The Machine Girl (2008)

Directed By: Noboru Iguchi
Written By: Noboru Iguchi
Starring: Minase Yashiro
  Kentaro Shimazu
The Machine Girl

After her brother is killed by the son of a Yakuza mob boss, Ami Hyuga (Minase Yashiro, in her film debut) loses her lower arm after trying to avenge him. Escaping the clutches of the Yakuza clan, Ami ends up in the capable hands of a mechanic and his wife. The three then naturally come to the conclusion that grafting a machine gun in place of the missing appendage would be the best option; giving Ami another stab (or rather, shot…and many of them) at exacting her revenge.

And that’s it. It’s as simple as that. I believe the director himself summed it up pretty well when he said the idea of Machine Girl spawned from a concept he’d been toying with for a while; that of a girl in a bikini who gets her arm chopped off then takes revenge. This isn’t highbrow stuff.

For films such as this (and, similarly, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, Peter Jackson’s Braindead and John Gulager’s Feast trilogy), the narrative is largely irrelevant; it merely serves as a precursor to introduce ridiculous amounts of gore into the equation.

I always feel like films such as Noburo Iguchi’s Machine Girl should be rated on a different scale than other films. Taking each constituent part of the movie into consideration, it is by no means a good film; the acting is hammy, the gore, though wonderfully copious, quite obviously fake and the narrative ridiculously simple.

However, despite all this – and this is what causes me to raise the issue of how to rate films such as this – Machine Girl is buckets of fun to watch. Judging by my (admittedly, not all that extensive) knowledge of Japanese animation, the whole film seems to play out very much like a live-action anime – or at least, a Westerner’s idea of what anime is. Everything about it is over-the-top, and therein lies its charm. It doesn’t matter that the plot is as thin as the shirt that Ami sports, or that she could have died twelve times over with the amount of blood she loses, or that the characters seem so over-exaggerated, because the sheer claret-soaked silliness of the film is what makes it so appealing.

Although Noburo Iguchi’s filmography prior to Machine Girl seems to mainly focus on the more ‘adult’ side of the Japanese market, he approaches the film with a clear love of horror; it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that all the horror films Machine Girl seems to reference make were deliberate – from Ami sporting a chainsaw on her stump after running out of ammunition, to the very cheesy 1970’s grindhouse-inspired opening credit sequence, to the moment a woman inadvertently vomits up her own intestines. It’s moments such as these that make it so much fun to watch.

In short, if you think the idea of a Japanese school girl trying to take down a clan of Yakuza with nothing but some pretty decent fighting skills and a machine gun arm appeals to you, then I almost guarantee you’ll love Machine Girl.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

3 Comments on “The Machine Girl”

  1. Jon Walmsley says:

    Nice summary of one of the great modern Japanese gore films. I really enjoyed this movie, and watched it alongside Meatball Machine (which I didn’t find as good) and Tokyo Gore Police. They were all fantastically daft movies, particularly TGP, which I highly recommend.
    Keep up the good work people, only recently found your blog so looking forward to reading more in the future.

    • Phil Taberner says:

      We’re glad you enjoyed it! I believe Sarah is hoping to watch Tokyo Gore Police sometime soon so if you’re lucky you may spot a review on here in the future!

  2. Mike Arscott says:

    I really enjoyed this film too. Your review sums it up perfectly. One of my mates found it and insisted I watch it and I am very glad he did.

    Really like the work you guys are doing on this site. Love checking back regularly to find recommendations for what to watch next. Keep it up!

    Mike love xxx

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