The creative duo Noboru Iguchi (writer and director) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (make up and special effects supervisor) came to fame in a big way with The Machine Girl in 2008. Since then, they have teamed up again for Robogeisha, and effects expert Yoshihiro Nishimura has gone on to direct Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl. All of these films have one thing in common: over-the-top low-budget gore. So obviously there is a market for this kind of movies, but is The Machine Girl worthy of its success? Read on to find out!
A gang of teenagers, led by leader Sho Kimura, is bullying an innocent young boy. Then suddenly, coming out of nowhere, a girl with a machine gun as her left arm appears. She punishes the bullies with her fighting skills and powerful machine gun. This girl, Ami Hyuga, was once an innocent school girl, but a series of unfortunate events have turned her into a cold-blooded killer – the Machine Girl…
This is certainly not my first time reviewing a show that features cute girls carrying big guns (see Burst Angel Infinity and Daphne in the Brilliant Blue). However, The Machine Girl takes this familiar concept to a whole new level, one that is extreme and way over the top. The budget is obviously low, but the filmmakers appear to have spared no expenses in their use of fake blood in creating the bloody visual effects.
Minase Yashiro, who plays the main character, is full of cuteness, but has limited acting ability and only manages to show a very limited range of facial expressions. In fact, the acting in this movie is universally bad, which makes me wonder if this is actually deliberate, so that viewers do not take the whole thing too seriously. The script is not very strong either. It is filled with stupid dialogue and is grossly underdeveloped. An example is how the viewers never get to find out why and how Ami’s father came to be accused of murder, which led to the whole family bearing a bad name.
While the acting and screenplay are both not very good, I think the main factor that will ultimately determine whether you like or dislike this film is how you find the gore and violence that feature heavily throughout the movie. Some scenes are fun, such as the fight between Ami and the three ninjas at the garage, because they showcase inventive and humorous use of special effects. While others, like the one showing an innocent person’s arm being deep fried, are done in rather bad taste. I know the movie is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I still find the violence unnecessarily excessive, and seeing blood spraying all over the place from someone’s severed arteries while the person exsanguinates to death really is not something that I would call fun.
While I have no doubt some viewers will find The Machine Girl entertaining to watch, it has failed to impress me as much as I expected it to. Having said that, at least it will have one lasting effect on me, i.e. I will probably be reminded of this movie every time I eat sushi or tempura from now on. I want to finish up by sharing with you a quote from the movie. ‘Violence doesn’t solve anything. It only hurts people.’ Ironically, these words actually came out of the mouth of the young heroine. So you better believe in them.