May 31, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Mutant Girls Squad

At the moment no one does splatter quite like the Japanese. They have taken the early works of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson and gone to the next level. They have filtered the splatter genre through the organic body horror of David Cronenberg and Shin'ya Tsukamoto. The end result has been a series of some of the bloodiest, over the top, and inventive gore films to ever be filmed. With Mutant Girls Squad, the genre has found a way to yet again top itself.

Over the past decade these movies have come out fast and furious, a building crescendo of blood, body parts, and school girls. Just look at films like The Machine Girl, Meatball Machine, Robogeisha, Fankenstein Girl vs Vampire Girl, and Helldriver and you will see what I mean. Now we have Mutant Girls Squad, a movie that seems to step up the story quotient (albeit not by much) while not skimping on the blood and the bizarre.

At the center of the movie is bullied teen Rin (Yumi Sugimoto). We see her as she is picked on by her fellow classmates and it is pretty clear that she is not very happy with it, but she manages to deal with it. However, things in her life are about to take a drastic change. As she is about to turn 16, her parents have some important revelations for her. It turns out she is half alien, her father is a member of a species called the HILKO. This fact means that as she turns sweet 16 she will exhibit mutant abilities. The story is essentially a coming of age tale as she deals with the appearance of these new abilities and the problems that they bring.

Well, no sooner has the revelation been made that Rin becomes a target of some bad guys with guns on their noses (no joke). Shortly thereafter she is found by Kisaragi (Tak Sakaguchi). He is the lead of a HILKO group who are at war with humans who wish to exterminate the aliens. So, Rin joins with a couple of other mutant girls, Rei (Yuko Takayama) and Yoshie (Suzuka Morita), to battle the humans.

Their first mission is to assassinate a general. The mission does not go quite as planned and Rei realizes something about the group that does to sit well with her. She begins to rethink her place within this organization and if she really wants o be a part of it. This leads to a big battle with lots of blood and some crazy mutant abilities.

I am sure there is more to this movie and others of the genre, but I have found I just really enjoy the sheer insanity of the action on the screen. I generally don't want to think about any subtext or deep meaning. I just want to watch limbs getting severed, high pressure blood blasts, and just whatever weird stuff they can think to throw up on the screen.

This splatterific film was the handiwork of three directors: Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl, Robogeisha), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl), and Tak Sakagachi (Yakuza Weapon, star of Versus). Each man handling one third of the film, which is broken into three chapters. I cannot say I saw a big difference in directorial style, but everything flows together nicely. These guys know how to deliver the goods when they need to be crazy and bloody.

Audio/Video. The video is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 and appears to have been shot on HD video. The look is very sharp, yet often lacks fine detail. I suspect his lack of detail is due to post production video processing, some scenes are bathed in blue, others in yellow. It all looks pretty good despite the lack of fine detail, made up for with some very vivid colors. Everything does appear sharp and smooth, it has an almost otherworldly feel, which seems appropriate considering the oddness of what is in the movie.

The audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It is a busy track that is firing on all cylinders almost all the time. There are crazy sound effects, J-pop music, and other noises to assault the senses in time with the crazy visuals. I sounds really good and despite the craziness, the dialog is still nice and clear.

  • Opening Day. This takes a look at the festivities of opening day. There are cast introductions and fan questions. 
  • Interviews. A series of interviews with the three main actresses and the trio of directors. They discuss the making of the film and their characters.
  • Making Of. This starts with some behind the scenes footage before transitioning to interviews and clips.
  • Spin Off Short "Yoshie Zero." This short gives the origin of Yoshie, the cosplay girl in the nurse outfit, as well as some more background for Kisaragi.
Bottomline. What can I say? I love this stuff. It is bloody, goofy, and just plain crazy. It is not realistic in the less but it is certainly a lot of fun. These guys are doing stuff. O one else is doing and I really hope the keep it up. Mutant Girls Squad is zany, bloody fun. How many other movies can you name with characters that have swords come out of their breasts or a chainsaw out of a rear end?


Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Mutant Girls Squad on Blogcritics.


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