Film review: I Am a Hero – Shinsuke Sato’s glorious zombie horror comedy
The story of a nerd turned saviour, this film based on a Japanese manga injects wit and style into a previously stale formula, making it one of the most joyously entertaining horror movies in years
While The Walking Dead sees audiences worldwide continue to invite zombies into their homes, undead offerings on the big screen have been comparatively lifeless of late. Shinsuke Sato’s blindly enthusiastic I Am a Hero looks set to reverse this slump, however, by accomplishing the elusive goal of being both funny and scary.
Trailer (with Chinese subtitles only)
Adapted from the manga by Kengo Hanazawa, I Am a Hero charts the unlikely transformation of comic book artist Hideo Suzuki (Yo Oizumi) from reclusive nerd to potential saviour of mankind, after a deadly virus consumes Japan, turning the infected into bloodthirsty zombies.
Armed only with a skeet rifle and a boundless imagination, Hideo sees his daily routine consumed by the impending apocalypse. Inevitably he is forced to flee the city, and – together with Katsumi Arimura’s tag-along high schooler – seeks refuge in an abandoned outlet mall, only to be faced with the more palpable threat of other survivors.
Owing a substantial debt to both the classics of George Romero and Edgar Wright’s comedic revisionism, I Am a Hero does more than simply rehash favourites from the past. Employing a heady cocktail of youthful vigour and jaded self-awareness, the film injects wit and style into a previously stale formula.
Sato orchestrates a series of brilliantly staged action scenes – from a high-speed freeway chase, to a gloriously over-the-top final shoot-out – and merrily drops Hideo into them. But as the hapless loser transforms into the gun-toting hero of his fantasies, we are treated to one of the most joyfully entertaining horror movies in recent memory.
I Am a Hero opens on May 5
Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook