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on May 26, 2012
A Nice Ham ala Chain-Saw - review: Mutant Girls Squad (2010)
Tak Sakaguchi (Director), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Director)

Where does one begin with the DVD release of this film called "Mutant Girls Squad"?

It isn't right to call it an exploitation-film like an LSD teenage sin and violence movie of the US in the 1960s, or gore-pornography like the slasher films the United States of the 1980s. In many ways it has a kind of demented glee rooted in a postmodern, cusp of the Apocalypse, Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol.

And it is very, very Japanese.

All I can say is the sexual repression underlying the polite conformity of Japanese culture with its tea-ceremony, origami, paper palaces and yellow, green, and red lines painted on the hallway floors of schools for students to follow from class to class with expensive enrichment tutors hired by anxious parents for their kindergartners must be a thin crust built on an emotional volcano on the verge of a detonation that could pop another moon from the Pacific into the Earth's orbit!

What is it about teenage middle and high school girls in sailor suits that so intimidates and sexually terrorizes the adult males of Japan? How is it these perfect porcelain little creatures are considered the martial-arts equals of the Avengers, Bruce Lee and the entire sword wielding career of the 7 Samurai?

The story is simple. A little halfbreed girl whose father is a mutant and her mother is a saint watches her parents machine-gunned by the Japanese equivalent of a S&M Homeland Security SWAT team. They capture her to torture her in the name of science but she is rescued by a gang of renegade teenage sailor suit wearing mutant girls. They train her to be one of them. And what are they? The one girl sprouts samurai swords from her breasts. Another has a long tongue that can go in any orifice and pop out the other humorously. And my favorite is a cute chubby girl who bends over grabs her knees, squints, grunts, and poots a chain-saw out of her butt!

Oh there is other business about a transvestite mother superior of this little gang and a "Lovecraft's Reanimator" heap of confusing guts and David Cronenberg style biological weirdness DEITY. And of course there is endless scenes of battles in which people's heads are sliced in 3 places so the different segments rotate like a Rubik's cube before popping off to a spray of blood that has Old Faithful proportions.

And there is of course all the girl-politics and infighting of the mutant girls amongst themselves. And the style of action is a combination of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "2000 Maniacs", "Blood Feast" and a meth-amphetamine bondage-magazine CosPlay (costume) enhanced Mutant Ninja Turtles action.

It is all a kind of hyper DADA global live-action cartoon mythology of biological and industrial technical mutant anarchy. For all its cartoon-like jaw-dropping series of wildly envisioned surreal violence, I suspect it is a kind of joyful poking of humorous social criticism at the Establishment.

I can't say that it is a good movie, but it is the 1st of these movies that made me think there was some kind of political and artistic aesthetic movement out there Japan to which this speaks, like the raw Punk Rock that came out of the hopelessness of British industrial cities in the early 1980s. Or maybe it is simply something that appeals like the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" to some segment of the 20 something generation in Japan.

It wasn't made for me. I am not going to collect these movies and lecture people about the intellectual importance of all this at cocktail parties. But you know, seeing that cute little chubby girl bend over, grab her knees, squint, and squirt a raging chainsaw out of her butt made me smile.

Review by Leo Rivers, Saturday, May 26, 2012 5:30:00 PM
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You learn something new every day. For example, I'd heard that the Japanese were in the midst of their own `splatter movement,' but I've specifically avoided the films for awhile. Oh, it isn't that I don't appreciate a good splatter; truth is, I probably appreciate one as much as the next. I think the drawback with a good splatter movie is that its success or failure with a audience largely depends on the mood of that crowd: you have to WANT to experience a good splatter movie, not simply discover one all on its own merits. When you do that, you're as likely to turn one off as you are to finish, and that may not bode well for MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD.

This `splatter' is a bit of a disaster, which it's clearly intended to be. Don't go into it looking for any of it to make any real sense, and you're liable to be modestly entertained, much in the same way that you can't turn away from watching an automobile accident happening right before your eyes. It's glorious mayhem - all for the sake of pure nihilism - and I've no doubt the crowd who embraces these pictures will find plenty to embrace here ... even if that's only embracing the lovely ladies at the center of this cinematic catastrophe.

