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Zombie Fight Club

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
Scream Factory
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Joe Chien
Andy On
Jessica Cambensy
Bottom Line: 

When a film’s called Zombie Fight Club you really don’t go in expecting a whole hell of a lot. I mean, you expect zombies and fights, and, if you’re lucky, it’s put together in an aesthetically pleasing enough package that will hold one’s attention for ninety minutes or so. I don’t know if I’d call director Joe Chien’s follow-up to his Zombie 108 (which I’ve not seen, but understand is the “first Taiwanese zombie film”) “aesthetically attractive”, but it certainly held my attention. Yeesh, did it ever!

The film takes place in post-apocalyptic Taipei, in one of those huge, concrete slab apartment buildings straight out of Gareth Edward’s The Raid (which this film borrows heavily from). The city is under siege by zombies, but, on this block, the party never stops, as Jenny (the insanely attractive Chinese/American model, Jessica Cambensy, billed as Jessica C here) watches as her boyfriend and his entourage imbibe some illicit substances that prove to be tainted. As her friends die and turn into zombies, a crooked S.W.A.T. team prepares to storm the complex to steal the drugs for themselves. The team’s newest member, Andy (Andy On), reluctantly tags along, but, when his fellow officers fall victim to the zombies inside, Andy must fend for himself. Soon, however, he crosses paths with Jenny, and the two fight their way through the building, finding new allies and enemies on every floor, until, ultimately, the pair are abducted and taken to a sort of gladiatorial arena where they must compete to survive.

From what I can gather, Zombie 108 is considered something of a divisive film that many consider crass, misogynistic, and downright irredeemable stuff. If that’s the case, then Zombie Fight Club is more of the same. While it’s basically a genre mash-up of action and horror cinema, there’s also a healthy (excessive?) dash of softcore roughie-toughie cinema thrown in that will no doubt put off some viewers.

Virtually every female character stripped down to their undergarments within seconds of appearing onscreen as Chien’s camera lingers on their breasts and backsides with all the restraint of a peeping tom. When the girls aren’t bashing heads or engaging in bouts of erotic fisticuffs, they’re getting manhandled by other woman, men, and, yes, even zombies. It seems that, in Chien’s world, not even the dead can resist a hot naked Asian girl.  The entire affair is drenched in buckets of blood and guts, shot in dizzying pseudo-verite style, and tinted the same seafoam green every horror filmmaker has employed since the release of Saw.  

For the most part, seasoned viewers of exploitation flicks (especially pink cinema) won’t be too offended by most of what goes on in Zombie Fight Club, but even I felt a bit icky by the middle mark of the film. I think Chien intended much of the film to be funny (even the rape!) which actually makes the whole thing feel even more depraved.

Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation offers up the film in a 2.35:1 1080p transfer that does the best it can with some pretty unattractive source material. The image is crisp and there’s loads of fine detail on display, but the film is pretty much sapped of all color thanks to the aforementioned color correction. The 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track is effective and robust.

Bonus features are limited to a very short stunts featurette and the film’s trailer; both presented in 1080p.

Zombie Fight Club will surely prove as divisive as its predecessor. There’s a lot of creepy stuff masquerading as humor, here, and, while I’ve certainly sat through (and recommended) films featuring far worse, even I found myself grimacing on occasion. As a zombie/action flick, it’s reasonably entertaining and more polished than most of the low-budget stuff that finds its way to home video these days, but I was put off by the overreliance on T&A and overall misogynistic vibe. If you've a greater tolerance for such things, your mileage may vary, but, personally, I can't recommend it. 


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