The Machine Girl (Kataude mashin gâru) (2008)

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Released 3-Jun-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Making Of-Making of THE MACHINE GIRL
Theatrical Trailer-Original Trailer
Gallery-Photo-Stills Gallery
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 93:14
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Noboru Iguchi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Minase Yashiro
Asami
Kentaro Shimazu
Honoka
Nobuhiro Nishihara
Yűya Ishikawa
Ryôsuke Kawamura
Demo Tanaka
Nahana
Taro Suwa
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Takashi Nakagawa


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   I love The Machine Girl, a modern-day Japanese grindhouse flick from last year that could only have been made in Japan. In 2007 much ado was made of Robert Rodriguez's part of the film Grindhouse named Planet Terror, a movie that pretty accurately captured a 70's 42nd Street flick by being insane with violence and tastelessness without any of those pesky things like characters, pathos or plot. Quentin Tarantino's far superior Death Proof actually captured the feel of watching an entry from a grindhouse double, with characters beyond stereotypes and interesting exchanges that built up to the kind of nasty exploitative violence that made the genre memorable; in other words, a genuine update of the genre. The Machine Girl falls from the same tree, as a gory, exploitative revenge flick that is also intelligent and entertaining.

   The Machine Girl is the story of Ami Hyűga (Minase Yashiro), an orphaned high school girl skilled in martial arts trying to lead a normal existence when her brother is killed by bullies with links to the Yakuza. Attempting revenge she finds herself captured and tortured by the Yakuza, narrowly escaping but losing her left arm. Taken in by two kindly mechanics who take pity on her, they build her a high-powered machine gun to replace the lost limb and help her with a plan to avenge her lost brother and stop the Yakuza permanently.

   The film is an instant cult classic; the violence that follow the set up is so unbelievably extreme and hilarious that, for those who can stomach it, it's a never-ending thrill ride of amputations and eviscerations and gorings. The action sequences are actually shot and edited really well, avoiding the kind of fast-cutting-close-up garbage punctuating most modern American action films, and the practical effects are astonishing, ranging between very-realistic and so over-the-top that it's consistently repellent and horrifying in the most wonderful way possible. (The film also occasionally dabbles in unfortunate CG shots that are obvious and ineffective, but are fortunately almost always mixed in with practical effects.) Beyond this, there's also a surprising amount of well-written, enjoyable melodrama here that makes the protagonists human and the antagonists very unlikeable, making their brutal demises all the more satisfying.

   The Machine Girl is so hilariously absurd and disgusting that it's fantastic, consistently upping the ante to capitalise on its premise and never ever being boring. Writer and director Noboru Iguchi - whose background is in the Japanese adult film industry, of all things - has crafted a movie that deserves a franchise. Never anything more than it wants to be, and catering to a specific audience, it's a cult classic that will astonish anyone who watches it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The video is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

   The Machine Girl looks bloody awesome on DVD, nearly flawless in its presentation. There's no low level noise, no film artefacts, no interlacing, nothing but clean clear spurting and insides. A very small amount of grain suggests that the film was shot on HD, which I cannot confirm but would not be surprised by except for how good the transfer looks during night scenes - very detailed and splendid to watch. I can't find anything to complain about here - it's a very good looking DVD.

   The English subtitles here are perfect in capturing the translation and emotions of the dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   The audio is presented in Japanese Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 (Stereo).

   There's unfortunately not a lot of difference between these two audio tracks, with the rear speakers on the 5.1 track only coming to life during the more visceral action sequences. That said, they're both fine, with a solid audio mix to grab and hold attention during the extreme carnage and scenes of sadness and reflection alike. The film's surround could have been utilized better, and more bass might have given the big fights more gusto, but as it is it's still fine.

   The music by Takashi Nakagawa does an excellent job of firing up the action sequences but then giving moments of character development and dialogue pathos and effect; one excellent example is the music that builds up tension during the early dinner table slaughter, captivating and hitting its amazingly violent climax without ever drawing attention to itself. Like the phenomenal editing, the score is perfect for the material.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Animated Menus with Sound

   The menus here feature the film's musical theme over some gory gusto, getting you in the right mood for the carnage!

The Machine Girl - Behind the Scenes (10:04)

   This disappointing short puff-piece includes several interviews with the main stars of the film as well as a brief look at some of the special effects, specifically the infamous drill bra and the finger sushi. Lacking in substance and meaning, it doesn't really give any idea about how the film was made or what was attempted in production - it's just fluff. In 1.33:1.

Theatrical Trailer (1:36)

   This trailer is absolutely glorious, nailing home the simple plotline and theme alongside the glut of violence and gore. It's also in excellent quality, at the proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looking sweet.

Stills Gallery

   A fairly standard set of promotional stills.

Eastern Eye Trailers

   Beginning with an anti-piracy ad, this selection of other trailers also put out in Australia by Madman is most notable for including the follow-up to The Machine Girl, the aptly named Tokyo Gore Police.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   Frustratingly, I am unable to find out the specifics for any of the two-disc sets that have been released in Japan and the US. Both of these versions include the short Shyness Machine Girl, a brief-side story (aka gaiden) to the main movie, and the US version includes a redubbed version of the original film with various well known American anime voice actors. I don't know what other special features are available, but it appears we have been shortchanged despite Madman's best intentions - a new special edition called The Machine Girl Remixed has just hit America's shores and is likely the release you want to get.

Summary

   The Machine Girl is what Planet Terror should have been - a wonderfully over-the-top grindhouse revenge flick with some of the most awesome violence and gore ever committed to celluloid.

   The video and audio transfers are both very good.

   The extras are unfortunately minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Friday, October 02, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using Component output
DisplayPhilips 47PFL9732D 47-inch LCD . Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
A great flick and here is some US details - Worstnightmare