integral to the plot. More importantly, I rather enjoy a very rare anime that's wonderfully made, has terrific visuals and truly is geared for adults.
For this review, I thought the visuals themselves would sell the movie far more than my text, so forgive me if I've gone overboard with the screencaps.
The Story: Throughout time, humans have fought with the demon denizens of the dark world who periodically cross the barrier separating the two worlds. Finally, after much conflict, a compromise was reached that was enacted in a peace treaty. This treaty has to be re-ratified every hundred years or so, and is coming up for renewal - This time the treaty is to be signed in Japan. Two special agents, one from each world, are assigned to meet and protect a key 200 year old emissary named Mayart who is critical to the successful treaty signing. A group of radicals from the black world will stop at nothing to kill Mayart and end the treaty between the races. They believe his death will allow the Black World to assume its rightful place as dominion over all of humanity.
Taki, an elite human "Black Guard" from earth, and Makie, a beautiful, ultra fast, talent-laden demon agent from the black world are thrown together in as partners, and find out that Mayart is more than a handful - in fact he's a downright nightmare to protect. As the radicals strike, Mayart gets separated, and eventually Makie has to sacrifice herself to save Taki and Mayart.
Taki, who was moved by Makie's sacrifice, eventually has to decide between guarding an annoying Mayart or throwing away his career in order to attempt to rescue Makie. As his choice is realized an interesting love story unfolds amidst some incredible action sequences with truly horrid monsters.
The Demons: The radical demons are just badasses. All of them are different - each with their own completely bizarre and visually astounding powers. For just a sampling, we get a Spiderwoman with teeth on her crotch, a guy who can rip out his ribcage to capture his adversary, massive snake viruses, stone men who suck up the souls of dead people, and this lovely woman below who sucks people into her body. Every one of these damn things are frickin awesome villains, and truly serve to highlight the already impressive gothic cinematography. There are no easy battles here folks - the bad guys are baaaaaad.
The Visuals and Coloring: Wicked City, while definitely gothic in tone, is filled with blue and red scenes. The diversity and variances of blues and reds are astounding. In addition, we get a wide diversity of sets, including halfway demolished buildings, bright neon city scapes, dark noir type grays, and scenic cloudscapes of the city itself.
The Action: Wicked City is filled with action of all kinds, including gun fights, laser shooting, monster fights, and some DragonBallZ like sequences. Taki is almost superhuman in an Asian Kung Fu movie sense, and has some of the coolest guns around. Makie has truly fun demon powers, including lasers shooting out of her fingers and hair that can strangle people. Again, usually the action, sex and horror are intermixed in the same scene (see the pic below for details).
The Sex and Stuff: Again, this movie is NOT for the faint of heart. You will see all body parts in various forms of horror. If you are turned off by breast grabbing, rape scenes, or alien invasions like the above shot, you do NOT want to watch Wicked City. This truly is an NC-17 Movie
The Love Story: Yes, this has been done before. This is yet another Romeo and Juliet derivative, but its done rather well. You will find yourself caring about both characters enough to get you by the telegraphed "twist" that comes up at the end.
The Bottom Line: I really dug this flick, but then again, I'm a twisted Sumbitch. But if your interested in delving past the point of generally accepted standards to see a borderline Hentai Gothic Horror movie that has terrific visuals, Wicked City is truly a wicked choice. Enjoy!