This is nothing new. Troma has focused on this audience for decades. But in recent years; particularly in light of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse collaboration; things have taken a turn for the silly. More influenced by splatter comedies like Evil Dead II and Bad Taste than the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, Machine Girl appeals to the basest desires of fans of cult cinema. It’s loud, ridiculous, and incredibly excessively violent.
It should be noted that Machine Girl was at least partially financed and distributed by Tokyo Shock, and was obviously designed to capture the audience that enjoys the films released through that label such as the early films of Takeshi Miike and The Story Of Ricky (Machine Girl’s closest cousin in terms of content and style).
The acting is a mixed bag, but generally quite good. Minase Yashiro acquits herself admirably in her first film role, and she’s required to act fairly straight compared to the over-the-top madness of the Yakuza baddies. Porn Star Asami (as the mother of Yu’s friend) is particularly impressive, and seems to revel in the excess on display.
The film has surprisingly few extras, though a ten minute behind-the-scenes featurette is a lot of fun and shows the significant amount of work the (often inexperienced) actors and actresses had to put into the production. We’re also treated to trailers for The Machine Girl, the Shaw Brother’s classic Heroes Two, Death Trance, Zebraman, and the Lone Wolf & Cub television series.
A flawed exercise in cultish excess, Machine Girl will delight fans of gory classics like Braindead, but too often is let down by it’s limited budget and meager story. Still, a perfect party film to be paired with The Story Of Ricky.