Tag Archives: b movie

Mutant Girls Squad – Review

4 Nov

As I’ve said many times before, I have a soft spot in my heart for over the top B-grade Japanese movies, especially those done by the production company Sushi Typhoon. I’ve already reviewed RoboGeishaTokyo Gore Police, and Machine Girl, and now I’m adding Mutant Girls Squad to the list. This film is directed by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and Tak Sakaguchi. Iguchi and Nishimura have proved themselves with the insanity of the other films, and Sakaguchi has been involved with Sushi Typhoon in the past, so really nothing can go wrong with this movie!

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Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) is an unassuming school girl who gets bullied everyday at school. If only they knew the truth about her. After her parents are brutally killed, she learns that she is actually a mutant that is descended from the ancient Huriko clan and the soldiers who killed her family are part of a faction whose job it is to wipe these mutants out. Rin’s hand turns into a sharp, wired, muscular killing device and she is soon picked up by Kisaragi (played by one of the directors, Tak Sakaguchi) and his right hand woman Rei (Yuko Takayama).  They being training her and a group of other mutant girls to wage war against the humans who hate them and want them dead. At first all seems well, but Rin soon learns how sadistic Kisaragi is. With the help of Rei and fellow mutant Yoshie (Suzuka Morita), Rin wages her own war against Kisaragi and his loyal followers.

There are a lot of similarities to the X-Men movies and comic books, but there is no trace of characters like Wolverine here. This is pure, unadulterated, Japanese schlock and it is so much fun it should be illegal. Yoshihiro Nishimura not only co-directs, but uses his trademark gore effects to really take Mutant Girls Squad to the next level. This is definitely the best looking of the Sushi Typhoon movies, with the exception of maybe their masterpiece, Tokyo Gore Police.

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There’s almost no point in going into depth about the acting. A lot of it is shit, but some of it is so wonderfully ridiculous that you can’t help but love it. Tak Sakaguchi steals the show as the transvestite mutant Kasaragi. He delivers all of his lines with more menace that is really needed, but that’s what makes him a great villain. That and his whole attire is hilarious and cool all at the same time. Along with the acting, it’s easy to dismiss a lot of the writing as shit, but if you do, you just need to learn to laugh. Hearing a guy yell about how weird it feels to have his brain sucked out of his head is too great. If you were being critical, you would say that it is way too much exposition and over written. But come on. It’s Mutant Girls Squad. This out of this world dialogue just adds to how silly the movie is as a whole.

Back to how great this movie looks though. That’s the real draw in my opinion. The world that is created for this movie is splashed with color in ways that would make Dario Argento giddy with excitement. Rooms are filled with reds and purples. Night streets are made green and blue with wonderful uses of gels all around. Finally, the effects of the mutations and the gore are exactly what fans of these films come to expect. Unfortunately, a good deal of the blood and gore is CGI, but when it’s practical it looks even better. It’s such dark fun seeing blood literally geyser out of a severed arm or through the middle of a head split in two!

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Forget Assault Girls. That movie can rot in hell for all I care. Mutant Girls Squad is exactly what you want to watch when you’re in for a good old fashioned Japanese splatter film. The only problem is that it could’ve been shorter. It seems even I can only take the insanity for only so long. I still love this movie though and had a uproarious good time with it. Tokyo Gore Police still reigns as champion, but Mutant Girls Squad holds a close second in the ranks of the Sushi Typhoon movies.

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The Machine Girl – Review

24 May

I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that a guilty pleasure of mine lies in the realm of Japanese B-movies, more exclusively those that fall into the “splatter film” category. I’ve reviewed RoboGeishaTokyo Gore PoliceMeatball Machine, and Helldriver. Now, adding to this list is The Machine Girl, an over the top blood bath directed by Noboru Iguchi, and gore effects by the master of B-grade splatter movies, Yoshihiro Nishimura.

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Ami (Minase Yashiro) is an average school girl who is very protective of her little brother, Yu (Ryôsuke Kawamura), especially since their parents killed themselves over a criminal investigation involving a murder that they were framed for. One day, Yu and his friend are killed by Sho (Nobuhiro Nishihara), the son of a samurai/yakuza boss, Ryûji (Kentarô Shimazu). Ami vows to get revenge for her brother, but is caught by Ryûji and has her left arm cut off (in a shower of blood that made me chuckle). Ami teams up with the parents of Yu’s friend, Suguru (Yûya Ishikawa) and Miki (Asami). They construct for her a machine gun to attach to her arm, and after some training, wage a war on the yakuza boss and his son.

