'Mutant Girls Squad'

A coming-of-ager like no other, "Mutant Girls Squad" is several bloody cuts above the average Japanese schlockfest.

A coming-of-ager like no other, “Mutant Girls Squad” is several bloody cuts above the average Japanese schlockfest. Demented yarn about a 16-year-old schoolgirl finding her destiny in a fighting force of foxy femme mutants serves up all the gratuitous violence and cheesy effects fanboys could hope for, and is consistently amusing to boot. Produced under Nikkatsu’s Sushi Typhoon extreme exploitation banner, pic performed decently in limited local release in May and reps a tasty item for fest sidebars and homevid distribs catering to the sizable international audience switched on to low-budget, high-gore Nipponese fare. Bountiful worldwide ancillary is assured.

Pic blasts off with a terrific pre-credits sequence showing its star attractions slaughtering a SWAT-like military unit. Thereafter, leading genre exponents Noboru Iguchi (“The Machine Girl”), Yoshihiro Nishimura (“Tokyo Gore Police”) and Tak Sakaguchi (“Samurai Zombie”) each helm 30-minute chapters, which seamlessly form a continuous whole.

Story proper begins several weeks before the pre-credits carnage commences. Mousey teen Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) is bullied at school and discovers on her 16th birthday that her father (Kanji Tsuda) is a member of the Hiruko, a mutant clan at war with humans. Before expiring in spectacular fashion alongside his human wife (Maiko Ito), Dad tells Rin it’s her duty to join the Hiruko army.

Suddenly sprouting a Freddy Krueger-like hand and an attitude to match, Rin butchers dozens of humans in her neighborhood. Taken in by Kisaragi (co-helmer Sakaguchi), a transvestite Hiruko leader, Rin is trained at a hideout for teen girl mutants by scaly-skinned tough nut Rei (Yuko Takayama, “Rescue Wings”) and makes friends with Yoshie (Suzuka Morita), a pretty nurse with deadly tentacles. Squad also includes Sachie (Cay Izumi), who has swords in her breasts, and Chiako (Naoi Nagano), whose belly sports a grotesque chomping mouth. The mutant no one will forget is an unnamed girl with a chainsaw where the sun don’t shine.

All dolled up in shiny white jumpsuits, Rin, Rei and Yoshie are sent to liquidate Defense Minister Koshimizu (Naoto Takenaka), who has promised to rid the world of Hiruko. Just when the screenplay looks as though it’s running out of gas, Rin develops a conscience about the indiscriminate slaughter of humans, and the action takes a twist.

Reveling in grindhouse conditions, the helmers execute a virtually nonstop exhibition of over-the-top violence with considerable creativity and visual flair. Scripter Jun Tsugita infuses the mayhem with a wealth of zingy lines, and the attractive central thesping trio of Sugimoto, Takayama and Morita credibly negotiate the dialogue and show plenty of zest while lopping the limbs off all comers.

Thrift shop-inspired costumes and color-saturated photography suit the crazy story to a tee. Pulsating electronic score by Kou Nakagawa rounds out a tech package delivering maximum value for minimal outlay.

Mutant Girls Squad

Japan

Production

A Toei Video Co. release of a Sushi Typhoon production. (International sales: Nikkatsu, Tokyo.) Produced by Gen Sato, Toshiki Kimura. Executive producer, Kazuo Kato. Directed by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Tak Sakaguchi. Screenplay, Jun Tsugita.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Shun G. Momose; editors, Takeshi Wada, Nishimura; music, Kou Nakagawa; production designer, Hayato Oba; costume designer, Hiroko Miyata; sound, Hajime Komiya; visual effects supervisor, Tsuyoshi Kazuno; visual effects, Nishimura; character design, Nishimura; action supervisor, Sakaguchi; action director, Isao Karasawa; line producer, Koji Harada; associate producers, Yoshinori Chiba, Shinya Himeda; assistant director, Takuma Yoshimi; casting, Komiko Hoshi. Reviewed at Hawaii Film Festival (Extreme Asia), Oct. 21, 2010 (Also in New York Asian, Fantasia, Fantastic, Sitges film festivals.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Yumi Sugimoto, Yuko Takayama, Suzuka Morita, Tak Sakaguchi, Kentarou Shimazo, Kanji Tsuda, Maiko Ito, Naoi Nagano, Cay Izumi, Miyu Wagawa, Naoto Takenaka.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more