You learn something new every day. For example, I’d heard that the Japanese were in the midst of their own ‘splatter movement,’ but I’ve specifically avoided the films for awhile. Oh, it isn’t that I don’t appreciate a good splatter; truth is, I probably appreciate one as much as the next. I think the drawback with a good splatter movie is that its success or failure with a audience largely depends on the mood of that crowd: you have to WANT to experience a good splatter movie, not simply discover one all on its own merits. When you do that, you’re as likely to turn one off as you are to finish, and that may not bode well for MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD.
This ‘splatter’ is a bit of a disaster, which it’s clearly intended to be. Don’t go into it looking for any of it to make any real sense, and you’re liable to be modestly entertained, much in the same way that you can’t turn away from watching an automobile accident happening right before your eyes. It’s glorious mayhem – all for the sake of pure nihilism – and I’ve no doubt the crowd who embraces these pictures will find plenty to embrace here … even if that’s only embracing the lovely ladies at the center of this cinematic catastrophe.
Rin (played by the doe-eyed Yumi Sugimoto) turns sixteen, but her ‘sweet sixteen’ is interrupted by forces of Japanese defense showing up and taking her into custody. Why? Because she’s a Hiruko, i.e. a mutant – only one of many being held secretly against their will – and she’s a danger to all mankind … until, that is, she can master the use of her specific mutant abilities. Her specific abilities? Well, she sprouts an arm that’s part-claw, part-sitar (or something) which can be used as a lethal weapon. Into the mix, she’s joined by Yoshie (part-cosplay-nurse, part-squid) and Rei (part-stone-claw, part-bird?) and a whole host of others, including one extremely unfortunate Hiruko whose mutation consists of a chainsaw which sprouts out of her hindquarters, and they’re in for one wild ride to overthrow Defense Minister Koshimizu (Naoto Takenaka) before he takes control of the world!
In all seriousness, there are so many elements of MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD that average folks are going to find offensive or insulting or degrading or ignorant or off-putting or outright ridiculous that I questioned whether or not I could honestly complete this review. I knew one thing: I couldn’t do it with a straight face, and that’s mostly how I endured the picture. Without a straight face. I didn’t take any of it seriously, and I kept reminding myself that – while so much of the film wasn’t up to my particular tastes in film – it really was so very much like that aforementioned auto accident: it’s so very hard to look away. As much as it didn’t made sense, I realized that – in its own humble yet creative way – it made perfect sense because it fit wonderfully into the bizarre world created by the three minds who already are at the forefront of the Japanese splatter movement: Noboru Iguchi (THE MACHINE GIRL), Yoshihiro Nishimura (TOKYO GORE POLICE) and Tak Sakaguchi (YOROI: SAMURAI ZOMBIE).
These three minds joined forces and made precisely the picture they wanted to make: pure splatterific dreck, but benign splatterific dreck, and it’s a picture that’s liable to be embraced by the very audience they intended: splatter fans.
If you have no idea of what a legitimate splatter film is, then you’re liable to be lost (or insulted, or degraded, or any of the other adjectives cited above). You would do well to do a little research first before venturing into these bruised and bloodied waters. If you do know, then you’re likely going to rent or purchase this despite anything I say … and I’ll leave you to it, only pausing briefly to wish you, “God speed!”
The film comes from Sushi Typhoon, and it is distributed stateside by Well Go USA. It looks and sounds as solid as you’d expect any splatter film to look and sound, and it’s very clear great attention went into scene composition here. It’s photographed much like the pages of an anime book – probably in keeping with its audiences desire – and the effects are only as convincing as they need be. The disc includes an Opening Day featurette, interviews with the creative personnel, a very brief ‘making of’ special, and trailers for other related pictures. There’s also a short movie spinoff titled “Yoshie Zero,” but I didn’t partake of it; I can only stomach so much splatter in my film diet.
RECOMMENDED ONLY AS A GUILTY PLEASURE as I’m sure an audience may very well find MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD as one of their closeted favorites – a cult movie, at best, and what harm is there in having another cult classic loose on mankind? I give it three stars, not for quality, but for the obvious love and the wish for global harmony with which the film was made.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Well Go USA provided me with a DVD screener copy of MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
Japanese films that have the label of “pink violence” are the kind of films that have that unique style that is aimed for a different kind of viewer. Granted, such films are not for everyone, but no one can deny that for those who are looking for exactly the things they offer, these films can provide pure guilty fun. Well, the creators of the award-winning “Tokyo Gore Police” and “Machine Girl” are at it again with “Mutant Girls Squad” (SentōShōjo: … more