Review: ‘The Machine Girl’

Shameless gore, gallows humor and guilty pleasures are the byproducts of a mechanical plot and impressive helming in "The Machine Girl."

Shameless gore, gallows humor and guilty pleasures are the byproducts of a mechanical plot and impressive helming in the schlocky Japanese low-budgeter “The Machine Girl.” Already revered for outrageous efforts like “Sukeban Boy,” director Noboru Iguchi meets all the Nipponese extremist standards with this revenge yarn about a machine gun-limbed schoolgirl who takes on the yakuza. Designed for a gaijin crossover audience (complete with English credits), pic has a long future in ancillary for Nipponese and international auds with a grindhouse sensibility.

When bullies kill her younger brother, schoolgirl Ami (Minase Yashiro) seeks revenge on the perps and their parents. She loses an arm during a yakuza torture session; fortunately, sympathetic motor mechanics help with a machine-gun prosthesis, and Ami turns the bloody tide. Pic shows evidence of cultural recycling, with Japanese influences on Robert Rodriguez being reconditioned for this much cheaper model. Perfs are as gaudy as the bloody special effects, though artful framing belies the idea that Iguchi has knocked out this film carelessly. Adequate tech credits show little finesse, but the target aud won’t care.

The Machine Girl



A Fever Dreams presentation of a Tokyo Shock Original, Nikkatsu, Fever Dreams production. (International sales: Nikkatsu, Tokyo.) Produced by Yoko Hayama, Yoshinori Chiba, Satoshi Nakamura. Executive producer, John Sirabella. Directed, written by Noboru Iguchi.


Camera (color), Yasutaka Nagano; editor, Kenji Tanabe; music, Koh Nakagawa; production designer, Yasuo Kurosu; Special Effects & Gore Effects, Yoshihiro Nishimura. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 8, 2008. Running time: 96 MIN.


Minase Yashiro, Asami, Kentaro Shimazu, Honoha, Taro Suwa.

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