Movie Review: The Machine Girl

When the trailer for The Machine Girl hit last year, I got an email from a friend of mine almost immediately telling me that it was something I needed to see. Then I got an email from an ISB reader along the same lines.

Then I got another. Then a comment. Then another email.

Then the trailer got on Attack of the Show, and I got more emails, each one telling me that while this I’d probably heard of it already, they couldn’t let this one slide without making sure I was aware that there was a movie coming out that combined Japanese Schoolgirls, Machine-Gun Arms, the Flying Guilloutine, and Ninjas dressed in Adidas jumpsuits.

Putting what that says about my somewhat dubious reputation in Asian Cinema aside for the moment, I’m happy to report that Machine Girl finally arrived this week from Amazon…



…and it is crazy awesome.

Long-time ISB readers might recall that while I have a general distaste for What If stories, there are a couple of premises–like What If Conan Was The Mack and What If Sgt. Fury Fought World War II In Space–that hook me. And as it turns out, “What If The Punisher Was A One-Armed Japanese Schoolgirl Who Went On a Blood-Soaked Rampage of Vengeance” is also a good one.

Unless you’re talking about the Mangaverse Punisher, I mean, because man. That thing is dire.

Anyway, back to Machine Girl: It’s not just one of the most mind-shatteringly bloody action movies I’ve ever seen, it’s also one of the most educational! So let’s get to it:



The movie opens with a kid being bullied into playing William Tell by a gang of older students, who while away the afternoon throwing knives at the apple on his head until a be-sailor-suited young lady shows up and orders them to knock it off. This is Ami Hyuga (played by Minsae Yashiro in her first acting role), and as it turns out, her brother was bullied to death by these same students.

Jimmy Hopkins remains unavailable for comment.

What follows is an opening sequence that I’m pretty sure is exactly what Louis Le Prince had in mind when he invented the motion picture camera in 1888: The lead nogoodnik pulls a knife on her, but Ami whips out a kama, jumps ten feet in the air, and cuts his freakin’ hand off



…then tells him to stop crying and man up. After all, she’s lost an arm, too, and she does just fine. Though to be fair, that’s mostly because she replaced it with a Gatling gun. Thus, Ami expends more rounds than were fired in the entire works of Mickey Spillaine, and we learn tonight’s first lesson:


Lesson #1: Playing with knives is all fun and games until someone shows up to shoot you in the face eighty-nine times.


Once that’s dealt with, cut to flashback to show how Ami got to this lowwwwwly state. See, once, she was a normal high school girl, complete with the standard-issue lesbian best friend. Sadly, tragedy strikes before we can get down to any good ol’ fashioned yuri action, and–as previously mentioned–Ami’s brother Yu and his best friend Takeshi are murdered by…



Sho Kimura, the tough-guy heir to a line of–I kid you not–Hattori Hanzo Yakuza Ninjas led by his parents, Wolverine and the Pin-Up Girl:



After her brother’s death, Ami is… inconsolable, and when she finds a diary listing his tormentors, she sets off to accuse one of them. Unfortunately, she does this first thing in the morning, and the kid’s parents respond by attacking Ami with a golf club and then deep-frying her arm.




Lesson #2: In Japanese culture, accusing someone of murder over breakfast is a major social faux pas, and often results in tempura.


And that’s just the beginning of the trouble with Ami’s left arm, as her next move is to make a direct assault on the Kimura household, which ends with her arm being chopped off at Mrs. Kimura’s request. Fortunately, she’s able to choke out a henchman with her thighs–like a much more alluring Riggs from Lethal Weapon–and make her escape, stumbling around the city following visions of her brother that will lead her to the edge she needs to take on the Yakuza Ninjas.


Lesson #3: Massive, untreated blood loss is really no big deal, probably because the human body contains around eight gallons of blood stored under high pressure.


Said edge comes from Takeshi’s parents, Suguru and Miki< who are similarly bereaved by the loss of their son. They also happen to be mechanics who used to be in a biker gang and have advanced training in combat medicine, which comes in handy for the recently unarmed Ami. Also beneficial: Suguru is an expert at creating weapons that can be attached via stump, and Miki, true to her name, is so fine she blows my mind:



Lesson 4: Tired: MILFs. Wired: JMILFs.


Initially, Miki blames Ami for her son’s death, but after they settle their differences by arm wrestling–really–Miki decides that it’s time for all good men to come to the aid of the party and sets about hooking Ami up with a montage while her husband gets to making her a new hand… from steel.



Whoops, sorry. Wrong blood-soaked action movie replacement hand.

Anyway, this is about where the movie starts to get crazy. Before Suguru can finish Ami’s machine gun, the garage is attacked by a trio of ninjas wearing red Adidas track suits…



…known as the Junior High Shuriken Gang. He manages to finish up the replacement arm, but only just before he’s neatly quartered by a hail of shuriken, which leads Ami to give us futher instruction. Here comes the science:


Lesson #5: It is possible to shoot a man with a machine gun in such a way that it strips all the skin from his bones without breaking them.


You don’t have to believe me, people: That’s physics.

