Tag Archives: yoshihiro nishimura

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!

Mutant-girls-squad-poster

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.

MGS1_4502

 

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!

MGSPic1

 

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.

Advertisements

Samurai Princess – Review

3 Jul

For as long as I’m on this earth, I will do my absolute best to keep the crazy, over the top, blood splattering, Japanese movies coming. My most recent addition to the insanity is a little known film in this “category”, Samurai Princess. With a story by Kengo Kaji, the man who wrote Tokyo Gore Police, and special make up and effects by the always fun Yoshihiro Nishimura, what could possibly go wrong?

Samurai_Princess_movie

 

In an alternate universe, feudal Japan is a strange place. The forests are littered with thieves and murderers whose bodies have been mechanically altered with weapons and other gadgets. These people are called “Mechas.”  When a princess (Aino Kishi) and her friends are attacked and killed, a mad scientist rebuilds her body and places the souls of the eleven friends inside of her to use as weapons. With this new body, the Samurai Princess wanders the forest in hopes of finding the people who ruined her life, and took the lives of her friends. Another, more powerful enemy, lurks in the shadows, however.

Just by that brief summary, it should be known not to take this movie too seriously. To be fair though, I’ve never watched a movie with Nishimura’s name attached to it and decided to take it seriously. Samurai Princess is a silly, often stupid movie that makes little to no sense at all. I’d even go so far as to say that it is almost unwatchable. Luckily, there is plenty of gore and a good amount of humor to save this movie from being so bad, it’s not even good.

samurai-princess-1

 

There is a lot to laugh at Samurai Princess other than the gore and the arterial sprays that squirt gallons of blood at a time. Some of the best parts of this movie are the ridiculous villains and side characters that pop up from time to time and offer goofy dialogue or just laughable weirdness. Of all these types of movies, this one might be the most surreal. The laboratories also have a “charming” design with body parts hooked up to all different sorts of machinery, and some of the gore effects look really great. One particular scene involves a fountain, made of human body parts, that is splashing blood all over the place. It’s dark, it’s weird, and it’s hysterical.

Don’t misunderstand me. This is not a good movie, even for the likes of this genre. The video that it’s shot on looks unbelievably cheap and the characters spend most of their time walking around forested areas that look like they could have been filmed down the street from my house. Movies like RoboGeisha, Machine Girl, and Meatball Machine look like thought was put into the locations. Samurai Princess looks completely random and has absolutely no continuity in its locations. Finally the story is told in such a way that it’s pretty much incoherent.

samurai-princess-04-web

 

Samurai Princess is a mess of a movie even for this genre. The characters, the humor, and the gore is all great, which is to be expected. Still, the narrative, the location shots, and the shoddy video all drag the movie down so far that they movie isn’t even enjoyable. I checked the time a lot throughout the movie with hopes that the movie was almost over, but i sat through the entire thing and I honestly can’t recommend it to anyone besides hardcore fans of the genre.

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.

The_Machine_Girl

 

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.

vlcsnap-3635483

 

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.

23machine.xlarge1

 

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.

Helldriver – Review

20 Dec

Never has a movie made me so mentally exhausted. Helldriver is an overload of insanity that invades all of your senses and doesn’t let up for two hours. This is both good and bad. For awhile, the insanity is enjoyable and a laugh riot, but after a while it made me tired and I really just needed a break between scenes just to comprehend what I just saw. I knew going into this movie that it would be nuts, but I got way more than I bargained for.

Helldriver-film-poster

After a cosmic cloud of ash blankets half of Japan, multiple reports of zombie hordes take the media by storm until it becomes too much to really control. The infected half of Japan is blocked by a huge wall, and the Prime Minister is fighting to allow zombies basic human rights. Amongst all of the insanity, a small group of “criminals”, led by Kika (Yumiko Hara) and her chainsaw sword, enter into the other side of the wall to find and kill the zombie queen (Eihi Shiina), who just so happens to be Kika’s sadistic mother.

This is a zombie movie unlike any I’ve seen before. These aren’t your typical zombies who just lumber (or run, in some cases) down the road without a clue as to what’s going on. These zombies are pretty intelligent and are killed when the tumor stemming from their heads are destroyed. Oh, and not only that, but people use these tumors as illicit drugs and they also are very flammable. I dare you to name another movie that has anything like that! I’m sure one might exist, but certainly not to my knowledge.

tumblr_ly0gftB7nJ1r724t8o1_500

This film is directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, whose other films include the wonderful Tokyo Gore Police and Machine Girl, a review for another day. These movies are crazy, over the top splatter films that enjoy how ridiculous they are and bask in their own insane glory. I respect that. Watching how crazy these movies get is so much fun. This one… this one takes the cake. It’s a two hour barrage of crazy editing, out of this world and long action sequences sprayed with gallons and gallons and gallons of blood in every frame. I loved the scenes of dialogue, not because they were very good or interesting, but because I needed a break. My mind could not compute everything that was happening.

