My Ten Cents On: The Machine Girl
I was scouring the net, when I read up on this movie about a girl with a grotesquely large, too-heavy-to-carry-without-tearing-all-the-muscles-in-her-shoulder machine gun attached to her arm, who avenges the death of her brother, and several attacks on her (which includes dunking her hand in tempura batter and frying it). The instant I heard this, I new I had to get a copy. So I did… And I never got around to watching it. That was until about six months later, thanks to the prodding of my good friend Carl. And what followed were some of the most unforgettable 90 minutes I’ve had in a long time.
I won’t say its a good movie, because it’s not. I mean, it had a lot of loop holes in the plot, over the top characters, and it damn well breaks the laws of physics and common sense, but given what its about all of those things, we can and should let go of all those things. I will say is that it’s got balls-to-the-wall action and gore, moments of sheer unbelievable morbid humor. So what are we waiting for, lets jump right into The Machine Girl! (by the way, if you hadn’t guessed yet, some of the images I’ll be showing will be pretty graphic, if you’re squeamish, or younger than 10, or have that weird belief that dolls have souls like those people on “My Strange Addiction“, then you should probably stop reading)
+ Gore, Gore and more Gore (and we’re not talkin’ about Al)
This movie is just so creative with all the different ways it kills and mutilated people. No one dies the same way. And unlike Hobo with a Shotgun, this movie didn’t try to use artistic photography to emphasize the gore. No. This movie just got a camera, put a prosthetic head in front of it, and had it cut in half. It looked fake, sure, but we all know it’s fake anyway and that’s part of the fun! If this movie used camera work, it was to emphasize the gore not to hide it. The Machine Girl did its best to make the gore and blood look absolutely crazy and over-the-top, and did it ever work.
Apart from that, and the tempura scene, it had some amazing visuals of craziness. For a guy being blown apart piece-by-piece by the machine gun, to a guy who had his skin ripped off by it, this movie just keeps on coming, and upping the ante with its violent images. I liked the build up of the action scenes, each one was more awesome-shocking than the last. I have to give credit to them for that.
+ Yosuke Fujii
There’s this one dude in the movie who stands out like crazy in this film. About 20 minutes into the film, Upon reading a journal entry from her brother’s journal, Ami, the lead character of the film, heads to the house of Ryoto, one of the boys she suspects killed him. She confronts him in front of his family. His dad is a veteran cop named Yosuke Fujii, played by Kentaro Kishi, and the most bad-ass mofo I’ve ever seen (doesn’t hurt that he looks SO MUCH like Genki Sudo). He, along with his wife, tells her that maybe her brother should be dead, since they’re father is a convicted murderer. And out of nowhere, he begins to attack her with a GOLF CLUB wielding it like a katana!
For your reference, this is Genki Sudo:
And later on in the movie, he becomes the leader of a band of ninja warriors with handguns attached to their arms, and while the other guys go around with armor against The Machine Girl, he has the balls to attack her with no armor, strutting around shirtless wearing a mouth mask in the shape of that of Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, with handgun grafter onto his hands. Yeah. Awesome.
The times he is on screen, he is absolutely magnetic. The dude has an incredible presence whenever he’s on screen that the only criticism I have about his part in the film is that he should have been the main villain. Actually, speaking of villains…
+ The Villains
This was the first movie I’ve seen in a long time that blatantly makes the villains as evil as possible. The bad guys are sick, sadistic screwballs that are just unbelievably made to look like the embodiment of pure evil; evil for evil’s sake sort of stuff. Even Yosuke Fujii and his family, despite being side villains are only shown being utterly insane, never given a chance to have redemptive qualities. Most villains have some quality or motivation that we understand. They want to get rich, they want revenge, they were tortured as a kid, most of these things set them on the path of who they are. We haven’t had purely evil villains since the olden days of Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elms Street (and even those have been marred as recent sequels/prequels/reboots have shown these guys having psychologically screwy backgrounds, which, I think, made their characters weaker on the whole. Is Jason Voorhees scarier because we saw him cradled in the fetal position as a kid because he was beaten by his dad? Nope.)
But here in The Machine Girl, these people have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They are all just psychotic individuals who need to be killed. This movie is purely black and white on the morality scale, there is absolutely no gray area here. They make these guys so damned evil, that they couldn’t possibly be human, they are life-sized punching dolls.
For those of you who had those punching dolls when they were younger (you know, the ones that get back up when you hit them, usually with the face of a clown?), didn’t you have that moment when you were so angry that you imagined that the punching doll was an embodiment of everything you hated and you hit it with all your might? That’s what these guys are, and it just made The Machine Girl that much more fun to watch.
They’re just so evil that you can’t help but love them for being so one-dimensional, and the most random things they say and do to show that they are evil. I didn’t think I’d be surprised by that, but I have to say, I didn’t expect some of the dialogue and visuals. It was a lot of fun.
+ The Drill Bra
– Pacing and Story-Telling
Despite all the blood, gore and fun I mentioned above, I still found myself bored once in a while. The Machine Girl had dragging moments, and I find that the problem of the film’s pacing. They didn’t have much build-up out of the non-action scenes. As you could see in the scene with the golf-club, the atmosphere of the movie switched from dramatic to action-packed craziness in an instant. And while that’s fun, sometimes, the fact that it happened all throughout the film made the non-action scenes of The Machine Girl totally lacking of any tension and emotion, and I just found myself losing interest in the story and just waiting for the next action scene. The filmmakers spent all their efforts thinking up insane action scenes, and they left a noodle-thin plot to string the events together.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect Academy Award-winning dialogue. But I did at least hope that the film makers would approach the dramatic scenes with the same enthusiastic, light-hearted, “let’s see what kind of outrageousness we can put on film” attitude as they did with the action scenes, so that the energy level would still be up. You could feel in the film that they really had fun with the action, and they were kind of sloshing through the rest like a kid who had to eat his vegetables if he wanted to go out and play.
That was a bit of a buzz-kill for me, and it took me all I could not to sleep in the middle of it. Maybe it’s partly because I had a dubbed copy instead of a subbed one, but it doesn’t change the fact that the movie had no transitions and an uninspired plot.
My Cents Worth: 6/10 if you’re in the mood, 4/10 if not.
This kind of movie needs to be watched in the right mindset. If you don’t temper your expectations, this movie will be disappointing. But if you just want to watch it the way its intended, an exhibition of blood, gore and prosthesis, then you sir/madam will get enough of that here to last you for quite some time. If you are expecting a story, some drama and bigtime box office quality film making, you probably should hold off until you’re in the mood to shut your brain off for a couple of hours.
Posted on December 5, 2011, in Film Reviews and tagged Action, Blood, Film, Girl, Gore, gun, Japanese, Machine, Movie, ninja, Revenge, Review, School Girl, Violence. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.