Anyway, Miki and Ami capture one of the Kimuras’ thugs and, after a scene where we learn that it’s possible to have thirteen nails driven into your face and come through none the worse for wear, find out where they’re hiding and head off to the final confrontation.

Now this part really has to be seen to be believed, and honestly, I don’t want to ruin it for anybody. I will, however, note that it involves:



A team of Grieving Parent/Super-Villains



Bisection via Chainsaw



A Master of the Flying Guillotine


And of course…



Mrs. Kimura’s Drill Bra


Eventually of course, good (well, goodish) wins out over Evil, revenge is gotten, and while the end of the movie offers an uplifting message of hope that wraps things up nicely, I’ve got to say: This could be the start of the next great movie franchise, and I know exactly where to go with it next.

I mean, really: Ami’s a stone-cold one-armed killer at this point, but she’s still a high school student, and when high school students get out of line, there’s only one girl they can send. I think you know what I’m getting at here, folks:

Machine Girl vs. Yo-Yo Girl Cop!

And seriously: Guitar Wolf’s gotta do the soundtrack.

29 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Machine Girl

  1. I saw this on the shelf at Wal-Mart this week, and thought “didn’t Chris Sims blog about this once?” That’s right, the awesomeness of this post is so great that it sent shockwaves throughout the timestream.

    I want to see this movie so bad now it’s not even funny.

  2. I love these movie recap/review posts. Well, I love the site in general, but there’s something special about these, and you started my day -nay, my week- off perfectly.


  3. My girlfriend picked this up for me at Best Buy yesterday – without me even needing to have spoken about it! Truly, I have found a winner.

  4. Machine girl VS Yo Yo girl cop AND guitar wolf doing the soundtrack? daaamn.

    The only thing that could make that better would be a cameo from Riki-oh from the story of ricky, and then i think worldwide cinema would implode under the weight of the combined awesome.

  5. I actually watched this with my sister. We marveled at Sho Kimura and his father’s penchant for really ugly faux leopard coats. Not manly enough for real leopard coats. Mrs. Kimura’s death scene made me really happy that I wasn’t epileptic. I wish Junior High Ninja was an elective in Middle School. Sadness.

  6. Chris, have you seen the new cell-phone ad with the society of supervillains?

    It has amazingly low roaming charges AND a shark wearing a bipedal robotic suit.

  7. Just on Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf died in 2005 a week or so before they were due to comence the Australia leg of a tour, at the Tote Hotel in Collingwood, Melbourne. (I had tickets). The band cancelled the leg, although the support acts ended up playing anyway, with Japanese-Australian guitar punk band, Mach Pelican, doing an awsome job filling the top spot (check em out). Anyways, with new bass player UG, Guitar Wolf came back to australia within six months to complete their tour. Because they care about rock’n’roll.

    Id found out about Guitar Wolf a few years earlier from my girlfriend at the time. And hell yeah Ive since married her.

  8. You should know that thanks to you, this movie and Yo Yo Girl Cop are at the top of my Netflix queue.

    Also thanks to you I bought that Omac Omnibus, and I am *now freaking out*!

  9. I so can’t wait to see this movie. I told my boyfriend he couldn’t see it without me.

    I love your movie idea. Guitar Wolf is awesome, everyone should see Wild Zero!!

  10. I work at a video store so I got to see this last week. IT IS SUPER FANTASTIC AWESOME TO THE MAX. I can’t stop talking about this movie, probably because it’s the first time my very THOUGHTS have been turned into images that everyone else can see.

    Also, living in NYC, I get the privilege of attending the NY Asian Film Fest, where such gems like Chanbara Beauty and Tokyo Gore Police will be shown on brilliant celluloid. I recommend you look a couple of those movies up, Chris.

  11. I laughed, I cried, I fraeaked out.

    “…a scene where we learn that it’s possible to have thirteen nails driven into your face and come through none the worse for wear…”

    And which also features the best line of the movie. The evil greaser Abe Lincoln gangster’s first reaction upon having a nail driven into his forehead is: “What the hell?”

    What the hell indeed, friend.

  12. Fraeaked out, colloq. (free.k’d owt)

    A state of freak-out so epic it can only be described using Greek lettering.

    cf. The Aeneid, The Faerie Queen, The Aevil Dead trilogy

  13. I watched this film last night and found it quite amusing however I was struck by one point.
    The film is a gore-fest make no mistake but then why did the director not shoot the two lads falling to their death at the start instead giving us a cut away scene.

    Just seemed odd to me that among all the ultra violence this scene was missing/not filmed ?

    Anyway tokyo gore police , count me in !

  14. I… What does “Super Mourner” have to do with football…? That’s even crazier than the Total Eclipse of the Heart music video a friend showed me (because we all think of ninjas when we think of Bonnie Taylor). Freaking Out now.

  15. Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first cult film hit of the 21st Century. Everyone wanted SNAKES ON A PLANE to be that film, but it wasn’t.

    I can only hope someone brings the film to a theater in Chicago.I read it’s doing really well at the few film screenings it’s played at here in the states.