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.