Rin (played by the doe-eyed Yumi Sugimoto) turns sixteen, but her `sweet sixteen' is interrupted by forces of Japanese defense showing up and taking her into custody. Why? Because she's a Hiruko, i.e. a mutant - only one of many being held secretly against their will - and she's a danger to all mankind ... until, that is, she can master the use of her specific mutant abilities. Her specific abilities? Well, she sprouts an arm that's part-claw, part-sitar (or something) which can be used as a lethal weapon. Into the mix, she's joined by Yoshie (part-cosplay-nurse, part-squid) and Rei (part-stone-claw, part-bird?) and a whole host of others, including one extremely unfortunate Hiruko whose mutation consists of a chainsaw which sprouts out of her hindquarters, and they're in for one wild ride to overthrow Defense Minister Koshimizu (Naoto Takenaka) before he takes control of the world!

In all seriousness, there are so many elements of MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD that average folks are going to find offensive or insulting or degrading or ignorant or off-putting or outright ridiculous that I questioned whether or not I could honestly complete this review. I knew one thing: I couldn't do it with a straight face, and that's mostly how I endured the picture. Without a straight face. I didn't take any of it seriously, and I kept reminding myself that - while so much of the film wasn't up to my particular tastes in film - it really was so very much like that aforementioned auto accident: it's so very hard to look away. As much as it didn't made sense, I realized that - in its own humble yet creative way - it made perfect sense because it fit wonderfully into the bizarre world created by the three minds who already are at the forefront of the Japanese splatter movement: Noboru Iguchi (THE MACHINE GIRL), Yoshihiro Nishimura (TOKYO GORE POLICE) and Tak Sakaguchi (YOROI: SAMURAI ZOMBIE).

These three minds joined forces and made precisely the picture they wanted to make: pure splatterific dreck, but benign splatterific dreck, and it's a picture that's liable to be embraced by the very audience they intended: splatter fans.

If you have no idea of what a legitimate splatter film is, then you're liable to be lost (or insulted, or degraded, or any of the other adjectives cited above). You would do well to do a little research first before venturing into these bruised and bloodied waters. If you do know, then you're likely going to rent or purchase this despite anything I say ... and I'll leave you to it, only pausing briefly to wish you, "God speed!"

The film comes from Sushi Typhoon, and it is distributed stateside by Well Go USA. It looks and sounds as solid as you'd expect any splatter film to look and sound, and it's very clear great attention went into scene composition here. It's photographed much like the pages of an anime book - probably in keeping with its audiences desire - and the effects are only as convincing as they need be. The disc includes an Opening Day featurette, interviews with the creative personnel, a very brief `making of' special, and trailers for other related pictures. There's also a short movie spinoff titled "Yoshie Zero," but I didn't partake of it; I can only stomach so much splatter in my film diet.

RECOMMENDED ONLY AS A GUILTY PLEASURE as I'm sure an audience may very well find MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD as one of their closeted favorites - a cult movie, at best, and what harm is there in having another cult classic loose on mankind? I give it two-and-one-half stars, not for quality, but for the obvious love and the wish for global harmony with which the film was made.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Well Go USA provided me with a DVD screener copy of MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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on June 5, 2013
Basically the movie has 3 directors and split into 3 episodes.

episode 1 - about Rin (Yumi Sugimoto), who learns her true identity as a hiruko (mutant clan) girl.
episode 2 - Rin joins the mutant clan and learns to unleash her powers
episode 3 - Yoshie (Suzuka Morita) joins Rin and convinced Rei (Yuko Takayama) to fight back against the clan to help the innocent people instead of killing them.

Bonus short movie about Yoshie (Suzuka Morita) who learns she's a Hiruko.

in each episode there are some bizarre killing scenes with shooting blood and decapitations and all sorts of dismemberments of all types. The whole movie is done in a comedic way, so even with all the violence you can't help but laugh at some of the scenes. Just hilarious and the ending theme done by the Noodles (Japanese girl band) somehow fits the movie well, call Mellow Metallica. Overall, I give it a just watch it score. I think you'd like it.
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on November 25, 2012
"Mutant Girls Squad" is an entry into the Japanese subgenre of inexpensive, campy, and incredibly gory B-movies that gained widespread interest with The Machine Girl (I'll bet there's a shorter term for it, but dang if I know what it is). This flick's apparently among the more obscure ones, but jeez, you'd think that any other movie would have to make a tremendous effort to be campier and bloodier than this one. The tongue-in-cheek, off-the-edge-of-reality approach is the only way such ultraviolence is palatable for me, and in this way, "MGS" is relatively fun...to an extent. The story starts off strong but degenerates into a take-it-or-leave-it thing, and neither the action content nor the special effects sustained themselves for me over time.

