There's something appropriately ridiculous about a Japanese woman in a schoolgirl uniform violently blowing away bad guys with her left arm -- which is now a machine gun. This is the whole premise of The Machine Girl -- Remix, a hyper-violent and stylized action movie.

Ami Hyuga (Minase Yashiro) is a happy college student. She lives alone with her brother Yu (Ryosuke Kawamura) after their parents were framed for murder and committed suicide. Yu gets mixed up with Sho Kimura (Nobuhiro Nishihara), sadistic son of former ninja and current yakuza leader Ryuji Kimura (Kentaro Shimazo) and his evil wife Violet (Honoka). Before you know it Yu and a friend are killed, and when Ami goes for revenge she's captured and her left arm is cut off.

But wait -- there's more! Ami escapes and winds up at the home of Miki (Asami) and Suguru (Yuya Ishikawa), parents of Yu's friend that was murdered. They also want revenge; and as mechanics, they naturally build a gatling gun-type machine gun to replace Ami's left arm. And Miki is a kick-ass martial artist as well.

The Machine Girl -- Remix proves that a movie can be completely violent and silly at the same time. There are innumerable scenes involving sadism, severed limbs, blood spurting, and very bizarre exotic weaponry. But it's all handled so goofily that this movie, much like Ichi the Killer, transcends violence and goes into the realm of comedy. It's hard to take a killer bra, or parents of killed children acting like ninjas in football costumes, all that seriously. (A dvd extra has a "spin off" in which several characters who were killed off are miraculously back -- and the machine gun is now in an... awkward place. It's even sillier than the main feature.)

Is The Machine Girl -- Remix entertaining? To a point. This movie may both revel in and parody the excesses of Japanese martial arts and violence, but after a while it feels as gratituous as what they're parodying. (And the "spin off" is pure comedy -- I hope.) If you have a strong stomach and a sense of humor, and want to see just how far Japanese "shock cinema" can go, then The Machine Girl -- Remix is worth checking out.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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