Mutant Girls Squad (2010)
Short Film-Bonus short film Yoshie Zero
Trailer-Madman trailers x 4
|Year Of Production||2010|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Rin (Yumi Sugimoto) is a normal but unhappy Japanese teenage girl: she has loving parents but is shy, bullied at school and her wrists ache when she gets stressed. On the night of her sixteenth birthday she gets some major surprises: the police attack her house, her mother’s head is blown apart, her father’s severed head falls into her birthday cake and her right hand turns into a deadly metallic claw. And she discovers that she is not human but a mutant, a Hiruko. Confused and running from the police, she is attacked by townspeople, who she carves up in a number of inventive and interesting ways, until she is found by Kisaragi (Tak Sakaguchi) and Rei (Yuko Takayama). Kisaragi is the leader of the Hiruko and is training a group of mutant girls with the object of taking the world back from the hateful, violent humans who hunt and kill the Hiruko at every opportunity.
In the group Rin meets girls with various mutations: one has a chainsaw protruding from her behind, another has swords extending from her breasts. Rei is hostile and dismissive, especially when she learns that Rin is only half mutant as her mother had been human. However, Rin is befriended by the sweet, smiling, Yoshie (Suzuka Morita) who dresses like a nurse and has her own unique mutant weapons. When Kisaragi orders his mutant girls into action targeting a government official for assassination, Rin is happy to participate in the mayhem. Yet, amid the carnage, Rin is still human enough to refuse to kill defenceless people although Rei has no such qualms. As Kisaragi mutates into a monstrous, grotesque creature, he extends the conflict by ordering terror bombings against the general human population. Rin, Yoshie and Rei must each decide just where their loyalties lie.
Mutant Girls Squad is a combined effort by Japanese gorefest directors Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl (2008), RoboGeisha (2008)), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police (2008), Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)) and Tak Sakaguchi (Samurai Zombie (2008)). All three also contributed in other ways: Iguchi as screenwriter, Nishimura as special effects and make up supervisor and Sakaguchi as an actor. With this amount of talent involved, it is no surprise that the film is funny, bloody, gross and manic, with frequent severed heads and limbs and copious showers of blood that drench everything, including the camera. At one stage a character shelters under an umbrella from the showers of blood: the only surprise is that others don’t. Some of special effects are marvellously inventive, although others are totally grotesque; a deep throat kiss has to be seen to be believed!
Each of the three directors helmed one of the three separate sections of Mutant Girls Squad. Despite the three hands most critics seem to think the film has good cohesion and similar style, and thus holds together well. I am probably in the minority, because I think the last segment, directed by Nishimura, has a different feel. He uses music differently and has a much greater, and more over the top, range of special effects that do seem to get in the way of the character ark and the resolution of the plot (such as it is). In contrast, the first section (directed by Sakaguchi) sets up Rin and her problems beautifully, and the use of unfocused hand-held cameras and frenetic cutting as she goes on her rampage against the human townspeople is effective and well staged.
Mutant Girls Squad is typical of the genre; it has corny dialogue, minimal plot and pedestrian martial arts although some of the performances are good. As Rin Yumi Sugimoto is appealing, but it is Suzuka Morita as Yoshie who, with her sweet smile and deadly tentacles, steals the show. But this is not why people watch this genre and in Mutant Girls Squad Iguchi, Nishimura and Sakaguchi have ramped the blood, gore, severed heads and inventive special effects up to eleven. It is good fun if you just go with the flow.
Mutant Girls Squad is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The IMDb does not give the original ratio, but I suspect it was 1.85:1.
This print cannot really be judged on normal criteria. Many of the sequences are colour graded in post-production to give a specific look, others are deliberately grainy, some are purposely out of focus with frenetic intercutting. Yet, when the camera movement allows the print is sharp with excellent detail; every rain drop or drop of blood is finely detailed. Contrast and brightness vary, but again this is the filming, not the DVD authoring. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, skin tones and colour good. I saw no film to video artefacts and only minor grain.
Lip synchronisation is fine.
The English subtitles are in a yellow font in English English. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors but some translations grated, such as “ we gotta” or “whadda you think” but they may reflect the Japanese dialogue. But even with my limited Japanese I could tell that the subtitles did occasionally truncate the dialogue.
Audio is Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. It is surround encoded and does an excellent job.
Dialogue is clean and centred and right from the start the surrounds are used for effects, such as gunfire and rain, and music giving a good enveloping feel. The fights and explosions work nicely. The subwoofer came into action supporting the music and explosions. It is a while since I have been this impressed by a 2.0 audio!
The music by Kou Nakagawa is over the top at times, yet could also be playful or sad when required. It provided excellent support to the visuals.
|Surround Channel Use|
A humorous short film that tells why Yoshie wears a nurse’s uniform and why Kisaragi has white face make-up. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps, the film has all the same people who were involved in the main feature: it was directed by Noboru Iguchi, special effects make-up by Yoshihiro Nishimura and stars Tak Sakaguchi as Kisaragi and Suzuka Morita as Yoshie. Music is by Kou Nakagawa. Amusing and entertaining.
Trailers for other films from Madman. Included is Reign of Assassins (1:44), Chanbara Beauty, (2:21)Alien vs. Ninja (3:15) and Big Tits Zombie (1:38).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 2 Japanese release includes the same spin-off short film, but adds a directors’ commentary, cast and crew interviews, directors’ interviews, a “making of”and promotional materials, but as far as I can tell it lacks English subtitles for the feature and extras. The Region 1 US version has no extras. Region 4 is fine for English speakers.
Mutant Girls Squad is funny, bloody, gross and manic, with frequent severed heads and copious showers of blood that drench everything, including the camera. What else could you expect from Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura and Tak Sakaguchi?
The video is good, the audio excellent. The short film is the main extra, plus trailers.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|