Posts Tagged ‘Japan

27
May
09

Kataude mashin gâru (2007)

machine_girlI clearly saved the best for last (of the Japanese exploits that I currently have anyway). Machine Girl is crazy fun. And it even has backstory to spare that isn’t needed (unless it’s expanded on in the spin-off short).

This is basically a gore revenge flick with extra lots of blood and gore, used in that charmingly “extreme” way (as opposed to say the ‘brutally exteme’ way of something like horribly draining Marytrs, which I may never watch again unless someone else really gives me a reason).
The British tagline for this movie is “A film so incredibly outrageous it couldn’t possibly exist”.  Way better than “It’s Payback Time!”.

Ami Hyuga (Minase Yashiro) has been raised to believe that violence doesn’t solve problems. That all changes when nothing but it comes at her when she tries to find out who killed her brother. Her brother’s friend was also killed and Ami finds a sidekick in Miki (Asami), who is quite-a-bit-too-young-to-be-the-mother-of-a-teenager (but is probably the most watchable actor of the bunch). They need each other, because it just so happens that a gang run by the son of the local yakuza boss is responsible.

I was disappointed with OneChanbara (see below), but this one pulls out all the stops. This isn’t just an off-the-cuff J-Vid splatter film. Even though it blantantly steals some ideas from Grindhouse and The Evil Dead (which are and have been ripped off completely anyway), the (minimal) plot and pacing actually keep you in the story as the body count piles up. This probably has something to do with the fact that writer-director Noburo Iguchi displays some obvious filmmaking talent. I’ll have to check out some of his other films (if I can get my hands on them), especially his next feature: RoboGeisha. Yoshihiro Nishamura (director of Tokyo Gore Police) is doing the effects for this one, and for his own next feature: Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. A must see for the title alone!

I was trying to find a suitable blood-drenched still to post, but there are too many to choose from. The anticipation of this one will have to do:

machinegirl36Machine Girl trailer here

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25
May
09

OneChanbara (2008)

onechanbara

OneChanbara (2008) is another in a slew of J-Vid exploitation movies that I’ve been watching lately (Tokyo Gore Police, though overly long, is a much higher quality example, benefiting from being produced by Nikkatsu). This one, however, is a lower rent movie adapatation of a series of video games in Japan (soon to be coming to the Wii in the U.S.). Which, I guess, is supposed to give it some sort of pre-existing fan base.

From what I can tell, this game must either be repeatively boring, or the game-to-cinema adaptation just doesn’t do it justice (I’m thinking the latter). The premise sounds awesome: Zombies roam the streets (and countryside) of Tokyo after botched science experiments (a pre-requisite for ANY good Japanese sci-horror, right?) and they eat anything in sight. Some kick-ass idol-type looking girls roam as well; one strapped with a double-barreled handgun that amazingly never has to be reloaded, and the other with a samurai sword that shoots magical beams of light (illustrated like a video-game power-move). The latter of the two girls travels with an overweight comic relief/exposition functioning guy who carries a puny knife and hides in the corner most of the time. The girl (see poster) often sheds her long flowing coat ala Sergio Leone to fight in her leather bikini getup (more like Russ Meyer), which one would assume makes for better flexibility in jumping around and slashing stuff, if not for the weighty feather-boa that hardly ever leaves her neck.
The girls are hunting an evil doctor and an evil sister, respectively.

The problem with this slightly enticing set-up is that it takes nearly an hour of the 85 minute running time to get out of the first night’s abandoned industrial complex (read: cheap set) zombie attack. There is very little plot beyond explaining what motivates these three characters, with fragmented flashbacks straight out of multiple samurai flicks I’ve already seen. It’s basically non-stop cheap CGI fights (complete with computer-generated blood splattering the lens of the digital camera) and some seen-one-seem-them-all zombies in makeup creeping around with a slight J-horror crink in their step.

A few intentional laughs succeed (oh yes, these types of movies are all intentionally campy in case you didn’t “get it”; i.e. the girl’s bicep tattoo is shown rather prominently to be an iron-on that is peeling off in one or two scenes). Most notable is that the fight choreography is definitely above-averagely awesome. Other than that, there’s really no reason to watch this above plenty of other choices out there.
It should be noted, for fans of the genre, that there is only one (like 20 second) pre-zombie sex scene with disposable characters that hardly matters (there’s a spin-off I can point you to, if that’s what you’re after); Half a boob is shown. Since I don’t have a rating system set up (yet), that’s what I’ll give this movie: half a boob.

I don’t know what this will be called when/if it hits the U.S. (the German title is lame, non-descript “Zombie Killer”). I watched the Japanese DVD, so it’s called OneChambara, or Chambara Beauty, or Bikini Samurai Slayers (all after the  video game series). As the paranthetical link reveals, the actual title is a clever mash of the words ‘big sister’ and ‘sword fighting’). Chanbara/Chambara is also the genre-film designation given to samurai sword movies, in case you care.
I guess this is one that you file under “so bad, it’s good, but bad on purpose, so it’s not really that good”.

onechanbara_long1

If you’re still interested, the trailer is here.
And oh, lordy, there’s a sequel already. Do I watch or not?




featured Short film (9 min)

Blue Shining (Richard Vezina, 2015)

great scene from a great film

Sullivan's Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)

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