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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #531  (Vol. 11, No. 22)  This edition is for the week of May 24-30, 2010.

Summer Movie Preview
"Sex and the City 2"  by Mike Smith
Loose in Las Vegas: 2010  by ED Tucker
Album of the Month: The Hold Steady-Heaven Is Whenever  by Terence Nuzum
Zombie Hunter Rika (2008)  by Jason Fetters
Everything New Sucks -- The Remix by John Miller
Passing On .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

Zombie Hunter Rika (2008)

Zombie Hunter Rika is a funny zombie movie with enjoyable action scenes with an interesting twist. Finally I saw a good Japanese movie just when I was about to give up on all recent Japanese movies as being low budget trash.

Rika starts out with a doctor being attacked by a zombie outside a lab. Then the movie swifts to introducing Rika and her friend who come across as two ordinary high school girls chatting on a train.

After school, the girls decide to search for Rika’s grandfather who has left Rika’s house to go to his Summer home in the woods.

This is where the fun starts.

Rika and her friend are ambushed by hordes of flesh eating zombies only to be saved by a young martial arts expert who successfully kicks and punches his way through several zombies. Indeed, Zombie Hunter Rika answers many questions I have always had such as will any given martial arts style work against a zombie?

Is it possible to survive a zombie attack without a weapon?

How can you avoid a Zombie Cop shooting at you?

Saved by the young Karate dude, Rika and her friend make it to Grandpa’s house where they are introduced to the young doctor from the beginning who is now a zombie. He explains to anyone that he is a good zombie who doesn’t believe in harming or eating humans, and to prove this point, he wears a metal guard around his mouth that prevents him from taking a flesh devouring bite. He becomes their liaison between zombies and humans and keeps the group informed of all zombie activity.

As in all zombie movies, the house gets surrounded by zombies who eventually break inside only to wreak havoc. Rika gets bit in the arm and her Grandpa manages to cut off her arm before the deadly zombie virus can transform her into the living dead. Grandpa, who is a master surgeon, sets to work giving Rika a new arm that is clutching a samurai sword. The arm belonged to Zombie Hunter who is the main character from a computer game and also a real person who was unfortunately killed.

Once Rika has her new arm the sword comes to live and she is able to wield it like a sword expert. While the action scenes are few, the ones that are there work well. The gore is not over the top as in other exploitation movies and the action shots of sword fighting are not cheesy, which is generally the case.

There is an interesting subplot involving three girls dressed as maids, like the uber-cute maids that appear in anime shows, who work for grandpa. They get attacked by zombies and are turned into cute zombie maids. Something I never thought I would ever see in a Zombie movie but when I saw the zombie maids doing the undead shuffle I was very entertained. I always wanted to visit a Maid Café in Japan and a Zombie Maid Café would be the ultimate experience.

What I love about Zombie Hunter Rika is the fact that it is less about the action and gore and is a compelling character driven zombie movie that successfully uses humor to enhance the plot and not to merely make fun of it. In this way it reminds me of Zombieland.

Honestly, I believe that Zombie Hunter Rika is a fun movie that offers interesting twists that I haven’t seen in recent zombie movies that didn’t suck like Shaun of the Dead. It is accessible to Western audiences and horror fans everyone.

Highly recommended with Four Stars from me.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.