Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Machine Girl (2008)

Severed limbs have their uses

This is a nod to ultra violent mangas and even '70s grindhouse pictures with a high school girl named Ami Hyuga who gets her arm severed and replaces it with various weapons to combat bullies. Her mother and father killed themselves over murder allegations and now she only has her younger brother left to look after. Those Japanese and their honor.

Tragedy strikes Ami again as her brother Yu and his friend Takeshi get killed over making the son of a yakuza boss named Sho Kimura lose face in front of his crew. It was only ruled a suicide but she finds a death wish list in Yu's bedroom that points to his killers. Everybody has their own families and friends to worry about and don't want to help her. She heads out on her own and finds one of the lower guys, only to have the thought-to-be-nice parents attempt to kill her. She tries to avoid violence but ends up defending herself and gets a taste for blood and satisfying revenge. Might as well continue the carnage. This leads her to the outrageously sadistic Hatori Hanzo clan residence where the spoiled yakuza son Sho lives. His family is power hungry and looks for any little reason to make their tyrannous mark on others, including just prior forcing the new chef to eat his own fingers from a measly accident. She gets close but then captured and tortured, before getting her left arm severed almost to the elbow with massive amounts of blood spray to show for it. She escapes and ends up at her brother's dead friend's parent's auto repair shop. They held a grudge beforehand directed at Ami, but end up stitching her up, give her armory and form a partnership to get back at those directly responsible for Yu and Takeshi's deaths.

"The Machine Girl" boils down to what people would do for their loved ones, whether they are just regular folks or entirely sadistic to begin with. Ami's rampage is to be a bully's worst nightmare. In the process, this tags on some gore, massive amounts of blood spray, action sequences with various inventive weapons and then who could forget ninjas, yakuza thugs and brainwashed parents turned homicidal maniacs. This hearkens back to the days of "Lady Snowblood" as it tarnishes the stereotypical view of the Japanese lady. If you've seen some of the period piece Japanese films where women tip toe, look down when they walk, speak overly feminine and dress in bright colors. This turns that around and includes some harsh female personalities that come with deeper, rougher voices, and who aren't afraid of getting covered in blood and sometimes outdo their male counterparts with violence.

The martial arts needs a little work on the choreography side, as it comes with more than one obvious punch and kick that misses the mark and doesn't always make the physical contact as cringe worthy or brutal as it projects in that regard. Though sword gashes, machine gun bullet wounds and a chainsaw that rips body parts in half is another story--the film has that part down with stained walls and floors to show for it. With all these Hollywood movies that drown out dialogue with too loud of music, the soundtrack does the opposite here as the volume is often too low, causing it to not always capitalize on impacting the scene its layered over top. The picture quality gives it a certain tone, as it seems purposely washed out with certain dulled colors that give off more grays than anything remotely bright. "The Machine Girl" has comically exaggerated motivations and emotions to the point of jumping back and forth with insane mood swings, whether it be a happy-go-lucky scene with hoops leading to running for someone's life, father and son bonding that leads to dripping blood into mouths, to nice looking parents going all murderous by swinging golf club and dipping battered hands in a tempura fryer. This is a wild movie that needs a little work with its overly ambitious ways, but it's still a pretty entertaining experience just because you can count on it to take everything it does over-the-top and not just meet halfway like many other pictures tend to do.

Rating: 6.5/10

Director: Noboru Iguchi
Stars: Minase Yashiro, Nobuhiro Nishihara, Kentaro Shimazu, Ryosuke Kawamura,
Link: IMDB

No comments:

Post a Comment