For a really dumb film, it’s amazingly enjoyable…
A few months ago, my daughter went to a film festival. After each day’s viewing, she’d call me and tell me all about the movies she’d seen. Most of the ones she loved (such as Mother of George) I have seen and one of the last on her lists of must-sees is this film, Dead Sushi. Why she liked it, I had no idea but I told the editor of Influx I was looking for the film and he got me a copy. So, this one is for my daughter, Sarah!
I must warn you that Dead Sushi is very weird and very cheesy. In many ways, it reminded me of another film I reviewed for this site recently—Big Tits Dragon. Both films are about zombies, both are very stupid, both are from Japan and neither takes itself very seriously. While I would NOT put this movie on my must-see list, it is a diverting little time-passer….if you like this sort of thing. So let me tell you about it and then you can decide if it’s the movie for you.
The film begins with a master sushi chef teaching his daughter to become a great sushi chef. However, this is NOT like the recent artsy film Jiro Dreams of Sushi! The father’s methods for teaching her are insane and look for like Mr. Miyagi’s training in The Karate Kid! She is very talented and has been devoted to her father, though even with her skills, he considers her second-rate because she wasn’t born a boy! Disgusted, Keiko runs away from home and gets a job at an inn run by idiots.
The inn where Keiko works is full of all sorts of strange characters, though the strangest are a group of corporate-types who arrive and rudely demand sushi. The resident chef thinks these folks are idiots and prepares 3rd-rate sushi for them. Keiko realizes this and cannot help but speak up. But the chef WAS right—they are idiots and her comments result in a martial arts fight that you would expect to see in a Sonny Chiba film—not a sushi movie! Ultimately, this fight is interrupted when a bizarre hobo arrives and announces he’s come for vengeance. It seemed that he was fired by the company and framed for a crime he didn’t commit, so he’s going to use his secret serum to exact his revenge. After injecting a dead squid with it, the creature becomes alive and has an overwhelming desire to kill AND infect all the sushi at the inn. Soon, hundreds of pieces of sushi have come to life and are ripping the guests and workers to pieces. Doesn’t sound weird enough? Well, the crazy bum then injects himself—and he becomes a tuna-man! Can the tuna-man and his hoard of evil sushi be stopped?!
During the course of the film, you’re treated with hundreds of gallons of blood, beheadings, people vomiting sushi rice after they become zombies, some very gratuitous nudity and one dumb scene after another. This might have worked if the film had taken itself seriously and had intended to be artistic—which it clearly does NOT want to be! It’s very silly and for folks who love cheesy and stupid films, it’s a treat—sort of like watching a Troma film. But, rest assured, if you DON’T want to watch a stupid film, please stay clear! I think the average person would probably stop watching about 10-minutes into the movie. But, if you have a high tolerance for the strange and don’t mind all the over-the-top gore, then by all means give it a try.
By the way, my favorite line in the film was when one of the folks said ‘things have reached a point where they no longer make sense’. I couldn’t have said it any better myself!
Special Grade for Dead Sushi: D (for normal folks): B (for folks who like weird, weird movies)
Review by Lead Entertainment Writer and Film Critic, Martin Hafer