Dead Sushi combines two of my favorite things from low budget Japanese cinema – Rina Takeda and Noboru Iguchi! While I wish these two combined to make something amazing, Dead Sushi turns out to just be above average. While certainly a lot better than either of the prior Iguchi and Takeda films I have seen (Zombie Ass and Kunoichi), Dead Sushi suffers from trying to be too many things. Sure, it’s got zombies, killer sushi, and face kicking, but there is also a big lecture on the proper way to make, eat, and appreciate sushi. Dead Sushi takes as much from Jiro Dreams of Sushi as it does from Machine Girl or High-Kick Girl! Unfortunately, they drag the movie down to a more average range.
The two main attractions to Dead Sushi are the gore effects and the choreography. First – the gore effects are okay, but not so different from what we’ve seen before. The humor comes from the instigators of this gore, living sushi pieces that talk gibberish and fly through the air, skeletonizing people. After the gimmick wears off, Dead Sushi gives us zombies to allow for some actual fighting against something other than CGI and puppets. While zombies are overused and boring (despite these zombies spitting up rice!), the occasional fights against CGI sushi have their fun, and remind me of Birdemic.
The choreography is less disappointing, and is what you should seek out Dead Sushi for. Rina Takeda’s Keiko is a sushi apprentice to her father, the sushi chef skills giving her karate skills because that’s just how it works. There is some kicking and punching of sushi pieces out of the air, and later some battles against ineffectual zombies. Dead Sushi then shakes things up with Kentaro Shimazu running around with a giant fish head and a gianter axe to battle Rina Takeda, while the one good piece of sushi – Eggy – does battle with a giant CGI sushi battleship. The fights keep you entertained, whoever the stunt guy for Kentaro Shimazu is matches well with Rina Takeda’s moves, giving us nice fighting to entertain the people. Bread and circuses. Or Sushi and Zombies.