The Machine Girl – Review
Okay, allow me to bring you up to speed… Before we go any further, it’s advised that you watch this trailer –
Finished? Made it all the way to the end? Excellent, now you don’t need to watch the film.
As any fan of “Grindhouse” cinema (aka Exploitation, The B-Movie Genre, or just Shitty Low Budget Straight to Video Crap) will tell you, sometimes the IDEA of a film is actually a lot more interesting and fun than the execution of that idea into a 90 minute long work of cinema.
Tarantino and Rodriguez nailed this idea perfectly with the fake trailers that bookended their respective efforts in Grindhouse, and the excellent collection of DVDs – “42nd Street Forever” are breathtaking compilations of these 3 minute long mini-masterpieces.
Fair play to the makers of “Death Trance” and “Meatball Machine” – they’ve ticked just about every box on the trashy, splattercore criteria list – japanese schoolgirls, fountains of blood, multiple amputations, sadistic yakuza, hyperactive gun play.. Well, you’ve watched the trailer now, so i don’t need to go through the whole list. It’s all nicely iconic and riffs on various genre pieces ranging from the Evil Dead to Kill Bill (a case of pop eating itself methinks) and even Power Rangers.
However, the fatal flaw with this blood splattered cauldron of gore-stew is that for it to last 90 minutes, there has to be a Story. Stories tend to get in the way of mindless carnage and ultimately this slows everything down to a bit of a bore – unfortunately I found myself fast-fowarding through the latter half of the film, searching for the next evisceration or demembration (of which there are many).
A large amount of the action also suffers from the ongoing curse of weightless cgi, which I have spoken about in the past, so needn’t bang on about again.
Naturally, considering the content, the whole endeavour has its tongue lodged firmly in its cheek, so fits awkwardly into that sub-genre of “Comedies that aren’t really funny per-se, but there’s no better pigeonhole for the slightly wonky humour on screen.” It could be this is a cultural rift that I’ve just never been to straddle, but quite often Asian cinema that’s billed as a “comedy” is anything but.
Anyway, some people thought my article about Indy 4 was too long, so I’m going to keep this one nice and short, much like the Machine Girl’s cloven stump. This film is a fun piece of trash idea that’s probably best enjoyed in the background whilst you’re chatting to some mates with one finger hovering over the fast-forward button. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else I suppose, and no doubt it will raise the makers’ profile so that they have plenty more cash to continue to churn out latex and corn syrup-fuelled violent fantasies. If you’re looking for something a bit Wronger, and genuinely disturbing, I’d suggest you investigate the films of Takashi Miike.