MACHINE GIRL (aka. One-Armed Machine Girl) is an over-the-top, campy, ultra-violent action film by Iguchi Noboru (Sukeban Boy). The film is definitely NOT for everyone but will appeal to fans of Japanese cult films with a touch of dark comedy and unrealistic ultra-bloody violence made popular by Ichi the Killer and even Tarantino's magnificent "Kill Bill". Folks will either applaud or be repulsed by this film's execution, but it is a wickedly twisted, darkly-toned entertainment that knows exactly what it's going for. The film features well-known Japanese bikini model Minase Yashiro in her first feature role, ex-AV star Asami and the beautiful Honoka as the Yakuza boss' twisted wife. Do I have your attention yet?
Plot synopsis partly derived from the back cover:
Ami (Minase Yashiro) is a tough but otherwise average high school girl, trying to lead a normal life with her younger brother. Her whole world comes crushing down when her brother and his friend are killed by ruthless bullies led by a Yakuza Boss' son. When she goes to find those responsible, she finds herself in over her head and minus her left arm. Barely surviving, Ami escapes and finds shelter from a kindly mechanic and his wife Miki (Asami) who also happen to be the parents of her brother‘s friend. They take pity on Ami's plight, helping her heal, training her and fitting her with a powerful machine gun where her left arm used to be. She then teams up with the tough mother to seek vengeance and together they unleash an unholy, non-stop, over the top kill fest against the equally creative machinery of their ruthless Ninja-Yakuza enemies.
The film is a wild blend of 70's "pink violence" and 80's super-violent splatter horror that doesn't take itself seriously. The film is full of bloody sequences and oddball weird humor that will undoubtedly garner a cult following. It was quite inventive of the filmmakers to rely on "old-school" style violence to conduct the visual blood and gore. Whether this decision was made because of budget constraints or some other factor, it made the film work; from an entertainment standpoint kind of way. The exaggerated gallons of blood complements the film's action sequences; chainsaw-fu, machine gun-fu, swordplay and brassiere-fu are the film's many unorthodox style of brutality. The film is an example of an adult-Tokusatsu (Kid's TV show)with the wild blend of action, camp, humor, sci-fi and even horror that plays like a stunt/Gore show.
The film also has some campy ideas that will make you say; "What the heck" as the film makes fun of certain anime-inspired names such as "Super Mourner Gang" and "Junior high Shuriken gang" seem attempts to somewhat tone down all the violence and brutality displayed. There are also twisted touches of oddball humor with the "sushi fingers" and "tempura arm". I've always wondered how Hellraiser's "Pinhead" got that look; Mike and Ami were very obliged to demonstrate how that sinister look can come about in a human being.
Sexy Minase Yashiro plays the lead, I'm a little undecided as to how well her first starring performance is. She has the right school girl look and she has a lot of charisma, but at times she looks a little awkward with the action sequences. Asami plays Miki and she looks a little young and definitely too cool to be the mother of a teenager. Nude model Honoka adds a lot of eye-candy as the wife of Yakuza boss Kimura. The woman is twisted in her own way, she has that no-nonsense appeal further accentuated by Honoka's sheer sexiness. She is seductively, yet creepily appealing as she displays her "Drill Brassiere" as an added campy display of villainy. Shimazu Kentaro is the Yakuza Boss who seemed to have been based on "Heihachi Yashima" from the "tekken" video game. The whirling and hurling flying razor sharp "Guillotine" adds more to the film's twistedly, campy appeal. Boss Kimura an intimidating villain although he isn't an originally fresh concept.
With Ami's Sailor Moon-inspired outfit, sentai/tokusatsu heroism, references to ninja and Yakuza elements, the film is definitely aimed at anime fan boys and those very initiated with Japanese cinema. The film's enjoyment requires a very large suspension of disbelief for its entirety. Take two cups of "Shoot ‘Em Up", three tablespoons of "Darkman" and even "Planet Terror" to two gallons of "Ichi The Killer" and stir vigorously, then you will have an accurate idea just how this film plays out. The film doesn't take itself seriously and if "Machine Girl" is any indication of the filmmakers take on twisted entertainment, then I'm sold to see "Tokyo Gore Police".
Recommended for fans of J-cinema and Pink violence [3 ½ stars]
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It has developed a cult following in America.