Trivia Hanzo Hattori is the name of the bad guy clan. He was a famous samurai that Sonny Chiba played in his 80s TV show. This is also referenced in Kill Bill.
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Machine Girl (2008)
14th Jul 09
A Japanese schoolgirl loses an arm trying to avenge the death of her bullied brother and has it replaced by a machine gun. Then all hell breaks loose.
And it's about time too. Just when you thought Japan also was starting to take itself a bit too seriously with it's horror movie output, where every other film coming out is about long black hairy scary ghosts, or haunted mobile phones, or what have you, along comes Machine Girl to breathe a bit of comedy life into the scene the same way that Wild Zero and Bio-Zombie did over a decade ago now.
The opening of the film is kind of its own epilogue, set after the rest of the movie but shown before. A gang of Japanese teenagers are bullying another kid, perhaps to his death if they'd've been left uninterrupted, when a cute schoolgirl with one arm steps forward and explains that they're all about to have a very bad day. Insults are exchanged, knives are drawn and the balletic action starts, pausing only for the occasional freeze frame credit to roll up the screen. The schoolgirl then pulls a machine gun arm attachment out of her backpack while dodging the bullies' blades, and suddenly you realise what you've got in stall for the next 90 minutes.
When you try to describe the action in Machine Girl a great many previously highly regarded films spring to mind. In this case this is a very good thing. Take the whip-pan crash-bang action style and Dutch angles from the Evil Dead movies, mix it with the limb slicing blood sprays from Shogun Assassin but done in the gory style of Brain Dead and Bad Taste, and you're pretty close to what's on offer here. The opening 10 mins of Machine Girl is real jaw on the floor stuff, the kind of stuff you pause, rewind, go get a drink and any flat mates you might have and watch again.
Surprisingly, the rest of the film holds up too. After the storming intro the films tracks back 6 months to when Ami (that's the girl from the intro) and her little brother Yo were just ordinary school kids. Also like most school kids, Yo and his mate Takeshi get bullied for cash on a regular basis, but this time it's worse as the lead bully is actually the son of a local Yakuza boss who threatens to put Ami into a whore house if Yo doesn't cough up the cash. One day, when they turn up particularly behind in payments, the Yakuza boss's kid has Yo and Takeshi thrown off a balcony to their death. Ami is devastated, but soon finds Yo's diary, which lists all the names of everyone who's ever bullied him.
Initially, Takeshi's mum Miki (played by actress Asami, famous for her porn roles in the Cream Lemon series apparently) doesn't want to help out, but after a bizarre chain of events including Ami having her left forearm fried off in a tempura pan (the site of her arm in tempura batter looking good enough to eat is quite hilarious), Miki changes her mind, her mechanic husband builds Ami a custom machine gun arm and, well, let's just say you really owe it to yourself to watch the rest of this movie, you won't regret it.
A great many scenes stand out. The initial bully fight is brilliant, then Ami chops her way through the names in Yo's diary, before she finally looses her arm to the tempura batter. But after that, when Ami escapes from the Yakuza stronghold and holes up at Miki's place, things just get better. A gang of ninjas dressed in red Adidas tracksuits turn up looking like some of the coolest goons in cinema history, and the fight with them coincides with Ami getting the finalised machine gun arm of Miki's unlucky husband. Then it's on to face the yakuza boss, but Ami and Miki have to make it through the parents of the kids she's already killed in the movie first. I kid you not; a gang of parents turn up wearing outfits that have their dead kids faces printed across their chests. Talk about parent power!
Anyway, it's all very silly, very over the top, very gory (very gory) and likely to offend absolutely nobody. Do you remember how Brain Dead got passed uncut in the early 90s because the UK censors got the joke, whereas the US version was bizarrely cut to shreds? Well, Machine Girl is the kind of movie where, despite the extreme levels of gore, practically everybody is going to get this joke this time around and good times will be had by all. Sure, there's acting in there, and a nice score I think, and some nice lighting, or something, to be honest it's hard to notice all that kind of stuff because of the brilliantly hilarious action going on. You've got to love this kind of stuff.