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: Chi no Tekkamen Densetsu, literally translated as "Fighting Girls: Legend of the Blood of the Iron Mask"). Directors Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura are now joined by fight choreographer Tak Sakaguchi (Versus) at the helm of their latest film.
Once you see the opening scene of “Mutant Girls Squad”, you would know exactly what you are in for. I mean, a head sliced in the middle says a lot for its tempo and style. This is a film that undoubtedly wallows in its display of geysers of blood and does not pretend to be something else. This is the kind of film that succeeds with its shameless display of outrageous practical effects and over-the-top violence that to expect much more from it would be your own mistake.
However, this is still a film and so “Mutant Girls Squad” does have something that resembles a plot. The film brings the viewer into the life of Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) who has turned into her “sweet sixteen”. Rin is the kind of girl who is meek and likes to keep to herself, but this also makes her a target for bullying. However, the night of her 16th birthday, Rin’s family is attacked by anti-Hilko cops and her parents end being killed. This very night, Rin also discovers that she herself as powers, and that she can transform her right arm into a mutated piece of razor-sharp weaponry. Barely escaping and nearly killing an entire district, Rin is recruited into a group of people called “Hilko” led by Kisaragi (Tak Sakaguchi) who intends to make its place in this world. Trained by another Hilko called Rei (Yuko Takayama) and befriending a Hilko cosplay nurse called Yoshie (Suzuka Morita), Rin is set to assault this human world. But Rin’s anger seems to be have been tempered by reason and kindness by her parents and now she may have to choose a side in this coming war between humans and Hilko.
Yes, this is a film that wallows in outrageousness and it uses this to its advantage. The direction does appear to be on the right track in out-doing their recent hits such as “Samurai Princess” and “Helldriver”. at first glance, the film may appear to be your usual revenge tale, but it seems like the script by Noboru Iguchi and Jun Tsugita may have taken some pointers with America’s “X-Men” and tries to incorporate certain themes about discrimination against someone who is different and how diversity can prove to be a strength rather than a weakness. There is a strong message about understanding and tolerance this time around, and the film does have certain points that may promote dramatic impact; although it is not its central focus.
If you are familiar with this type of Japanese "trash" films, then you know that its charm lies in its bombastic style and outrageously over-the-top characters. Besides, its wildly incoherent screenplay divided into three chapters, extremely unbelievable characters make up this film. I mean, once you meet the ‘mutant girls’ supporting characters, you will either be shaking your head or laugh yourself silly. There is a woman with swords on her breasts, another that sprouts a chainsaw from her ass, one who has hands on head (literally!), another that has rocket limbs and well, it gives a new meeting to the word ‘pecker’. The characters are so over-the-top, but at the same time, they feel somewhat morbid. It is almost as if these characters were created while the directors were either high or drunk; and this is all part of its charm.
As for the action, well, there is a lot of them. The action scenes were there to be a mere vehicle for the display of very bloody, goofy and silly use of practical effects. The film does have the mild use of CGI to frame its use of effects which is basically made up of a lot of red ink and a lot of prosthetics and rubber suits. Let‘s see…there are nose-guns, a walking head, breast nipples that spurt acid, tentacles that have chainsaws, mollusks armor, a talking head on a cake and much more. The action is also very bloody. This may be one the bloodiest displays I’ve seen of severed limbs, beheadings, slicing and dicing all wrapped around with a lot of arterial spray. I have to admit, the film had the balls to give new meaning to “ass to mouth” and the “69 position” that left me snickering.
‘Mutant Girls Squad” is a low-budget flick. I mean it is a cheap film that makes Peter Jackson’s “Dead Alive” appear normal. I know, I am just fascinated how Japanese filmmakers can convince sexy Gravure models such as Sugimoto, Morita and Takayama to accept roles that make them look....well, a departure from their bikini model image, because of the extreme use of rubber prosthetics. I guess it is a practice in irony and in a way, the filmmakers are trying to say something subtle. Despite its outright ridiculousness and outrageous, “Mutant Girls Squad” is an exercise of pure guilty pleasure and it is charming in its own way. If this film had a flaw, it would be its obsession with sleaze and splatter fests that made feel that it had nothing else to offer. Its efforts to come out with a plot came out unnecessary. But what it does, it does very well. If my descriptions appeal to you, then this movie would be for you. Think of it as an exploitive splatter show ala-“X-men” that you can only see when you are delirious....and those who know my movie reviews know that I have a fondness for this kind of movies.
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 … more