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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Machine Girl


Starring: Minase Yashiro, Asami, Kentarō Shimazu, Honoka and Ryōsuke Kawamura
Cine-Asia Extreme
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 18
Available 18 May 2009

Having been thrown together following their parents suicide, Ami takes care of her brother, that is until the day her brother and his friend fall foul of an influential Yakuza, Ryûji Kimura. Keen to make his mark, he throws Ami’s brother and his friend, Takeshi, off a car park. Out for revenge, Ami teams up with Miki and death shall surly follow in their wake...

The Machine Girl (2008 - 1 hr, 32 min, 45 sec), is an extreme horror revenge film written and directed by Noboru Iguchi.

The plot, such as it is, sees our heroine trying to avenge the death of her brother Yu Hyuga (Ryôsuke Kawamura), as well as that of his friend, at the hands of Sho (Nobuhiro Nishihara). That's about as far as the narrative goes as the film's main focus is on ever more extreme and implausible deaths. In many ways this film has more in common with anime than it does cinema.

When we first meet Ami she is your typical innocent, sailor suited, schoolgirl, looking after her brother and mourning the death of her parents. It is only when she starts to investigate her brother’s death, following the discovery of his notebook with a list of people he would like to kill, do things get out of hand.

Her first visit to the parents of one of the bullies ends up with the mother trying to stab her, the father trying to brain her and completes with her whole arm being dunked in boiling oil turning into one large Tempura. Escaping this she is captured by Sho’s father and sadistic mother who first cut her fingers off before dispatching the whole arm. Only at this point does Takeshi’s mother Miki (Asami), and her husband agree to help. Fashioning Ami a new arm out of a machine gun the two women go on a rampage of violence in pursuit of Sho.

The film promises, and delivers, wall to wall gore and violence, from Yakuza having their heads blown off, a particularly nasty and graphic death from a blade which enters from the back of the head and exits through the mouth. Along the way we get a pseudo rape scene, innumerable lost limbs and blood which gushes out of victims under great pressure.

As the film doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a gore fest, examining its artistic merits is a moot point, it doesn’t have any, but then again neither does a roller coaster and they’re still fun. The violence for the most part is so over the top that it is hard to feel revulsion at the violence displayed. When arms are cut they bleed in much the same way as Monty Python's Black Knight.

The cast, for the most part, are uninspiring, not their fault really, as they remain a secondary concern to the visceral mayhem on display. One actress does stand out. Honoka, who plays Sho’s mother - although she is way too young for the role - displays a level of viciousness, which makes her stand out from the pack. This is especially the case in the scene when she is chest to chest with our heroine trying to eradicate Ami’s breasts with a bra that looks like it is made up of two giant drill bits.

The disc comes with audio options for either Japanese 2.0 or 5.1, with optional English subtitles. There are a couple of extras, but nothing really special. First up is the obligatory ‘Making of’ featurette (10 min, 04 sec) with contributions from director Noboru Iguchi and some of the cast, it also shows you some of the physical special effects being performed. Under the heading of Trailer Gallery you get the original Japanese theatrical trailer (1 min, 35 sec) and the international version (1 min, 28 sec). If trailers are your thing the disc also contains fifteen trailers for other extreme films.

So a wild and wacky film which is intentionally funny in places and guaranteed to give your granny a fit.


Charles Packer

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