Just typing this summary out made me realize how absolutely goofy the whole premise of this is. It wasn’t very easy to get it all down and make it sound somewhat interesting at the same time. That’s because the appeal of The Machine Girl is the visual chaos that fills pretty much the entirety of the movie. If you see the trailer, the summary that I wrote down seems a bit more interesting because you have a sense of how silly it really is. Like I said before, this kind of movie is my guilty pleasure. I recognize the fact that they really aren’t good movies. But, and this is a big but, they make me laugh and there’s plenty of blood and gore that paints the screen red.

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So, for the sake of being a proper critic, let’s objectively look at the movie. First of all, it looks really cheap, but that’s because it is really cheap. The movie is shot in HD which is common for movies of this kind and is pretty appropriate for the silly nature of the movie. If it was shot with beautiful cinematography, it would look and feel weirder than it already is. The acting in it is sub par and over the top. I can promise you that there is lots of fist clenching, teeth gritting, and yelling as characters run into battle. Finally, the writing is completely ridiculous. Honestly though, there really isn’t anything special about the dialogue. You could take all of it out and still know exactly what is going on.

A major plus for this movie is the insane camera work that is used during the more violent scenes. When Ami fires her machine gun arm near the camera, it seems to jitter a little bit like it is affected by the power of the gun. Iguchi used the same technique in RoboGeisha, which has a lot of similarities in its style. The gore effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura are also really cool. There is some CGI used for the blood and the gore, but a good deal of it is done with more physical means. Lots of arterial spray and limbs that go flying. The make up used for a character who has nails rammed into his face looks both disturbing, but very funny in its own dark way.

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Above all, that is really my main reason for watching all of these. The blood, the gore, and the action are so silly and over the top that I can’t help but be intrigued. The writing and acting may be bad and the HD may look cheap, but I can’t say that this wasn’t a really fun movie to watch. There were times where I got a little bored or was ready for the movie to be over, but most of the time I was into what was happening and wondered just what could possibly happen next. A machine gun arm, a flying clamp that rips heads off, a drill bra, and more make this a one of a kind movie. Well, perhaps not. It has been compared to Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, which is without a doubt a much better film. Still, I can see how much joy the film makers had making this because the finished product is so kinetic and enjoyable. It’s hard to explain how a movie is when you can really tell the makers were trying to make a movie that they would love to see themselves. The Machine Girl is one of these movies.

So, yeah. This isn’t a good movie, but it is entertaining and silly as hell. I don’t always feel the need to put on some highly artistic movie that will make me reconsider everything I know about film making. Sometimes I just want to see some limbs fly and a girl with a machine gun arm kill some bad guys. This gave me exactly what I was expecting, and for that, I can’t fault the movie. This isn’t for everyone, and to the people who have seen it and hate it, I completely understand. The Machine Girl stupid fun, and I personally had a good time.

Roadracers – Review

5 Mar

I don’t think that I’ve talked about Robert Rodriguez on this blog yet, which is strange because he is one of the biggest inspirations to my style of writing and, hopefully, directing. He enjoys all things over the top, as you can see in his films such as DesperadoPlanet Terror, and Machete. Before all of this insanity was El Mariachi, the little indie film that put him on the map. What I’m sure many people don’t know about was a little TV movie he made for Showtime, Roadracers, which was made right before Desperado.

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Dude (David Arquette) is a 1950s greaser who spends his days cruising through town with his girlfriend Donna (Salma Hayek), getting into fights with his rival Teddy (Jason Wiles), and making trouble for the local sheriff (William Sadler). His entire life has been spent this way: moving fast but going nowhere. Now that Dude is beginning to grow up, he’s beginning to realize that he needs to get his act together and possibly follow up on a very possible music career, or get left in the dust and remain in the town. The pulling between the two factors pull Dude harder than he can handle, leading to a violent climax that will decide where Dude’s life will take him.

The first thing I noticed about this movie was the use of the character name “Dude.” Does that ring a bell for anyone? The Big Lebowski anyone? Funny thing is that Roadracers came first. I think that’s pretty interesting since The Dude from Lebowski is thought of as such a goofy and original character name. I mean no disrespect to the Coen Brothers, I enjoy their work and consider them two heroes of mine, but Rodriguez was first! This isn’t what I want to talk about though. After El Mariachi, Rodriguez made this film for Showtime which was doing a series of made for TV movies called Rebel Highway, that were homages to 1950s B-movies. The series featured big name directors like William Friedkin, but Rodriguez was, at the time, unknown.

