TIFF 2020 Review: ‘Get the Hell Out’

Newcomer Taiwanese filmmaker I-Fan Wang has a blast with zombies and politics in this ambitious and timely gonzo zombie-horror-comedy-martial-arts-extravaganza.

Get the Hell Out is a playfully bold and ambitious feature debut from young Taiwanese newcomer I-Fan Wang, a colorful and action-packed gonzo-zombie-horror-comedy-martial-arts extravaganza that riffs on the bureaucratic mindlessness, corporate interests and greed that can infect politics – and it does so with an outrageous sense of flair, a silly sense of humor, a lot of blood and a lot of fun.

Specifically in this case, the governmental body being skewered is Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, which has an infamous real-life reputation for sessions that get so heated and intense that its members have actually gotten into physical brawls on the legislature floor. Wang has used this setting as the basis for an entertaining genre mash-up that ultimately serves as a morality tale about fighting to preserve your home and to make it a better place for everyone, no matter how bad things may get or seem, which seems a particularly relevant message in our current turbulent times.

The story centers around a smart, tough, badass female MP, Hsiung (Megan Lai), whose political rival, Gangter MP, Mr. Chung (Chung Huang Wang) has gotten her kicked out of Parliament for her martial arts prowess and her opposition to an industrial plant being built at the site of her former home. Determined to stop the construction of the plant despite her new lack of power, Hsiung recruits a meek security guard with a chronic nose-bleed condition, Wang You-Wei (Bruce Ho), who happens to also be in love with her, to take her place in Parliament and operate as her political puppet while she pretends to be his assistant. Things get crazy from there as the plant also brings with it a rabies-like virus that turns people into flesh-eating zombies and it’s up to Wang, Hsiung and a rag-tag group including Hsiung’s father (Chung-Hua Tou) to save Parliament from the mindless hordes.

Influenced by the early action-comedy martial arts films of Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle), Wang’s Get the Hell Out is an over-the-top pastiche of visual gimmicks and influences including anime, commercials, video games, and other directors like Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Park-Chan Wook and Edgar Wright.

And while the filming was completed in 2019, Get the Hell Out also happens to be perfectly and presciently relevant for our current moment as we live through a global pandemic, as the plot specifically revolves around the politicization of a viral outbreak. It’s unfortunate that our real-world pandemic will prevent certain audiences from seeing Get the Hell Out on a big screen, as it’s obviously meant to be seen with a large popcorn and a rowdy audience with a willingness to have fun and to perhaps forget about the real horrors outside for a little while.

As Get the Hell Out itself cheekily offers, or very smartly warns, in its opening quote, “A wrong movie makes you suffer for only 90 minutes. A wrong government makes you suffer for four years.” Luckily this particular 90 minutes is a bloody fun reprieve.

Get The Hell Out, Dir. I-Fan Wang

Genre: Fantasy, Zombie, Action

Run Time: 96 minutes

TIFF Premier: Sept 10, 2020, Midnight Madness Category

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