It’s finally out, and naturally your favorite Catgirl Princess had to be ready to snatch up a copy of “Kataude Mashin Gâru” aka “The Machine Girl” for her very own as soon as possible. This one has been on my list for about as long as I’ve heard of it, so it’s nice to finally have it in my sweaty lil’ paws……
So is writer/ director Noboru Iguchi’s revenge fest up to the challenge? Will it be the “Mother of All Bloodbaths” or just a sad trickle of pathetic nonsense?
Well….the synopsis sounds promising: “Ami (Minase Yashiro, in her film debut) is a tough but otherwise average high school girl, trying to lead a normal life. Her world comes crashing down when her brother and his friend are killed by ruthless bullies. As Ami tracks down the ringleader, she is surprised to discover the bullies’ association with a sinister ninja yakuza family. When she goes after her revenge, she soon finds herself in over her head and minus her left arm. Barely surviving, Ami escapes and seeks out shelter from two kindly garage mechanics. They take pity on her, fitting her with a high-powered machine gun where her arm used to be. She then teams up with the chainsaw-wielding mother (Asami) of her brother’s slain friend and together they unleash an unholy, non-stop, over-the-top kill fest against the equally creative machinery (drill bra, flying guillotine) of their relentless ninja enemies.”
Mmmmmm….Mini-guns and violent schoolgirls…..Yakuzas AND Ninjas…..Chainsaws….drill bras (say What?)…and one of the old favorites, the Flying Guillotine…..all in one movie, how can we go wrong?
But then Neko-Chan has been tempted into watching some really bad movies before……..but the good people at Tokyo Shock rarely disappoint me so lets give it a try, shall we? Read on!!
The movie starts off promisingly…..no slow buildup here, it’s right into the bloody business of revenge, with our heroine taking on some of the bullies right off the bat and blasting them into bloody bits, then after the credits roll, we flash back to the beginning to find out just how our heroine was brought to this point…..
First time actress Minase Yashiro is appealing as Ami, and handles both her life as a simple schoolgirl and her more violent, revenge-driven persona of Machine Girl well. Let Neko say this right up front……if you were looking for a sensitive drama with lots of meaningful social commentary about how “violence is wrong” or “revenge solves nothing” or even “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”…..then just give it up now. No sensitive messages need apply. This one is a pure exploitative fantasy from start to finish. Trust me…that’s not a bad thing either.
Yep, the filmmakers definitely adhere to the Japanese cinematic tradition of bloodletting here….. it doesn’t trickle out of wounds….it sprays. Sprays like a fire hose…..on crack. No human being could ever experience the level of blood loss shown for real. This is the school of bloodshed you fondly remember from “Shogun Assassin” with torrents and torrents of the red stuff available.
Anyway…it seems that in modern Japan, the family of famous Ninja Hattori Hanzo have degenerated into a psychotic thugs now living as Yakuza criminals….(although I’m not certain exactly what criminal enterprises they are into…the film never really shows). The youngest son of the clan, Shin, attends High School (or college….it’s a bit vague here….one of the schoolgirls gets raped later in the film and gets referred to as a “college girl”) where he is the leader of a gang of toughs whom he is grooming as ninja enforcers.
For fun, they beat up other students in a lame extortion racket that simply gives them an excuse to vent their violent taste for pain on the poor victims. Their big mistake is picking on Yu, Ami’s younger brother……. seems he’s all the family she’s got left in the world after her parents committed suicide over false murder allegations pinned on them. She and Yu renounced violence and she has tried to ignore the cruel tauts about her parents. But her efforts are doomed to failure.
Shin and his thugs kill her beloved brother and his friend, Tadeshi, by throwing them off a building and making it look like a suicide. Ami just can let that rest….she tries to get help from Tadeshi’s family, but the old taint of “murderer’s daughter” still follow her and she is rejected by grief stricken Miki, Tadeshi’s Mom, who blames her and her cursed family for her son’s death.
Later, she finds his diary, with a list of the boys in the gang, so Ami decides to take her revenge and become “a demon” to even the score. She has a bizarre encounter with the first family of one of the boys on the list. They don’t take well to the accusations against their precious little thug and try to erase Ami with extreme prejudice, tempura style. Yep….they deep fry her left arm in tempura batter and try to kill her in one of the strangest domestic violence scenes this lil’ Catgirl has seen in quite a while…..Sure it makes absolutely NO sense, but boy is it cool!!
Escaping the encounter, she returns later, and tortures the son for the name of the gang’s leader. The wipes out the whole family, one by one. Let the Bloody Road of Carnage commence!
Naturally, when she goes after Shin, she’s not ready for a showdown with Ninjas, and gets captured and tortured, and has her burned arm amputated by sword. Only her will to see them all die, gives her the strength to overpower the evil doctor sent to see that she wont die TOO soon, and lets her escape.
Bloody, crippled, barely alive, she collapses on the doorstep of Tadeshi’s parents garage where Tadeshi’s father convinces his wife that Miki was wrong about Ami, that they share the same enemy and the same need for revenge. While she heals, he builds her machine gun arm and Miki and Ami bond to plan the next step in their revenge plot. Of course this all culminates in an attack by the ninjas on the Garage in which Tadeshi’s father is killed……
Now nothing can stop the ultimate conclusion to this story…..it’s off to the secret temple hideout for a bloody no-holds-barred fight to the finish with every weapon imaginable from Chainsaws to flying guillotine to the crazy “drill bra”….. and nobody plans to finish it alive.
Yep….this one is just plain fun. It makes very little sense, and requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, but ultimately it works…..
But this one wasn’t made to win awards…it was made to celebrate the sheer fun of getting even with those who have wronged you greatly. Not the most noble of feelings but certainly the most universal.
The disc itself is up to Tokyo Shock’s usual good standards, with both the original Japanese language tracks as well as an excellent English audio dub. The subtitles are superb, presented low against the black bar of the letterbox format. It’s a dual layer disc, with a minor transition pause, and comes with a few extras including the original trailer, as well as a “making of” featurette in Japanese also with subtitles available.
Neko-chan gives this one a firm 4 “Meows” out of 5 for doing a great job of entertaining me with it’s over-the-top effects and story. Had they truly managed to capture the melodrama of 70’s Japanese cinema they’d have gotten a 5, but hey…..they didn’t do bad at all. If you are a fan of “violent asian schoolgirls”, miniguns, and ninjas, then this is the film for you.
All Neko wants to know is if Victoria’s Secret has the “Drill Bra” in my size….it’ll go soooo well with the “Leather Booties of Death”…….Hehehehe!!! (I’m such a naughty, naughty kitten at times…..)
And as always, here’s the Trailer, so you can witness the unbridled carnage for yourself!!