Machine Girl DVD

Thursday, 18 June 2009 07:16

“The Machine Girl” is something else. I’ve reviewed a bundle and seen many, many more “gorefests” in my time, but this Japanese movie really takes the blood-soaked biscuit to a whole new level! Playing the titular role is brilliant newcomer Minase Yashiro. Her character, Ami, is a spirited high school student who finds herself having to tear-up her morality rule book when her brother Yu and his best friend are first bullied and then murdered by a gang of ruthless boys.

That would be bad enough, but the leader of the gang is the son of a local Yakuza boss, and anyone who gets on the wrong side of him is sure to meet with a swift and bloody end. Shockingly, Ami gets seriously injured in an attempt to avenge her brother, and loses a forearm. Fortunately for her, she is sheltered and brought back to good health by the parents of Yu’s friend – Miki (Asami) and Suguru Sugihara (Yuya Ishikawa). The Sugiharas also happen to be engineering whizzes, and construct an amazing machine gun prosthetic for Ami for help level the odds for round two! With Miki to fight by her side, Ami charges straight into the lair of the Yakuza, and they are more than ready for her...

Machine Girl DVDAs you will already have deduced from the above plot summary, “Machine Girl” bears the hallmarks of a traditional, revenge-driven action thriller, with a fantastical element literally bolted on for good measure. It also features heavy slices of stylish and energetically-choreographed martial arts, but more prominent than anything else is the gore - buckets and buckets of it. No, make that bath-fulls.

Director Iguchi has taken an innocent, svelte school girl, and turned her into a black-hearted steamroller of a weapon. Ami has no remorse and shows absolutely no mercy. Anyone responsible - be it directly by association - for her brother’s murder is despatched in one of a wide array of incredibly violent and graphic methods. In return, Yakuza boss Ryuji Kimura (played with incredible panache by Kentaro Shimazu, replete with a wonderfully demonic, pointy hair style) and his mob mow down their opposition with equally shocking acts.

Whether you “get” Machine Girl and think you can stomach the censor-baiting gore or not will dictate whether you enjoy this bizarre movie or despise it. It certainly veers very close to the limits of decency on several occasions (implicit necrophilia, for example). However, if you like over-the-top, preposterous and horror-tinged violence, then you will probably soon warm to the chaos ensuing before you. Iguchi’s directorial style is frenetic, playful and utterly irreverent. If you can think of a way to dismember, maim or eviscerate a human body, you will probably find it on show here.

It is a very sick film, but executed throughout with a strong sense of pitch-black humour. The quality of the gore effects also helps to lighten the tone; although they are generally effective, there is always an understanding that this severed head is a rubber mould, or that the prolific, pumping red geysers have kept Heinz in business for another year or two. There is little danger of the audience being disturbed by the action because everything has been turned up to eleven on the bezerk-o-meter.

The DVD and Blu-Ray releases feature scant special features. There is a rough and cheaply-compiled “Behind the scenes” featurette, and a selection of trailers for other Cine-Asia releases. Very, very disappointing, all-told.

“The Machine Girl” (certificate 18, if you had not already figured that out!) was released under the Cine-Asia Extreme label on 18 May 2009, RRP £14.99 for the DVD edition and £15.99 on Blu-Ray, or less from


“The Machine Girl” (Noboru Iguchi, 2008, Japan)


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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