The story: on her sixteenth birthday, Rin (Yumi Sugimoto, "Engine Squadron Go-onger") sees her parents killed and discovers that she possesses a deadly power. Intercepted by a group of young girl mutants led by a cross-dressing samurai (Tak Sakaguchi, Versus), Rin is conflicted by the group's intent to wage a hate-fueled war on the society that's antagonized them.

The movie's tone is uneven, but for the most part is relatively goofy. The abilities of the mutant girls are roundly ludicrous (e.g. chainsaw butt, katana breasts - and those are the more sensible ones), characters have slapstick reactions to being sliced and shredded, most of the setups to violence are silly, and there's an utterly delightful cosplay nurse bouncing around with the ability to turn her face into a trunk and her arms into tentacles (Suzuka Morita, "Samurai Squadron Shinkenger"). Initially, this is easy to swallow, but as the story develops a bit more gravity, I wished the outplay would become more character-driven and less reliant on visual spectacle. I didn't think any of the individual characters were particularly interesting on their own despite their abilities, mainly because so few of them have any kind of a backstory. As expected, there are few instances of noteworthy acting.

There's a good deal of action abounding here, but even though martial arts veteran Tak Sakaguchi acts as choreographer, very little of it is genuine hand-to-hand stuff: it's mostly effects-driven mutant battles or mutilations. I love the meaty, slimy makeup and prosthetics used in movies like these, but whether or not rubber tentacles banging against a plastic chainsaw makes for a good fight scene is up to you - it doesn't for me. Computer effects are utilized sometimes, and these look faker than the rubber parts. The finale features Tak in a giant suspended monster suit, and while the battle itself again leaves much to be desired, this image alone was worth the price of the rental.

On my personal squeamishness scale, this one ranked somewhere around the lower middle: again, most of the violence and the reactions are so overblown that it's easy to laugh at, but the climax of Suzuka Morita's two-on-one battle near the end of the flick was a bit much for me (I know, what a wuss). All in all, this clearly wasn't my kind of film to begin with, but as a sheer B-movie, it's got a relentless amount of energy and enthusiasm that ought to make it popular if only more folks could find it. Check it out, if you think it's your kind of thing.
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on June 8, 2012
This movie is so over the top but very fun and entertaining I am so happy i picked it up
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on May 26, 2012
If you love movies like Tokyo Gore Police and Helldriver, you must get this one. I didn't think they could get any more over the top with their body modifications and gore gags, but they did. It even has a story (sort of). I'm not going to spoil any surprises, but if you love films like the above two, you're gonna love this one. So far, it's my favorite of the bunch.
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on March 25, 2013
Yet again Japan unleashes its next manic blood fest!! If you love mad cult Japanese movies like machine girl and robogeisha then this will certainly please, its a crazy story about a group of girls that all have a strange mutation making them special and are forced to stay secret from humans until their leader decides its time to rise up and destroy humanity but one girl half human will stop them!! There is buckets of blood and gore as you expect and a beautiful cast of Japanese schoolgirl mutants, there is some very imaginative imagery and effects both practical and CGI, overall its great fun and theres nothing quite like it so make sure you dont miss out, the bluray is region free for us in the U.K and there are some good features too.
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on June 24, 2012
A very fun movie! For those times when you think you have seen it all... Japan comes up with even more strange character designs. Overall a blast to watch and worth adding to your collection of strange movies.
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on December 15, 2012
Better than Robogeisha, and def. a worthy release after The Machine Girl. Cool writing, simple though comprehensible story, silly-funny, but not ultra bad acting, beauuutiful special effects, creative violence+weaponry, gorgeous main actress, adorable sidekick, (& other babes throughout) and never felt like it dragged on from beginning to end. Will be watching this over n over again. Machine Girl reference early on too! (^ω^)

Watching the extras right now. Quite insightful! This film has 3 directors: Tak, who starred in Versus and is the main antagonist in this movie at the same time, Yoshiro, who directed Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl VS Frankenstein Girl, and was involved in Suicide Club (amongst others), and of course, Noboru, the master of The Machine Girl and Robogeisha.
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on April 24, 2015
Depiction of thoughts hatched deep in a diseased brain. Interesting like a boil -- the entertainment value consists solely in guessing what will ooze out next. No plot, no emotionally accessible characters. Fun lies in guessing what macabre item will next pop out of young Japanese school girls' anatomy. Wait, that chainsaw was where?
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