This sort of spoils the movie in a way. Every movie, no matter how crazy, needs to have some down time.  Even though I was tired after watching this movie, I need to be able to appreciate some of the things that I saw. Every Nishimura has something you never thought you would ever see, kind of like a car made out of pieces of zombies that is used in a prolonged chase scene featuring some of the most laughable CGI I’ve ever seen. This scene in particular wore me out and hurt my eyes.

helldriver-still01

I was completely shocked by the audacity of Helldriver. Japanese splatter movies are a guilty pleasure of mine, and this one is certainly no exception. Is this as good as Tokyo Gore Police? No way. That one reigns supreme, but this Helldriver pushed this genre farther than I have seen yet, and for that I enjoyed it. Just be prepared to feel exhausted from the relentless violence, blood, and ridiculousness. I can’t say that you should definitely check this one out, but if  you’re at all interested in the genre than this is an insane trip.

Meatball Machine – Review

30 Nov

I gotta say, Japan is a pretty eccentric place, and I mean that in the best way possible. I know that they have very dramatic and artistic cinematic pieces, but what I’m going to be talking about today is something totally different. I’m talking about Meatball Machine, a film that’s in the same league as the outlandish Tokyo Gore Police. It’s gory, violent, hysterical, strangle romantic, and truly bizarre. That goes without saying, but is it any good?

Freakish and murderous creatures have begun popping up through all of Japan without any rhyme or reason. Some theories say space, but no one is sure. All that is known is that these parasites infect humans and turn their bodies into tools have war to not kill other humans, but other creatures. Yoji (Issei Takahashi) witnesses this first hand after the girl he is enamored with (Aoba Kawai) is infected. Yoji soon learns that the only way to save her is to put her out of her misery, but how?

I don’t even know where to begin. People may criticize this movie all they want, but you have to admit that it sure packs a wallop of imagination in its story and its presentation. The creature effects were designed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, who actually directed Tokyo Gore Police and some other movies whose reviews are to come! While the story is pretty cool, the effects are what steal the show. They look low budget and cheap at times, but they are! Nishimura still did an excellent job with what was available.

 

The thing with this movie is that it felt like it wouldn’t end. This movie isn’t even long, only 92 minutes. The climactic showdown starts off pretty bland, stays bland, then all of the sudden explodes into bloody awesome over the top goodness. I just felt like I had to wait so long to get there. There’s a point in the movie where all of the cool stuff has happened, and all we really want to see is the resolution. This is the weakest part of the movie, and the film makers should have pushed things along.

Everything else is still pretty solid as far as something as ludicrous as this goes. The acting was ok, and the writing was even well done. I feel like I don’t really have too much to say about this movie, which could be a bad thing, but I don’t really think it is. It’s just not really a movie to sit down and nit pick or compliment. It’s a movie to watch when you’re in that weird kind of mood, where a normal narrative with normal situations just won’t suffice.

 

I can’t say that Meatball Machine is a good movie, but I can’t say that it’s a bad movie either. As far as Japanese “splatter” movies go it’s not my favorite, but I can still appreciate it for what it is: an imaginative blood bath into mayhem. I said before, you have to be in a certain mood to watch this movie for it to really be enjoyable. Just have an open mind, know what you’re getting into, and brace yourselves for bloody silliness.

Tokyo Gore Police – Review

2 Aug

With a name like Tokyo Gore Police, it’s pretty easy to know what to expect. There’s never been an Oscar winner with a name like this, and they’re probably never will be. But, what we get instead is one of the most fun, silly, gory, offensive, and obnoxious films ever made. I loved every minute of it.

 

In the future, Tokyo’s police force is privatized and a special forces team is created to hunt down and kill shape shifting criminals called “Engineers.” Ruka (Eihi Shiina) is one of the best engineer hunters around, and is especially driven after seeing her father, another officer, shot in front of her when she was just a child. Now, she must face her most powerful and dangerous adversary yet; and engineer man scientist called the Key Man. Tokyo is thrown into chaos as the police and engineers engage in all out bloody war.

As far as shock value, violence, and ridiculousness, Tokyo Gore Police goes above and beyond the call of duty. Geysers and geysers of blood spray all over the scenery and even onto the camera lens. Heads roll and ligaments fly and grotesque mutations are played flor laughs. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear the whole time.

The writing is silly and the acting is pretty unremarkable, but let’s be real. Are we really going to watch this movie for the superb acting and witty dialogue? Of course not. We’re going to watch it for the gallons of blood, the crazy action, and the laugh till it hurts dark comedy.

Something that did surprise me was the really cool cinematography. Colors and light are used very well to create an unreal atmosphere that looks like it came out of a comic book or a video game. This isn’t your average Tokyo. This is a Tokyo on LSD that has come straight from hell to deliver a bloody demonic trip. Greens and reds pop out of the screen and assault your vision with radical color design. If you saw my review of RoboGeisha, then you might recall how the camera work is as frenetic as the action. This is also the case with Tokyo Gore Police. Really cool stuff.

This is a pretty short review, because I have nothing very serious to say about this movie. It’s goofy, bloody, and obnoxious in its violence, dialogue, and sex. If you want to freak your friends or family out or if you just want to have a crazy time with a movie, I highly recommend Tokyo Gore Police. It’s a really great time.