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Eager, cash-strapped young filmmakers use mob money to fund their movie. There are strings attached, of course, including the request that the mob boss’ girlfriend be made the leading lady. It’s a story that’s probably been kicked around for as long as movies have existed. To their credit, writer-director Pin Chuan-Kao, and co-writers Birdy Feng and Yiho Tsai, throw in a lot of plot-twists and mix a lot of genres in an attempt to make THE GANGS, THE OSCARS, AND THE WALKING DEAD feel fresh.

From time to time this anything-goes approach works and the abundant mix of ingredients harmonize -- like when a bunch of tattooed triad members are sitting in a steam bath reading the script and running lines of absurdly cheesy dialogue. At other times, the constant addition of new twists and ridiculously unbelievable problems saps the movie's momentum and makes you feel as frustrated as the fictional filmmakers -- like nothing is really being accomplished.

The foremost twist here is that they’re making a zombie movie, which allows for an added level of blood and guts to go along with the broad comedy that you might expect from a Tiawanese movie with this title. Some of it is funny, in a HANGOVER meets WEEKEND AT BERNIES kind of way, though I could do without the goofy sound effects that accompany some of the more juvenile moments.

At the beginning, it’s easy to root for our two filmmaking friends (especially the charismatic Roy Chiu as the producer they call BS), but by the time the credits roll there’s been so many convoluted developments, and so many anonymous minor characters introduced, that their lifelong dream of making a movie ultimately ends up being met with a shrug. If you’re like me, you might feel the same way about this movie.

【Trailer】The Gangs, the Oscars, and the Walking Dead from Impression Taiwan on Vimeo.

Sean Erickson