Planet Terror
Director: Noboru Iguchi

Director: Robert Rodrigues

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Machine Girl Amped up cartoonish gory violence & young not-especially-talented actors are headed up by Minase Yashiro as The Machine Girl (Kataude mashin garu, 2008), the one-armed teenage assault heroine.

With gattling-gun attached to her left arm-stump, & a sickle in her right, Ami shoots off the heads of her teen enemies, stopping only long enough to talk trash.

In flashbacks we get the story of her transformation from ordinary schoolgirl to psycho avenger.

That back story is too dumb for words. And in order for her behavior to be justified as heroic, the villains have to be retardo-comix times ten. They're the sorts who will chop off a sushi chef's fingers then make him eat them in his own sushi.

Perhaps the "best" scene is when Ami fights the Girl with the Rotary Breasts (played by one-name porn star "Asami"), who drills into Machine Girl's boobs by hugging her. It's much more about the erotification of teenage children, in a maiming context, than it is pulp fiction.

Machine GirlThe script comes off as the writings of a never particularly gifted thirteen year old who never quite learned to read, so hasn't a clue how to write fiction, but is pretty decent at playing video games.

That the film is deranged is in its favor. Nauseating & offensive, that too can be good.

But the writer-director of this bad, bad, bad movie seems quite clearly to have a limb-severing fetish, the symbolic erotification of castration being additionally associated in this case with underaged kids.

Therefore unless it really was written by a marginally talented thirteen year old, then there's definitely a borderline-pedarastic disposition to the film.

Machine GirlWith the hokiest of ninjas thrown in for good measure, the appeal this laughable film could have for kids too young to see it legally would be quite natural; it's taboo & it's about them.

Unfortunately, it's target-audience is grown men, either the sorts who wouldn't be safe to have babysitting your kids, or perhaps more innocently emotionally stunted gore fans who don't care about context so long as it's got lots of fleshy bits & cherry syrup flying about.

So if you're a complete perv for tweens or just get the giggles from stupid cartoon-like gore, & pretty sure you're in the mood for something truly ridiculous, this could be for you.

As for me, even with my own immature fondness for crap, & my delight in deadly heroines, this example was a little too crappy.

Planet Terror If everything about Machine Girl sounded great except its child-porn associations, then I highly recommend the much more adult goofy-gore-fest Planet Terror (2007), which attaches the machinegun to a leg-stump rather than arm-stump, uses a sexy adult actress for its sundry fetishisms, & fires off over-the-top in every scene.

Plus it has just the right amount of angst thrown in, for a thin veneer of seriousness, not so much as to spoil the vicioiusness of the comedy.

Robert Rodrigues's gore-fetish film was initially distributed to theaters as part of a double-bill with Quentin Tarrantino's Death Proof (2007). The theatrical release was as a double-feature distributed originally under the overall title Grindhouse.

Together these two films were intended to recreate the era of inner city "grindhouse" movies (which were also hick rural drive-in movies) that always included short subjects, snackbar ads, trailers, besides the seedy double-features that changed every Wednesday.

Planet Terror therefore starts off with an ad for the Mexploitation film Machete (2007), a short subject pretending to be a trailer, & starring pure-delight Danny Trejo.

Planet TerrorMachete is possibly the best bad film never actually made. This faux trailer is given the scratched & broken-film treatment, as grindhouses always had worn-out film equipment that all but shredded their film prints.

Alas, this affectation of an earlier era didn't go over in the theatrical release all that well, perhaps because the main audience for cinema houses today aren't nearly old enough to remember the days of the sticky grindhouses & run-down drive-ins.

But I'm sure the films will do eternal business as separate entities for home viewing whether on dvd, cabel, net downloads, & whatever formats the future may bring, as these are top-flight in the exploitation department.

GoGo dancer Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan, you gorgeous demon you) wants a total change in her life, so quits at the GoGoGo Bar & sets off on foot for whatever life may bring.

Meanwhile at a nearby run-down only seemingly abandoned military base, a psycho, Abby (Naveen Andrews), is creating a nutty army of zombies.

Planet TerrorThe gross little town is soon erupting in zombie boils & extreme violence. Cherry gets her leg chomped off by zombies, but is inexplicably uneffected by the virulent bug that causes zombie transformation.

Violent crazy cops, violent crazy doctors, violent crazy soldiers (headed up by Bruce Willis), zombies with exploding boils, & a roadside chile cook, stride through the film as in a burlesque of blood. It's one mighty zombie-shoot, one of the best ever concocted by cinematic outlaws.

El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), Cherry's once & future boyfriend, is an impressive soldier. He saves one-legged Cherry during the ultra zombie war, helps her get fitted for her machinegun prosthetic, & gives her campy buck-up advice as he's always believed in her capacity to be a crazed butt-kicking woman warrior.

We're prepared in advance, quite amusingly, to see the "rational" basis of all the many skills she's acquired over time as a GoGo dancer, abilities which put together slightly differently makes her an undefeatable fighting beast.

Planet TerrorWondrous scenes of tragedy & blackest comedy abound. Planet Terror really is everything a sleezy action exploitation film ought to be, pitched to the lowest common denominator but with such gruesome beauty & finesse you gotta love it.

This is one of the best-ever girl-with-gun films, one of the best-ever zombie films, one of the best-ever gore flicks, & one of the best-ever all-round action thrillers. Planet Terror is the bomb, is hot, hot, hot, is cray-zee bay-bee.

As an aside, there are several continuity errors in Planet Terror which are amusing moments that probably won't be oticed until a second viewing. They were of course intentional, in homage to the cheap films of the grindhouse era. In its theatrical release there were even a series of lobbycards emulating those issued in the '70s or early '80s, & they were already worn out fresh off the press.

And so, given the level of charmign fakery in creating & promoting both Planet Terror & Death Proof, I wonder if the directors or promoters also intentionally got Machete listed at as a film in progress, rather than as a short subject "trailer" for a pretend movie. It was either listed as a in production as a minor jest, or someone at imdb was truly gullible.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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