Title: Machine Girl
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror, Crime
Starring: Minase Yashiro, Asami, Honoko
Director: Noboru Iguchi
Directed by the man responsible for the commercials in ‘Tokyo Gore Police,’ and not only distributed by Tokyo Shock (Oneechanbara, Tokyo Gore Police, Samurai Princess), but actually produced by them as well, my initial caution of what is essentially a fan made film based from past experience of others who thought this was enough to make a successful homage I’m glad to say has been proven wrong. Whilst a no frills affair, it has ambitions that bring together ‘Charlies Angels’ style 70s cheese with good old-fashioned grindhouse gore; The low budget a fact they are more than aware of, fitting in the excessive violence in an ‘Evil Dead’ manner to provide a number of laugh out loud moments. Throw in Yakuza, Ninja’s and not one but two hot Japanese woman, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty fun film.
Following the story of Ami, her parents accused of murder committing suicide leaving her and her younger brother, Yu, to fend for themselves. When the local youth gangster, the son of a Yakuza mob boss, starts demanding money from Yu, things quickly get out of hand. Determined to wreak her vengeance upon those who would do harm to her brother, her first attempt lands her without an arm. Taken in, and quickly gaining the help of Miki and her husband Suguru, they begin training together, arming her with a Gatling gun (hey, why not?) so that they can bring down their reign of tyranny once and for all.
And in typical horror style, if you can’t afford a big name actress you hire someone hot – preferably a porn star – instead. As is such with the insatiably cute school girl Yashiro taking the lead role, matched and possibly out-cuted by the co-lead, Asumi (or perhaps that’s just my mind making some form of connection to her and Nicki Clyne of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ fame, in the manner they both have adorable heart-warming smiles; in Asumi’s case, even through a layer of blood. Actually, perhaps in Clyne’s case too, I’ve never seen her bathing in fake blood oddly, so who knows. But I’m babbling), both of whom actually succeed in lending an oddly believable performance. Striving for more than just a two-dimensional character, whilst they fall short of creating a genuine emotional depth, do succeed in creating empathy for their characters, and commendably never succumbs to the obvious temptations of a superfluous lesbian sex scene (not that I’d have complained).
But they aren’t the only characters to succeed in such a manner, the support is also capable of demonstrating a clarity of vision, each one fully aware of what was required of them, from the Yakuza ‘mother’ gaining too much pleasure from torturing people, scolding others for ‘doing it wrong,’ to Kaneko who complains he isn’t being tortured fairly. For a cast consisting almost entirely of people without any experience, they succeed in performing exceptionally well. Even the other areas that I would often find fault with has been handled well; the camera work feels basic and whilst his inexperience shows, is easily effective enough to sustain the plot. The soundtrack is simplistic enough but never comes into focus long enough to detract from the scenes presented, and the choreography constantly allows for new weapons to come into play, keeping the scenes fresh and interesting.
This does more than just simply demonstrate their respect for 80s comical horrors, this is ought to be remembered along side them for whilst ambitious it pulls it off superbly. With an abundance of fake blood, witty one liners to make Tarantino proud, crazy Japanese inventions and quirks including the ‘Super Mourner Gang’ and one evil bra, this film has more than enough tricks up its sleeve. Treat this is an Action first, and then a Horror/Comedy second, and you’ll find another cheesy Japanese delight that delivers on everything it promises to. Scrummy!