The Machine Girl [Kataude mashin gâru] (2008)
If the trailer for The Machine Girl doesn’t make you want to see the movie, then there’s not much that I’d be able to do to change your mind. If that sort of over-the-top, blood-spattered roaring rampage of Japanese revenge doesn’t get your juices flowing, then I’ve got nothin’ for you.
But for those who’ve seen the trailer and are shivering with anticipation, wondering if the film itself is all that the trailer makes it out to be, then I can go ahead and answer that for you with a resounding “Yes.” The Machine Girl is ridiculous. It is over-the-top. It’s a bloody comic book of a movie with no basis in any sort of reality that I’ve ever witnessed. But when you’ve got a protagonist with a machine gun for an arm, what can you really expect? Other than awesome, I mean.
The plot’s pretty simple, and really just serves as an excuse to unleash some bloodletting. Ami and her brother Yu are orphans whose parents offed themselves over shame or something, because they were falsely (?) accused of being murderers. Why are two school-aged kids allowed to live alone together without proper adult supervision? I don’t know. Maybe DSS works differently in Japan. Yu and his friend Takashi are constantly picked on by bullies, the leader of which also happens to be the son of a Yakuza. Yep, we’ve got Yakuza. (Awesome factor just went up a notch.) Oh, and it’s a Yakuza gang that’s descended from a ninja clan. (More awesome.) A ninja clan named after Hatori Hanzo. (Too much awesome… can’t… handle…)
Whew. Okay. So anyways, these bullies basically bully Yu and Takashi to death and Ami’s none too happy about her only living relative ending up on a nosedive from a parking garage. So she seeks revenge, does a decent job of taking on the Yakuza, but not good enough to keep from having her arm lopped off. She eventually escapes and stumbles to the house of Takashi’s parents, a couple of mechanics who wisely sew up Ami’s arm instead of taking her to a hospital. They train in some kung fu type stuff, plot revenge against the Yakuza, and eventually retrofit Ami’s nub with a machine gun.
Unfortunately, it does take about 2/3 of the movie for Ami to get her machine gun arm, but that doesn’t mean that the movie shies away from other gloriously gory fun. Yous till get to see some decapitation, head-knifing, forehead-nailing, and a tempura-fried arm. Which looks delicious. And once Ami does get that arm, all hell breaks loose, as she immediately kills the shit out of some tracksuit-wearing ninjas (in a clip that was released online, almost in its entirety, a few weeks back).
As I said before, the “plot” is nothing more than an excuse to have fun with lots of fake blood. That’s not a complaint, at all. Because in a movie like this, you really watch it for the action scenes. You watch it for the chainsaw battles, the face-exploding, and the pee-pee electrocution. Really, you watch it for the blood. The violence is pretty intense throughout, but is presented in such an exaggerated and unrealistic way that you never really get the feeling that what you’re seeing is real (unlike, say, the Saw or Hostel films, which went for realism). For a more well-known example, think of Kill Bill, particularly the House of Blue Leaves fight sequence that capped off Vol. 1. It’s a big, live-action comic book.
In fact, I’d like to view The Machine Girl as a sort of super-hero origin story, and this is just the beginning of her adventures. This is one of the few cases that calls for a sequel, where we get to see The Machine Girl go on to take on other Yakuza gangs with her weapon of choice. It’d be a blast to follow Ami on even more blood-soaked adventures.
Viewed on DVD (Personal Collection).