Aaarrrggghhhh, every year since I’ve started going to Dead By Dawn there’s always one film that I can never find enough information for. I have the bare details, a random selection of names from the cast list, and my own opinion. And that is all. Dead Banging is that movie for this year.
Written and directed by Eiji Uchida, it’s a whacky comedy about a rock band made up of some girls who find their musical mojo when they allow a zombie, named Tetsuo, to join in with their vocals. The zombie is a male headbanger who is able to unleash an almighty wail or two that works with the instruments and other vocals to keep all of the fans happy during concerts.
There is some bloodshed here, but not too much. This is all about the comedy. And the music. Yes, I’ll admit it. One or two of the songs had me tapping my feet and smiling. The girls pretending to be rock stars may be a bit rubbish with the instruments (seriously, could they have not at least got someone who was ace at Guitar Hero?) but they make up for it with enthusiasm and energy.
Ryusuke Komakine, Shoko Nakahara, Shugo Oshinari, Kyoko Watanabe and everyone else do a great job of carrying the material along with the sheer determination to provide fun fun fun.
Uchida, director of 2013’s Greatful Dead makes the film simple and appealing. I’m thankful for the fact that he doesn’t seem as interested in toilet humour or slapstick as some other directors working in Japan today (Noboru Iguchi, I’m looking at you). Everyone involved seems aware of how silly the whole things is, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun.
As well as rocking young ladies and a bellowing zombie, fans of Japanese cinema will be pleased to see such random pleasures as a couple of women who can kick ass, a nominal villainess who wants to reclaim Tetsuo and allow experiments to continue, and a holy man who also happens to be a bit of a rocker.
I didn’t love Dead Banging, but I did enjoy it. Which was a pleasant surprise. As the opening credits, and first few scenes, played I thought that this might end up being truly terrible. I should have known better, because I’ve ended up enjoying many such whacky movies from Japan. With some notable exceptions (Noboru Iguchi, I’m looking at YOU again).
In summation, Dead Banging is a film that you could easily hate. But I hope you get a few laughs from it, as I did.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: EIJI UCHIDA
STARS: RYUSUKE KOMAKINE, SHOKO NAKAHARA, SHUGO OSHINARI, KYOKO WATANABE
RUNTIME: 86 MINS APPROX