Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and God Hates Geeks.
The Left Hand of Doom
Ami Hyuga (Minase Yashiro, Kamen Rider Double Forever: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate) and her younger brother Yu (Ryosuke Kawamura, Suki demo nai kuseni) have learned to rely on each other since their parents killed themselves after being suspected of committing murder. When Yu starts being bullied by Sho (Nobuhiro Nishihara, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), whose father is part of the yakuza, the lives of the Hyuga siblings deteriorate to an even greater degree.
Sho demands unreasonable amounts of money from Yu with the consequence being that Ami will have to work in Sho’s father’s whorehouse if Yu doesn’t pay up. One fateful day, Yu and his friend Takeshi are unable to pay Sho and his gang and they’re killed on the spot. Ami swears revenge for her brother’s death, but a solo mission costs Ami one of her arms. She makes her way back to Takeshi’s house where his parents, Suguru (Yūya Ishikawa, Karate-Robo Zaborgar) and Miki Sugihara (Asami Miyajima, RoboGeisha) where they use their garage mechanic knowledge to build Ami a machine gun for an arm and The Machine Girl is born.
Written and directed by Noboru Iguchi (the “F is for Fart” segment of ABC’s of Death, RoboGeisha) began as a Japanese filmmaker who specialized in adult films. His mainstream success in Japan included live-action adaptations of several manga (Oira Sukeban, Cat-Eyed Boy) and television series (Karate Robo-Zaborgar), but in America he’s mostly known for making trashy films with absurd concepts. These are films that completely embrace campiness, overacting, and ridiculous violence (Dead Sushi, Zombie Ass), but the film that introduced Americans to Iguchi’s work was The Machine Girl.
Expectations were fairly high upon the initial viewing of this Japanese action shock/gore film. Trailers and clips for The Machine Girl were constantly promoted on the internet leading up to the film’s release. The ludicrous nature of the film along with unrealistic gore and geysers of blood gave the film this Lone Wolf and Cub aspect to it that triggered a mountain of anticipation. Nothing can really prepare you for how over the top Noboru Iguchi is though unless you’re already familiar with his work. There are laughable quantities of preposterousness in Iguchi’s work. You are not prepared for how over the top Iguchi operates. The gore in The Machine Girl is outlandish, the acting is milked, strained, and stretched to the moon and back in order to get its overdone qualities across, and the story is so nonsensical that you give up trying to understand it and you eventually just laugh at the brain damage it causes you. You may walk into The Machine Girl wanting a silly gorefest, but you will walk out with an overwhelming smorgasbord of nothing but cheese.
If you’re still able to function and actually watch The Machine Girl in its entirety, it’s a film that isn’t entirely horrible. Its extreme absurdities are often what make it so entertaining. The acting may be bad, but it often reaches this Tommy Wiseau kind of humor at times. Blood spraying in every direction for several minutes at a time is entertaining in itself. Most sequences are so bonkers and so unreasonably wacky that you can’t help but laugh. The Machine Girl takes brainless entertainment to an entirely new level, which doesn’t involve any sort of thinking on the viewer’s part.
Go into this with the mindset that you’re not going to take it seriously and it may end up being a film that, like a violent video game, is fun to watch after a hard work day or having to use your brain to study or think logically for long periods of time. Noboru Iguchi aims to entertain with crazy gore and outrageous silliness and he takes full advantage of that in The Machine Girl. The fight sequences in the film are likely some of the bloodiest you will ever come across. There’s certainly something to be appreciated about Iguchi’s method of filmmaking; something that has become more admirable since the initial viewing a decade ago. The Machine Girl won’t be for everyone, but it is stupid, bloody fun for those who love cheesy action and gory insanity.
The Machine Girl is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Google Play for $2.99. Tokyo Shock releases their films on DVD and Blu-ray in a way that will likely cause fans to double and or triple dip the titles they enjoy. The Machine Girl was released as a bare bones release at first, a two-disc DVD called The Machine Girl Remix, and a three-disc Steelbook DVD called Ultimate Machine Girl. Ultimate Machine Girl is available for $14.89 on Amazon. The single disc release, as well as Machine Girl Remix, are only available through third party sellers. The DVD is available for $2.49 with $3.99 shipping while the multi-format Blu-ray has Prime shipping but is going for an unreasonable $46.98. There’s also a single disc Blu-ray option for $15.98 with $3.99 shipping, but the subtitles are only available in French.
Ultimate Machine Girl is $8.99 with free shipping in brand new condition on eBay. The DVD is $9.99 or best offer with free shipping in brand new condition and Machine Girl Remix is $15 brand new with free shipping.
© 2018 Chris Sawin