The Machine Girl

The title screen

The Machine Girl (aka Katuaude mashin gâru) is written and directed by Japanese director Noboru Iguchi, and stars Minase Yashiro as Ami Hyuga – the main and titular character. Ami Hyuga is like any other young college girl. She loves her younger brother and she can shoot some mean hoops. After her parents commit suicide due to her father being set up on murder charges, she’s left in charge to take care of her younger brother Yu. Yu is generally a good kid, he doesn’t usually get into too much trouble, but lately that’s changed. Yu and his friend Takashi have recently gotten involved with the son of a yakuza, Sho. They’ve gotten into a situation where they owe money to Sho, who would rather punish them then take the 20,000 yen they were able to raise. Sho gives them a day extension to raise 200,000 yen – an impossible task for a couple of high school students. When Yu and Takashi can’t come up with the money, Sho and his gang of bullies drop them off a parking structure onto their heads.

Look out behind you!Ami, after losing her parents and her brother, goes berserk and tries to extract her vengeance upon the boys who were involved with her brother’s death. When Ami finally confronts Sho and his parents, they capture and torture her – including cutting off her fingers and her arm – until she escapes from their control. Once on the outside, she stumbles along, following the ghost of her brother to safe refuge, where Takashi’s sympathetic parents help her recover and build her some weapons that she can attach to her stump so that she can mount a second assault against the students that were responsible for Yu’s death, and ultimately a showdown against Sho and his family.

This is/was a heavily hyped movie (it hasn’t been released in its homeland of Japan yet – they have to wait until August 2nd, 2008), and boy, does it live up to that hype. It has everything that a horror fan could want; gore, revenge, and a whole lot of creativity. Usually in these types of films, the story doesn’t really hold up well, but this one is an exception. From the death of her brother, to the extraction of her revenge, Ami stays singularly focused on her goal. From the start of the story with her carefree attitude to the end with her blood soaked victory, Ami stays focused.

Has anyone seen my hand?Worth mentioning are the special effects. It’s a good combination of digital and live action effects. Some hold up well, some look a little cheesy, but make no mistake, the blood pours out in buckets, and bloody mist sprays out like it’s coming out of sprinkler heads. There are a lot of different, inventive death scenes all throughout this film. It’s refreshing to see this kind of originality in film, considering there are so many rehashes of ideas being regurgitated on screens all over.

This is obviously a Japanese movie, so it goes without saying that some of the cultural differences are a little obvious. This works out as an advantage to viewers though, because everyone loves ninjas, and no one does them better than the Japanese. While there aren’t a whole bunch of them in this film, you get your fill and the few that they work into the movie are a fun addition.

If you’re in the mood for people getting cut in half with chainsaws, getting stabbed through the back of the skull through their entire face, drill bras, and ninjas getting they’re guts shot out, you won’t be disappointed with The Machine Girl.


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