Rise Of The Machine Girls (Japan 2019)

Rating: *
Alternate Title: Burst Machine Girl
Review Date: 2/26/21
Cast: Himena Tsukimiya, Kanon Hanakage, Tak Sakaguchi

Ami (Himena Tsukimiya) and Yoshie (Kanon Hanakage) are sisters who live in a ghetto and work as performers in a freak show. Yoshie is missing her right forearm, which she attaches various weapons to, including a machine gun and katana. She leads a band of rebel soldiers against an organ harvesting company called Dharma, which is led by an insane and power-mad woman who has an invalid son. After defeating Dharma's latest living sex weapons, Yoshie is captured and transformed into a brainwashed battle cyborg. Ami goes to Dharma to beg for Yoshie's life, and ends up losing her arm in the process. As a result, she swears vengeance and attaches her own weapon arsenal to her severed limb with gunslinger Tak Sakaguchi's help. Together, the two of them storm Dharma's headquarters and kill everyone in sight, which builds to a dramatic showdown between Ami and Yoshie.

It's an extremely nasty and unpleasant film that bears nothing in common with the original "The Machine Girl" (2007), except that the lead character is a schoolgirl with a machine gun for an arm. It's an unattractive low budget outing and the visual effects are terrible. The director was obviously aiming for shock value over quality, and there's plenty of that. The very first scene in the movie features two naked catatonic women in bondage, and within minutes their breasts are hacked off with a sword in front of a live audience. Other surprises include a female assassin that has drills that come out of her breasts, and another assassin that uses inflatable breasts as a defense shield. A rival female gunslinger shows up later on to challenge Tak Sakaguchi's "Ghidrah" technique, and her surprise is a mutant gunslinger growing out of her abdomen.

The cast is largely made up of people with physical deformities and disabilities, which makes it awkward and uncomfortable to watch. On the one hand, it's great to see them getting work, but it also feels like exploitation. Regardless, I felt bad for letting it bother me. The action scenes aren't very good, but both Himena Tsukimiya and Kanon Hanakage pull off some impressive stunts and martial arts moves. The single most impressive scene comes right at the end when Himena Tsukimiya and Tak Sakaguchi attack Dharma, which is one continuous shot that includes dozens of foes. Unfortunately, it's overly campy and they speed up the playback to the point of adsurdity, which diminishes Himena's impressively aggressive performance. Sadly, the best part of the movie is the playful music number that plays during the closing credits where Himena Tsukimiya and Kanon Hanakage dance and sing while wearing schoolgirl uniforms. When the movie first came out, I was surprised it didn't get a US release, but after watching it I understand why. It's really bad and not worth wasting time on.