Review: Helldriver (Blu-ray)

Well Go USA brings Yoshihiro Nishimura's Japanese splatter horror-comedy gorefest Helldriver to Blu-ray!

  • Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura
  • Starring: Yumiko Hara, Eihi Shiina, Kentaro Kishi
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 116 Minutes
  • Company: Well Go USA
  • Format: Blu-ray + DVD Combo
  • Discs: BD: 1 - 25GB / DVD: 1
  • Video: 1.78:1 - 1080P - AVC
  • Audio: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1,  Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Region: A
  • Released: 11/22/2011

Japan is destroyed. Overrun with flesh hungry zombies spawned from black ash originating from a cosmic meteorite that devastated the country. Government and social order are in turmoil as citizens fight to survive while political officials struggle to justify killing the alien zombies since they may or may not still be humans. Basically, Japan is fucked. That is until we meet our slender, tough as nails heroine Kika (Yumiko Hara) who uses her chainsaw sword to eliminate zombie scum. Through flashbacks we learn Kika witnessed her Father murdered/eaten by her serial killer Mother Rikka (Eihi Shiina, Audition) & Uncle Yasushi (Kentaro Kishi, Robogeisha). After ripping Kika's heart out, Rikka is struck by the aforementioned meteorite, turning her into a powerful Zombie Queen. Kika is recovered by a military unit who essentially rebuilds her into an ass kicking android machine hellbent on destroying Rikka, Yasushi and all of the evil standing in her way. 
Still with me? Good, cause that's just the tip of the bizarro iceberg. If you're familiar with Yoshihiro Nishimura and his work you know you're in for a unique experience unlike anything you've ever seen. The Japan based filmmaker/FX-Makeup Artist first proved his genius with 2008's now classic gore piece, Tokyo Gore Police. Nishimura would further showcase his talents with the equally outrageous Machine Girl, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl & Mutant Girls Squad. Unlimited amounts of gore, sexy weapon armed women bringing the pain and makeup effects that would give Tom Savini nightmares. It's a trifecta of entertainment that never disappoints.
Helldriver is an LSD fueled monster truck that never stops once it gets going. At the center of it all is Kika, played with sweet ferocity by Yumiko Hara. At glance the sexy and innocent Kika seems harmless. Then you witness her decapitate, mutilate and eviscerate hordes of freak creatures in a grotesquely gruesome fashion. Did I mention she performs said act with a chainsaw sword? Yes, you read that correctly. There's a blitzkrieg of "what the fuck" moments in Helldriver that will leave you laughing, smiling and cheering from start to finish.
If my above summarization of the film doesn't sound interesting in the slightest, you have no soul. Helldriver has only one goal, entertain. Such is the modus operandi of Sushi Typhoon, an offspring of legendary Japanese studio Nikkatsu, dedicated to producing and releasing films that defy the norm. Helldriver is the magnum opus of wild, weird and over the top. Leave all serious and rational thought behind and prepare to submergre yourself in two hours of sense assaulting mayhem.

    • Video
    Helldriver makes it's Blu-ray debut thanks to Well Go USA's new partnership with Sushi Typhoon, so expect loads more of Asian mayhem cinema hitting our shores soon. Since Helldriver was shot on an HD camera the transfer certainly reflects that, offering a clean, sharp and detailed viewing. A downfall of shooting on HD combined with not too great looking CGI creates some picture issues but shouldn't be taken as a distraction. It's all part of the intended low budget experience. Colors blast off the screen and shine, it's like a technicolor rainbow nightmare. Despite the aforementioned anomalies, this is a solid looking disc.
    • Audio
    I went with the included Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and more than happy with the results. My sound system got a real workout, offering a great mix through the various channels and some true subwoofer action. The countless sound effects, battle scenes and soundtrack will have your house shaking. Opt for the 5.1 mix for maximum speaker mayhem!

    Bonus Features
    • Introduction - Director Yoshihiro Nishimura
    Nishimura gives a 30 second intro next to an Alamo Drafthouse truck telling viewers to enjoy the film and definitely watch it under the influence of your favorite beverage. Basically get tipsy/drunk, set back and have a hell of a time.
    • Featurette - Sushi Typhoon Invades Tokyo
    This 20 minute featurette gives us a fun and candid look at the premiere of many films from Sushi Typhoon in Tokyo. Interviews range from directors Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), Noboru Iguchi (Karate-Robo Zaborgar) and actors Tak Sakaguchi (Yakuza Weapon), Yumiko Hara (Helldriver), etc. All involved look genuinely excited and happy to be part of something truly unique in the cinema world, no matter how despised it is in their native country.
    • Short Films
    Also included are three short films titled Helldriver Dokota, Catch Me If You Can & Bailout! All of which tie in and connect to the feature film.
    • Trailers
    More Sushi Typhoon goodness with trailers of Yakuza Weapon, Deadball, Karate-Robo Zaborgar & Mutant Girl Squad.
    • DVD Copy

    (Screencaps represent DVD, not Blu-ray)