Thanks to Joris for sending in this review from the Amsterdam Film Festival
There’s nothing more liberating than watching a revenge movie. I just love the way these movies work. The story is simple, yet very engaging most of the times. Somebody gets treated inhumanely or gets pushed over the edge and starts taking right into their own hands by exacting cold blooded revenge on who ever has put them in these dire situations. THE MACHINE GIRL, by japanese director Noboru Iguchi, is no exception.
Ami and her younger brother Yu have no parents. They commited suicide from shame after falsely being accused of murder. Living alone now, Ami and Yu have sworn to never lose another loved one ever again so they never resort to violence and try to solve all their problems in a peacefull way, like their parents allways told them. Sho is the son of a Yakuza-clan leader
and the leader of a gang of bullies who constantly terrorize poor Yu and his friend Takeshi. After Yu and Takeshi are murdered by the bullies Ami tries to investigate but gets attacked by the gang members’ parents who turn out to be even more sadistic than their offspring. Ami freaks out completely and swears to kill all of Yu’s enemies. This wont be easy because these Yakuza are members of the Hattori Hanzo ninja dynasty. Ami even loses one of her arms when she tries to attack the Yakuza home base. Barely alive she is taken in by Takeshi’s parents who happen to be mechanics. They fix her up with the perfect tool for pissed off, one armed school girls: an eight barreled machine gun prosthetic.
When I first heard of this movie I couldn’t help but immediately think of other films that use the same kind of gimmick (a body part thats transformed into a weapon) – like TETSUO or PLANET TERROR. Now that I have actually seen MACHINE GIRL it’s easy to say that this one is way different from those afforementioned two. The story is as simple as it gets and is only used as an excuse to get down to some serious blood-shedding. Most of the characters are totally over the top and unbelievable but still fun to watch. What really helps is that THE MACHINE GIRL herself (portrayed by Asami who is a popstar in her native country) is enjoyable and she looks great in that Japanese school uniform as well.
After a very bloody and disgusting opening sequence, which is a great introduction for the carnage that awaits, it took a bit too long for our leading lady to actually lose her arm and get her machine gun in my opinion. But as soon as Ami gains her machine gun arm the movie turns into the gorefest everybody expects it to be. And though the effects work at display never looks authentic it suits the cartoonish style of this movie just fine. Fountains of blood everywhere, people getting cut in two, decapitations, drillbra mayhem… it’s all in there. The only problem here is that the trailer spoiled a bit too much of the gory set pieces we get here, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I advise you to avoid it and let the movie surprise you.
There are some other minor flaws like some bad acting and poor dialogues, but the movie easilly overcomes its own flaws by never taking itself too serious. And though terribly sadistic things happen in this movie everything is so over the top insane that it had me laughing out loud many times over these atrocities like the raping of a dead school girl. MACHINE GIRL isn’t a revenge flick like KILL BILL, which leaves plenty of room for character development, this one can easilly go without any character development… just tell the story and let the mayhem begin.
This really is a perfect midnight movie; it’s simple, fast paced, funny and gory as hell. Invite some friends over, get drunk (or whatever) and let THE MACHINE GIRL lead you into a world of exploitation and bloody madness. I never saw any of Noboru Iguchi’s previous works but this weird little movie certainly made me curious. His next feature film “Tokyo Gore Police” is rumoured to be even more insane than this one so that certainly is something to look forward to.