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Like Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez has made his career off of making films that hearken back to the days of video stores and all of the strange genres that lurk in their darkest corners. In that respect, Rodriguez is the perfect choice to be a part of this series. Strangely enough, this was before he made his stylistic mark. It seems like he was born for this style of film making. Still, this was before he really found his niche, and it shows. The plot begins to jumble and ramble in the second act leaving me thinking that it could’ve have realistically been an hour long or maybe a little over. And hour and a half felt like a stretch.

I will say that the movie was better than I expected, but I wasn’t really expecting much. I laughed a lot in the beginning and I really liked how cheesy all of the ’50s style is played. It’s all over the top and romanticized while being satirized at the same time. Let’s compare it to one of my favorite films, Rebel Without a Cause. James Dean plays a character who is also beginning to grow up and learn that he needs to start making adult decisions without relying on adults. This is played very seriously, and almost tragically. Dude in Roadracers also needs to make these decisions, but they are played so over the top and comedically. Rebel Without a Cause  and Roadracers both critique the society of the time and the fact that cliques and classes are so separated, it made life for these young people difficult.

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Roadracers is an alright attempt by Rodriguez, although it is nowhere near as great as his next film, Desperado. By that point, he’s found his style and locked onto his ability and made a great film. This one, however, is pretty sloppy and got pretty boring by the midway point. It’s pretty silly, made me laugh, and the ending is abrupt, yet awesome. It still could’ve been a lot shorter and the narrative much cleaner. Unless you’re really a die hard fan of Rodriguez, skip this one. If you’re a huge fan and interested in all of his work, lower your standards and give it a quick watch. It’s very mediocre.

 

RoboGeisha – Review

25 Jun

Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, Along the Waterfront. All of these are classics that are relevant in the studies of film history. Filled with dramatic performances and moving character arcs that cover the entire human emotional spectrum, these films pack a punch aimed right at the viewer’s heartstrings. But, do they have machine gun boobs, arm pit swords, and wig napalm? No, but RoboGeisha does. How can you honestly not be interested in this?

Yoshie (Aya Kiguchi) is a geisha assistant to her sister, Kikue (Hitomi Hasebe) until one day they are both chosen to become cyborg geisha assassins by a steel manufacturing corporation. Between her various hits, Yoshie must deal with not only her conflicting morals surrounding these assassinations, but also with two elite stripper assassins called the Goblin Squad (Takumi Saito and Taro Shigaki).

Be warned friends and fellow movie lovers, it is necessary to leave any common sense or harsh intellectual judgements at the door. RoboGeisha is not meant to be taken even a pinch seriously. That’s what makes this movie so ridiculously fun and memorable: it doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s easy to find films that would have been great if it weren’t for an overly serious storyline coating a ridiculous set up. Thankfully, this movie knows exactly what it is.

There is really nothing in this movie that is at all believable. The acting is pretty bad, the writing is way too expository, and the special effects can be downright laughable. But, let’s be real, who cares? While the dialogue may reveal way too much, it’s hysterical and almost self-aware. I laughed just as much at the ludicrous dialogue as I did with the ridiculous action sequences.

There actually is one thing in this movie that I liked not because it was silly, but because it was legitimately something that I appreciated as a film student, even though it’s nothing cutting edge. When there was an intense action scene or lots of frenetic fighting, the camera movement and the editing would become hyperactive. This really added to the scene and just made me get more excited and into what I was looking at.

I do have a few complaints, however. For one, I would get pretty bored with the long scenes of dialogue. The poor writing is funny for the short scenes, but when they go on and on, it gets kind of old and I get ready for the next scene of ridiculousness. That being said, the movie goes on a bit too long.  This would have been a perfect hour and a half movie, but it actually clocks in at close to two hours. That’s good for a drama, but not something like this.

Thinking back on RoboGeisha, I start to love it more and more. I had more fun watching this movie than I have in a while. Is it the best movie I ever saw? Certainly not, but it may be one of the most entertaining I’ve ever seen. I easily recommend RoboGeisha to everyone who doesn’t mind turning their mind off and forgetting all rules of common sense, because they are of no use here.