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Friday, November 1, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Movie Review

'Bio Zombie' has it all: both carnage and fun

Seattle Times staff reporter

Movie review


**
"Bio Zombie," with Jordan Chan and Sam Lee. Directed by Wai-Shun Yip. 94 minutes. Not rated. Grand Illusion.

Here's what happens when the living dead walk in Hong Kong: a zombie sushi chef serves a plate of finger rolls to his rotted, groaning customers.

"Bio Zombie" is director Wai-Shun Yip's (sometimes credited as Wilson Yip) 1998 splatstick homage to George Romero's hugely influential horror flicks, "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead" — as well as the popular "Resident Evil" video-game series they inspired.

Like "Dawn," it takes place in a shopping mall, where punks Woody and Bee (Jordan Chan and Sam Lee) divide their time between harassing girls and working in a shoddy video joint. On a joyride, they accidentally smack a pedestrian, then leave his body in their parked car's trunk — not suspecting that the guy has quaffed a biochemically-laced soda that's turning him into a hungry, infectious corpse.

When the mall gets locked down, the carnage starts. But the makeup's so cheap-looking that the carnage is more silly than stomach-turning.

If "Bio Zombie" isn't too well made, and the first half-hour of comedy is anemic, it has a warm cult reputation for having fun with the material. For instance, when some mall survivors prepare to make a stand, there's an abrupt cut to each one rotating in a black field like a video-game character, with vital statistics alongside.

Skullcaps off to the Grand Illusion for having the guts to keep booking these cult films. Like the Lucio Fulci homage-comedy, "The Dead Hate the Living," "Bio Zombie" is a fairly enjoyable lark for fans of the genre, but it's not too extreme for their dates. Well, theoretical dates.

Mark Rahner: 464-8259 or mrahner@seattletimes.com.

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