Directed by Keita Amakemia. Starring Yuko Moriyama, Kunihiko Idia, Mizuho Yoshida. (1991)
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Sept. 23, 1994
Slickly produced and stylishly directed, bursting with good special effects and generous production values, Zeram is both a good example and a fine introduction to the lighthearted science fiction genre that has become increasingly popular in the modern Japanese cinema. The outlandish plot follows the adventures of two bumbling electrical repairmen working in Tokyo, for whom a simple repair job turns into a epic adventure that sends them into an alternate dimension to assist a cute female bounty hunter in capturing a seven-foot-tall monster known only as Zeram. If you think that the plot sounds cheesy, you'd be right, but that's part of the fun of Zeram, and of the genre in general. Thankfully, the fine folks at Dobie have seen fit to get the subtitled version of Zeram, rather than the dry, hollow English-dubbed version that was dumped onto domestic video last year. Like the craze of old-style kung fu movies reappearing in Hong Kong, the Japanese are also busy at reinventing their own tried-and-true entertainments, in this case the “sci-fi superhero vs. giant monster” formula, for Nineties audiences, and are succeeding admirably in their home country (Even the most stuck-up cineaste would be taken aback by the quality of any of the most recent Godzilla films.…) Although Zeram is not by any stretch of the imagination the best film that modern Japanese fantasy has to offer, it is a fun ride in its own right, like one of those Japanese animated movies made flesh, or an Ultraman offspring with better monsters. The picture isn't anything revolutionary, but its coming hot on the heels of Sinya Tsukamoto's brilliant Tetsuo does mark a promising start in seeing that some of these films get proper stateside distribution. Now, if we could only get those new Godzilla, Suban Deka, and Lone Wolf and Cub movies over here.