Machine Girl, The | Varied Celluloid

Machine Girl, The

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 4 - 2008
The Plot: Ami is your average highschool girl, she loves basketball and she loves her annoying little brother. When her little brother comes to her to borrow money to buy a new videogame she thinks nothing of it… however, the money isn’t for a videogame. It is to pay off a group of thugs lead by the son of a yakuza who is blackmailing the boy and his best friend Takashi, with threats of violence. After the boys come in with less than expected, the gang requires they bring in $2,000 the next day. The two boys, unable to come up with such an amount of money set out on foot the next morning but are chased by the gangsters to an abandoned building where the two are confronted and eventually killed. Ami is now left with no parents due to their double suicide when falsely accused of murder, and no brother. She finds her brothers diary which pinpoints exactly who the punks are that killed him. With this she first tries to get Takashi’s parents behind her, but they want nothing to do with her because they think she is crazy. Afterward she confronts the parents of one of the boys, his dad being a police officer very high in command, and the mother and father become homicidal and try to kill her to protect their son. Ami barely escapes… but now knows what she must do. She comes back later, and kills them all. Thus her path is set, and revenge will be hers. She sets the yakuza leader and his son on her radar, but after showing up she is caught and tortured immediately. This yakuza, his wife and their son are some of the most brutal and disgusting human beings on the planet – and the secret to their success? Treat anyone outside the family like they are scum, they are not made of the same qualities and deserve no respect or pity. In the midst of the horrible tortures, Ami’s arm is removed. The now one-armed girl uses what is left of her spirit to summon the power within herself to escape with only one place to go: Takashi’s parents. The two are inventors of sorts and seeing what the real killers have done to the girl, they decide to finally help. They build Ami a machine-gun arm and various other tools – and now it is the time for the revenge of two boys; and dozens will die in the process.


The Review: This is a film that has been making the rounds a lot here lately amongst genre fans. Ever since the first trailers started popping up on the net it has made its way into many gore/Japanese film discussions. When you see the film popping up on Attack of the Show on the G4 Network however, you know it has reached a certain level of media attention. It is fairly surprising how big this film has gotten, but still not out of the cult audience. Tokyo Shock, the releasing group for most of the strange Asian films released through Media Blasters stepped up to the plate and worked as a producer for this film.I have to imagine the intention was to create the ultimate Asian cult film – and in some ways you could argue they were probably successful. The Machine Girl is your typical b-movie experience, so in terms of watching – if you are already a fan of films like Master of the Flying Guillotine, Versus or Battlefield Baseball; then you know the right frame of mind to go into this one with. If you drink (I do not), grab a beer. If you don’t, check your criticism at the door and just enjoy the blood, guts and goofy fun about to be thrown your way. The Machine Girl is a flick that delivers, and as long as you know what you can look forward to there’s no reason this one shouldn’t please even the most jaded fan of exploitation!

I know that I was quickly made into a fan when sitting down with The Machine Girl last night. Much like Versus which came out many years ago and put Ryuhei Kitamura on the map here in the states, TMG takes all real rational thought and throws it out the window. The audience is then tossed in the middle of a plot filled with gory violence and so many strange occurrences that it leaves your mind swimming. Featuring references to dozens of movies in the past and showing a true love for cult cinema in general, it works very well. At times it almost feels like a Japanese tribute to cult cinema in general, much the way Kill Bill and Grindhouse were representations of that from the American perspective. The Machine Girl isn’t as tied up in the homage department as those films, don’t get me wrong, but it is a film that feels like it was done in much the same vein. The envelope was meant to be pushed, and the lines were meant to be crossed with this film – and it does just that and it passes with flying colors. Although, as much as I loved the film I am sure there will be those who simply aren’t as drawn to it as I am. Every two minutes there is a gore scene, and if you’re thinking the whole “plot” thing isn’t just a convenient way to stretch these scenes out then you would be wrong. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth to TMG, so if you’re looking for something other than a tremendous amount of gore splashed onto the screen and a whole lot of dumb fun then this probably isn’t the movie to fly out and buy. However, if goofy, gory and pulpish zany flicks are your thing – then there’s no getting past the fact that TMG is just one crazy fun time.

There are certainly negatives to The Machine Girl, I won’t deny that. There are some moments, such as a bit where Ami is jumping in the air and you can clearly see both of her arms yet when she lands she has one missing, where general stupidity slaps you upside the face. This very well could have been an intentional gag, playing off the lack of supervision in older exploitation films, but more than likely it was just an unintentional goof. However, there are few moments quite as bad as that previous example, and it is easily excusable. The acting is a bit over the top, but this is Japanese low budget cinema so that can be expected. The English dubbing, if you watch it, is well… pretty bad. It can be slightly distracting at times, but it is far from the worst I have seen. It’s no Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence that is for sure. It is for all these reasons that I can’t, in good faith, give the film a five out of five. It’s a flick that will be remembered for a long time, but it certainly has a few negative moments that somewhat drag it down. However, don’t be mistaken, do what you can to see this one. Rent it first, then buy it, you will leave a much happier person.



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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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