For all intensive purposes this is anything but a good or classy film, its cheaply filmed has amazingly over the top gore effects to the point of being way past laughable and manages to channel a surreal sensibility, it is basically every thing Tarantino would like to make as a proper modern day exploitation film. The film in question is that of “The Machine Girl” written and directed by Norboru Iguchi, its look and feel is based very much around the exploitation mould from the mid to late 70’s.For instance it is first and foremost a quintessential a revenge film, which was a basic mould for a lot of Japanese exploitation films (such as the “scorpion prisoner” trilogy, Lady Snowblood or the majority of Sonny Chiba’s violent back catalogue to name a few) as well as the over the top violence and spraying glazers of blood either on each other or over the camera. All of which are present and correct in Machine Girl allowing it to be one of the most outlandishly entertaining piece of Japanese craziness I have personally seen since Ichi The Killer (another politically incorrect masterpiece of sadism mixed with gushing blood and ripe black humour) which basically means that you have to catch this violent piece of exploitation cinema.
The basic plot concerns that of Ami and her little brother Yu , both of who are parentless due to their family being shamed over a murder inquiry leading to their parents committing suicide leaving them with just each other. The little brother gets involved with a son of a yakuza (which is not really fully explained) leading to him being bullied and eventually murdered along with his best mate Takashi. This leads to Ami loosing her rag some what and going on a mass murdering rampage against the teen gang and the yakuza family who are responsible for there deaths, which in the process leads to her having one of her arms lopped off. She escapes and joins forces reluctantly with Takashi’s hatred filled mother Miki , and together they hatch a plan for vengeance. That is all that really needs to be known about it as the rest of the film is just balls to the wall violence and of the most extreme variety that it at one point had me gag slightly, and that very rarely happens with any type of film for me (I mean I have seen Anti-Christ twice and that is just as fake in the make-up department but that never caused me to feel sick). So that is a huge achievement if a film can do that to me after so many films and only allows me to become even more endeared to it, top marks there for the bar being raised so far it becomes giddy looking down at anything else.
It is obviously filmed on the cheap due to the make-up effects and CGI tinkering but the use of HD possibly DV cameras has allowed it to retain a certain low budget exploitation feeling throughout with its de-saturated grey look, allowing for when the blood flows to breath life more into this hype kinetic and strange film. There is hardly a moment where it feels as though the film lags or feels flabby, the pace is quick as is the wit and style and each performance is as off the wall and mental as the last actor.
If you read this blog often enough by now you know about my love affair with trashy awful and downright despicable b-grade movies, so it would come as no surprise that with all of the craziness happening within this little gem along with the high gore quota which allows it to verge on an almost comic book style film, that I instantly found it supremely likeable and highly entertaining, allowing it to be the type of film I could watch again and again and still find more to enjoy with its ludicrousness. I mean anything that contains such things as: Tempura arms, severed arms spraying more blood then humanly possible, severed finger sushi, a face full of nails as a form of torturing a villain, a bunch of crazy high school ninjas, body slicing throwing stars, a flying head removing guillotine, a chainsaw powered leg, a knife in the back of a head leading to the spewing of both blood and vomit along with a large intestine into a pan of boiling soup, a drill bra(yes that is correct), and last but not least a machine gun arm, just allow me to fall in love with it even more but I tell you what that was exhausting to mention and remember all of the wacked out scenes of crazieness and thats not even in full detail. But either way I highly recommend but for those with more of a strong stomach and more liberal mind.
So the pros and cons of this if you are as yet undecided range from a great pace but some glaring plot holes, so-so direction but an abundance of energy fun and downright tightly edited action sequences to make the most of the limited budget. The music is not as iconic as it could have been given the potential of a new kind of action heroine but that is a minor down point, as well as a bit of an off putting ending but again a minor loss of some fun marks that does not really ruin the film. It also contains great performance from new comer Minase Yashiro in the title role she has a great presence along with a innocent yet fearful look about her character which allows it to be all the more enjoyable.
So in summary if you are like me and easily appeased by crap make-up effects, crazy inventions, off the wall performances and the odd bit of gross out comedy, jump on board and get involved with this new trash classic. It certainly has inflamed my passion to go and seek out similar films of this variety such as “Tokyo Gore Police”, “Meatball Machine” and “X-Cross” it really has blown my mind as to what the Japanese can achieve with a bit of creativity and a limited budget, granted it wont be to all viewers tastes but it is a bit of cheap and cheerful fun with over the top violence thrown in for good measure. If you can find the film check out Machine Girl, a guys film experience through and through, and if you liked the tosh that jumped on the Grindhouse bandwagon this might make you realise the amount of missed opportunities and the what ifs.
Lock and load for a bloody good time of cheap violence and production values, they certainly don’t make them like this that often. 8 pints of blood out of 10 for its pure outlandishness, give it a bash.