Zombie Fight Club


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Zombie Fight Club
"These are not so much the high-kicking tough guy lowlifes of Gareth Evans' hit as the offspring of some ITV reality show supplied with guns and lingerie and crack."

A ragbag collection of zombie-related set pieces, some of them brilliant, some mediocre, Zombie Fight Club starts out as an undead-plagued take on The Raid before swerving off, about two thirds of the way through, into a bizarre take on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome territory. There's a lot of humour, not all of which translates for a Western audience, and there's a great deal of gratuitous female nudity, whilst the male characters seem primarily concerned with taking drugs or fighting - even before the zombies show up. These are not so much the high-kicking tough guy lowlifes of Gareth Evans' hit as the offspring of some ITV reality show supplied with guns and lingerie and crack.

In its set-up, this wildly incoherent film owes much to the disaster movie genre. Several different sets of characters are established (there are thankfully no singing nuns) and we watch each of them try to cope as what is apparently a plague infiltrates their building. The fact that most of them would likely find it a struggle just to cook a meal or do their laundry does not bode well, and whilst one or two of them show some initiative - there's a great sequence involving an elderly disabled character - others do nothing but shriek and flap their arms around. Given the presence of martial arts stars like Andy On, the first stretch of the film is rather light on good fight scenes, though gore fans will enjoy seeing one zombie punched through the head. Some of the action is nicely staged but there's little that's original.

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Once we enter the second part, things disintegrate in a predictable way. Suddenly there's a lot of sand everywhere because, you know, it's post-Apocalypse and all that. A giant arena has been converted into something like Land Of The Dead's zombie fighting pit, and apparently there are still enough strong, healthy humans around for no one to think twice about the best of them getting killed off as gladiators. Meanwhile, young women who look as if they've wandered straight out of a salon strut around in the kind of skimpy PVC outfits one always finds lying around after the end of the world. A vaguely sympathetic character from the first part has become a cartoonish villain. People trade in water but still apparently have enough of it left to grow white rice.

To be fair, nobody comes to a film called Zombie Fight Club looking for great art, and in this section we finally get some decent action scenes as well as an effort at acting from the leads. The undead are somewhat sidelined as we focus on the human drama, not that there's anything particularly complex about that. The misogyny-for-laughs character of the first part continues as a brutal rape scene is paralleled with the supposed ignominy of having sex with a fat woman, creating an atmosphere not unlike that of a family gathering with a racist uncle just when we're supposed to be engaging with the thrill of a slave revolt. Tonally the film is all over the place. One gets the feeling that it might have been edited down from something that made sense but was four hours long.

Despite its manifold failings, Zombie Fight Club really does have its moments, and will entertain committed zombie fans. For the most part it avoids the cardinal zombie film sin of being boring; it's just that it would work much better as several unconnected shorts.

Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2015
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Zombie Fight Club packshot
Two people try to survive in Taipei as a horde of zombies and a recently arrived SWAT team do battle over a stash of drugs.
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Director: Joe Chien

Writer: Joe Chien

Starring: Andy On, Jessica Cambensy, Michael Wong, Terence Yin, Abby Fung

Year: 2014

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Hong Kong


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