A spaceship crashes in the forest near Mount Fuji, releasing a green shockwave that causes the dead to come back to life. A group of soldiers, a Yakuza member, and a pop-star now must fight for their lives while trying to make it out of the woods without becoming one of the undead.
Well now, "Zombie Self-Defense Force" certainly found an interesting way to start off. What I'm assuming is the director speaking, while a Japanese flag is waving in the background. He begins talking about his dislike of the US and its government as well as mentioning how the Japanese have distain for the US from losing the war and from us dropping nuclear bombs on their country. Then goes into about how he does enjoy the culture, especially movies and in particular George Romero's zombie movies. Only problem is, with that simple statement of acknowledging where and who the director draws inspiration from, you may think the movie is going to pay homage to the Dead movies and maintain the same style as them. If only...
The movie goes right into, possibly some of the worst CGI sequences of an alien spaceship crashing in the woods, where a group of soldiers happen to be on a training routine, some Yakuza members are taking care of a little business, a pop-star's photoshoot and a near by hotel. Naturally, the explosion from the spacecraft makes the dead come back to life and the movie wastes no time of getting to the zombie action. The Yakuza members are surrounded by zombies, a woman who hung herself goes after the soldiers and everyone involved in the photoshoot are killed except for the pop-star. Which is a crying shame, because she will become one of most whiny and obnoxious characters, that you'll be begging for some zombies to get ahold of her. Even then, I don't think the zombies would go near her, doubt they would want to have their meal ruined by listening to the high pitched, child-like whines of a grown woman. The rest of the story will cover some familiar ground with those who've watched Romero's "Dead" movies, of a group of people who were unlikely to ever cross paths if it weren't for a zombie-apocalypse. Become held up at the near by hotel, as it is soon surrounded by the undead.
An interesting aspect of the zombies is that they are impossible to kill, much like the ones in the "Return of the Living Dead" movies, which is something that we don't see very often. Once they are on the loose though, its obvious this isn't going to be a serious movie at all, it is a total camp-fest and does so in an attempt to be funny. Compared to a movie like "Special Dead," here they are being campy for the sake of being campy. Some people may enjoy it, and the intentional camp may also having them laughing throughout like the movie intends. I found it more annoying that anything else.
The movie does have its moments, such as where a zombie baby is on the loose in hotel and reeking havoc. (obviously inspired by Peter Jackson's zombie baby in "Braindead") There is also some unintentional humor to be found in this movie, apparently they were afraid the blood was going to stain the walls and the floor of the hotel they were staying in, so everything is covered in plastic. I shit you not. The characters don't acknowledge it but it's obvious that it's there and you'll be laughing the first time you see it. There are plenty of stupid moments in the movie as well, including a soldier and a zombie having a John Woo stand-off with guns. Or even worse, the big character revelation of the one female soldier. I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but I will say that the movie ventures into Sci-Fi territory by involving robots. Robots that are more specifically designed to attack the United States, and restore honor to Japan.
With its random absurd plot points, and at times, its off beat sense of humor, I wanted to like the movie but in the end I just couldn't. The story isn't bad, other than the woman playing the pop-star, the characters were pretty likable and in general you may find yourself rooting for some of them. It was just trying way to hard to be campy, and in general was too silly and too stupid, especially towards the end. Maybe you will enjoy it though. If you are in the mood for a completely ridiculous and silly zombie movie, with plenty of gore, that you don't have to think about or analyze. Where you can just sit back, hit the play button and enjoy the ride, then I'd say "Zombie Self-Defense Force" is worth checking out.
As a side note about the screen grabs, I was watching a screener copy of the movie, which is why the word "sample" is on the images. So if you pick yourself up a copy, you won't see the text across the screen.