Get the Hell Out movie review: zombie horror comedy takes Taiwan politics as its stage
- The tale of a zombie plague in Taiwan’s notoriously unruly legislature is frantic and unsubtle, with only a few laughs
- The director, Wang I-fan, refuses to take a swipe at Taiwan’s political system, and by the end viewers are left exhausted
With the world on its knees thanks to a deadly pandemic, and the political institutions of many powerful nations in a state of turmoil, do cinema-goers really have the stomach for a blood-spattered zombie satire, set in the corridors of Taipei’s unruly legislature?
First-time director Wang I-fan thinks so, and he approaches the material with all the subtlety of a coked-up paparazzo. What emerges is 90 exhausting minutes of hysteria, yielding little insight and only occasional laughs.
Maverick lawmaker Hsiang Ying-ying (Megan Lai Ya-yen, Fagara ) got into politics for honourable reasons, to help her rural community oppose a controversial chemical plant. Not only were her efforts blocked by corrupt political rivals, but that same facility is now responsible for leaking a deadly virus across the entire country.
When Hsiang is fired following a very public scuffle with her primary opponent (Wang Chung-huang), she persuades former schoolmate who is now a security guard Wang Yo-wei (Bruce Hung) to run for her seat. This unlikely power play unfolds just as the infected president returns from inspecting the problematic chemical plant, unwittingly bringing the contagious zombie plague into the government’s central offices.
With such a scabrous set-up, the opportunities for barbed political commentary are as numerous as the multiplying horde itself, but it soon becomes apparent that fledgling director Wang has little appetite for critiquing his, or any other, elected officials.
The film makes vague, sweeping assertions that corruption, in its broadest and most general sense, is rampant in politics, and should generally be discouraged, and that Taiwan’s legislature has a history of heated and chaotic debate, but that’s as far as Wang’s thirst for satire stretches.
Propelled by manic pacing and a hyperactive visual aesthetic, Get the Hell Out is less interested in the threat of zombie invasion than the potential for romance between Hsiang’s hard-nosed politician and Wang’s campaign neophyte, whose defining characteristic is his perpetually bleeding nose.
The rest of the cast, from Francesca Kao’s disgruntled civil servant to Tou Chung-hua’s axe-wielding handyman, are painted as garish caricatures all jostling for the next cheap laugh.
From its ramped-up opening, Wang maintains the same frenetic pace for the entire duration. By the time the film reaches its laudably bloody climax on the floor of the legislature’s main chamber, however, “Get the Hell Out” may well be a sentiment echoed by audiences as desperately as those on screen.
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