Sunday, May 4, 2008
THE MACHINE GIRL: What the Fuck is Wrong with the Japanese?
Eric Kim, Parrish, some of Eric Kim's friends, and I went the the midnight showing of THE MACHINE GIRL at the TOO FAR FILM FESTIVAL last night... I only really had this trailer to go on when I went to see it, so I sort of knew what to expect, but... I was still completely unprepared for just how COMPLETELY FUCKED UP this movie was.
THE MACHINE GIRL is the story of Ami, a slightly above average Japanese highschool orphan girl, who is forced to raise her beloved pussy of a little brother, after their parents commit suicide when they are both accused of being alleged murderers. Ami is popular, intelligent, and a good athlete, as well as being incredibly strong and seemingly superhumanly tough. Her brother, though, is comparatively weak and easily bullied by the son of the local Yakuza, who is also the descendant of Hattori Hanzo ninja.
One day, the bullying goes too far, and the bully, Sho, kills Ami's brother, Yu, dropping him and his friend Takeshi from a roof. Being the son of a Yakuza, the murder is covered up by the police, and no one will take the word of the daughter of alleged murderers, and after being attacked by the irrational parents of one of Sho's gang, Ami snaps and descends into a revenge fueled kill-crazy rampage. "Even if it means I must become a demon, I will avenge you Sho!" she cries, sacrificing her body, soul, and sanity to become the Machine Girl.
The only thing I can possibly compare THE MACHINE GIRL to that would give people any sort of basis for comparison would be RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RIKI, in terms of how completely disgusting and FUCKED UP it is. THE MACHINE GIRL is obviously heavily influenced by messed up old grindhouse movies, and particularly Robert Rodriguez recent attempt at resurrecting the genre, PLANET TERROR, though instead of having a machine gun for a leg, she has it on her arm, though one other character later replaces her leg with a chainsaw. It's just completely, unforgivably, violent and disgusting... in such as way that it is completely cartoonish and entertaining, rather than actually shocking... through you will probably vomit. A few times. In what I think is the movies most memorable scene, a middle aged woman starts vomiting when her sons decapitated head pops up in a pot of tempura batter, only to be stabbed in the brain by Ami from behind, while vomiting, rendering her brain dead and thus cutting off her gag reflex, so that she actually VOMITS UP HER OWN INTESTINES INTO THE POT. Ami then takes the body of the deceased boy into the bathroom where his father is bathing, and squeezes the body, spraying him with blood and scream, "WASH YOUR HAIR WITH YOUR SONS BLOOD AS CONDITIONER!"
The movie sort of stumbles drunkenly around on the borderline between trying to be an actual movie, as there are some pretty decent effects mixed in with the obviously cheezy ones, and some decent cinematography, and the story could almost be forgivable, if not for the massive plotholes that seemed to be purposely left there, or the way certain plot points are just simply and unceremoniously explained away (at one point the mother of Takeshi asks her husband, who is stitching up Ami's dismembered arm, "Do you know what you're doing?" to which his reply is, "Of course. Have yo forgotten that I'm the son of a doctor? Not to mention all the times I stitched up your wounds when you were in that crazy biker gang..." easily dismissing two potential plot holes with one ridiculous piece of dialouge).
The theme of the movie also sort of stumbles around, especially in the penultimate fight, as Ami is sort of a hypocrite, and it's really hard to have any sort of sympathy for her, as she easily discards her morals, almost immediately contradicting herself, to become a murderous psychopath.... which apparently runs in the family (this was pretty hilarious... there was one piece of dialouge where Ami states, "My brother and father would NEVER murder anyone..." which sort of implies that her mother probably WAS a murderer all along, and passed her murder skills down to Ami, who even the ninja Yakuza admit to having an impressive knack for the disgusting art of the kill-crazy revenge rampage). One memorable line from Takeshi's mother seems to change the moral barometer of the movie, where she states, "You're going to murder them all? GOOD! If there's a way to get revenge without killing a LOT of people, I don't know what it is."
THE MACHINE GIRL is one of those films that is sort of infuriating as you watch it... even though you have no sympathy for Ami, as she's proven to be a pretty unforgivable and terrible human being, she is the lessor of two evils, and is abused and looked down upon by a uncaring cast of even more callous and cruel characters... the unjust nature of her situation, and the fact that no matter how many, or how brutally, she kills ANYONE they send to stop her, the movies villainous family of arrogant and haughty Yakuza Ninja never admit her righteousness or that they fear her. It just frustrates the hell out of me when the villain won't admit how cool the hero is... even when they are being horribly murdered by her... there's something unfulfilling about that.
THE MACHINE GIRL is one of those movies that's a great movie because it's a terrible movie. It's just completely and almost unforgivably fucked up, and you'll spend the entire two hours tasting bile as you choke back your own vomit. It's a well crafted, terrible movie, much along the lines of RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RIKI, and equally as disgusting and violent, filled with characters that you have no sympathy for. We had a BLAST, as the theater was filled with laughs, cheers, groans, and the sound of puke hitting the floor.
I recommend this to anyone throwing a midnight room party with friends that can appreciate terrible movies.