THE MACHINE GIRL
Original Title: Kataude Mashin Garu
Directed by Noboru Iguchi Produced by Yoshinori Chiba, Yoko Hayama, Satoshi Nakamura Action by Kensuke Sonomura
Starring: Minase Yashiro, Asami, Nobuhiro Nishihara, Kentaro Shimazu, Ryosuke Kawamura, Yuya Ishikawa
Reviewing: Cineasia UK DVD Release
Genres: Gore / Action / Ninja / Comedy
Rating - 4 / 5
DVD Synopsis: When Ami's bro can't pay enough, violence breaks out, he is murdered and Ami is bound, tortured and has her left arm hacked off as a reminder not to screw with the Yakuza. But this is one chick who doesn't take any shit! Barely alive, she is take in by a mechanic, who builds her a prosthetic limb with a difference – it's only a fully automatic machine gun! Filled with genius tongue-in-cheek gore moments including human tempura's, nail-gunned faces, finger sushi, exploding torsos and the soon-to-be-legendary 'drill bra', Machine Girl is the movie that Quentin Tarantino always wanted to make! Don't miss the over-the-top cult action hit of the decade!
Views: Noboru Iguchi's Machine Girl is a wild tale about a normal schoolgirl, Ami Hyuga, whose life takes a turn for the worse when her brother and his friend (Takeshi) are killed by bullies after being thrown to their death from a building. Setting out to find those responsible, Ami's first stop is with one of the bullies at his family home – a meeting that soon leaves her abused by both parents, one of which deep-fries her arm in hot oil with tempura batter! That night, Ami returns for revenge and soon finds out that the gang of bullies is led by Sho Kimura – the son of a gangster leader connected to a ruthless ninja-yakuza clan. After beheading the bully, Ami puts a knife through the back of the mother's head and showers the dad with the blood of his son, while he takes a bath. It's all pretty mental, and only a warm-up for what's to come! Determined to get her revenge, Ami moves forward with an attack on Sho at his family home, but is soon overpowered by the clan in a brutal and bloody fight that sees her chained and tortured before having her left arm cut off!
Ami soon escapes and eventually gets help with Takeshi's parents – two mechanics who help nurse her back to health. Takeshi's mum (Miki) agrees to help Ami seek revenge for the boys and in between training her, creates a multi-barrelled machine gun prosthetic arm of which she helps fit to Ami. Miki agrees to help her seek revenge for the boys just as a trio of ninjas attacks them in the garage. As the action kicks off, Miki's husband completes Ami's gun-arm and throws it to her as a dozen ninja stars cut through his body. Angered, the girls set out to take down the rest of the clan members, massacring them one-by-one with Miki armed with a chainsaw to accompany Ami's gun-arm. It all leads to a gore-filled, action-packed, and violent showdown that involves a deadly drill-bra, crazy ninjas, exploding heads, and much, much more!!
Machine Girl is the kind of film where there are seemingly no rules! In fact, although it was successful enough on release I think this is the kind of story that would have been even better as an anime – perhaps giving it even more freedom and higher production values. Regardless, this insane revenge flick definitely has its moments from the over-abundance of gore to its wild action scenes, and plenty of corny lines. Because let's face it – you are not supposed to be taking this kind of thing seriously (and if you have, then perhaps this style of cinema is not for you). Like many Japanese film-makers, director and writer Noboru Iguchi started life in the film industry as a soft-porn director, delivering a host of titles throughout the 90s before moving into television and fictional features just after the turn-of-the-century. It seems that insanity and beautiful women have always been Noboru's thing (quite obvious in Machine Girl) and apart from a handful of sane films, his true style would show in films such as Sukeban Boy, Cat-Eyed Boy, and this which was very quickly followed by the wonderful Robo-Geisha, Mutant Girls Squad, Zombie Ass: Toilet Of The Dead, and Dead Sushi – to name but a few. And while most of them are far from perfect, often showing their flaws through the low-budget production values, Noboru still adds enough exciting things to save his titles from being written off as a complete disaster.
For her first-ever role, the beautiful Minase Yashiro does a fantastic job as Ami – the titular Machine Girl. Her great looks and passable acting were aided by the fact that she was brave enough to step into the role, as well as throw herself into the action which was often pretty wild. She clearly made enough of an impression and went on to star in a host of TV shows including Kamen Rider W. Popular adult and exploitation actress, Asami, plays the role of Miki who gets to kick as much ass as Ami – even when her leg is cut-off! Asami had already had a few crazy projects behind her by the time Machine Girl came round, including the lead character in Sukeban Boy. After this, she went on to star in most of the girls-n-gore films for Noboru Iguchi as well as movies like Helldriver, Erotibot, the Rape Zombie series, Bikini Ramen, Tokyo Vampire Hotel, and much more. Of course, one of the other main stars (if not the actual star) of Machine Girl is its special effects and gore. Blending some digital works in with lots of well-crafted practical effects, viewers are taken on a crazy ride of blood showers, exploding heads, sliced bodies, and finger sushi. This is all down to Taiga Ishino and his team who do an amazing job without a Hollywood budget. Of course, Taiga had already kicked things off in the equally wild Meatball Machine as well as the aforementioned Sukeban Boy with Noboru. His work would put him in charge of effects on more great titles such as Tokyo Gore Police (which I adore), Love Exposure, Samurai Princess, Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl, Deadball, Helldriver, and pretty much all of Noboru's gore-filled films that followed...
Kensuke Sonomura is a fight choreographer whose film, Hydra, I had the pleasure of screening at my festival in 2020 – has worked on a lot of great titles over the years, even getting in with Donnie Yen and his team on The Monkey King and Iceman. Others include Japanese films such as Death Trance, Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, Alien Vs Ninja, the Gantz film series, and more. Here he provides a host of fun fights and even given the limitations of his non-fighting females, still manages to make it work. Machine Girl may be far from perfect and does offer plenty of eye-rolling moments – with the bad acting from the younger cast members being a huge part of that – but the film is so outrageous, it totally works and proves to be an entertaining 90 minutes that passes pretty quick. Although it's definitely not for the squeamish!
Overall: Action-packed insanity with lots of blood and buckets of gore, topped-off with ninjas, gun-wielding schoolgirls, and great special effects!
DVD Extras: Behind The Scenes, Trailer