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9/7/08

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There's a delicate art to creating movie gore. First the filmmakers have to decide what kind of tone they want to set; realistic, scary, gross, funny, or a combination. Then they have to decide how they want to use it, a little shown just right can be extremely effective ala Seven, you use too much, the audience can become numb too it, like by the time the girl's getting her eye blow-torched in Hostel, it's become humorous. Sometimes filmmakers want to go all out, and make a movie pretty much all about the gore, see how far they can push it, see how many ways they can come up with destroying the human body. The Italians relished in it during the 70's, now the Japanese hold the market. (Examples: Tokyo Gore Police, The Story of Ricky, or Ichi the Killer.) Machine Girl is one of the better and more original gore films I've seen.

Ami is a high school basketball star, who takes care of her younger brother Yu, because they're parents are dead. When Yu gets killed by the school bully, and son of the local Yakuza boss, Ami goes nuts and starts killing off everyone who was even slightly involved. She's captured by the Yakuza, gets tortured and her arm chopped off, but manages to escape with her life. She stumbles upon the doorstep of Yu's best-friend's parents house, whose son was killed along with Yu. The father, an ace mechanic builds Ami a machine gun arm, and soon the two mom's team up to take down the Yakuza in the bloodiest way possible.

People are tortured, maimed and killed in just about every possible way you could think of, and quite a few ways you never would think of. Guys are sliced and diced with knives, swords and chainsaws, they're shot with Gatling guns inches from their face, Ninja stars fly furiously, at one point Ami gets her arm deep fried in tempura and then she's attacked later by a woman with a drill-bra. Yes, a bra, that has large drills covering each breast; I must say, it's one of the most inventive weapons I've ever seen. The filmmakers make sure to show every bloody detail of every single attack, ramping up the gore to the maximum effect. A small cut to the neck, will shoot off like a fire hose. When somebody's shot in the face, the entire skull is exposed, white eyes bugging out, while they scream in pain.

The Machine Girl is one of the bloodiest films I've ever seen, but I didn't get squeamish even once, none of it can be taken seriously in the least, it's all over-the-top cartoon violence. Writer/director Noboru Iguchi, doesn't want to get us sick, he wants to push the envelope and makes us laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. At times the gore is top-notch, but they also rely too much on cheap computer effects that don't sell the gooshy-red stuff in the same way. It's too bad that the rest of the film does't hold up, they try their damndest, but the rest of the film is a bit weak. It could have been shot with more style, the editing lags at moments, and even for a film this stylisticy goofy, the acting ranges from barely tolerable to painfully bad. But if you're into weird or violent films, you could do much worse, it's worth watching just for the hundreds of gory deaths. - Grade: C+ (Seen on 7/1/08)

The opening 5 minutes, and one of the best scenes of the film:


2 Responses to The Machine Girl:

  1. I kinda dug this movie. It didn't live up to the overhyped viral trailer but I like to think of these cartooney, Japanese splatter, schoolgirl revenge films as the equivelant of Skinemax with gore.

    Jeff

    jadedviewer.com

  1. there's a follow up movie called the Hajirai Machine Girl (she's got 2 machine guns!), it's a blast!
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/the-hajirai-machine-girl-stars-noriko-kijima/

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