tisdag 31 juli 2012

Meatball machine (2005)

Alien parasites taking over human bodies, turning them into biomechanical combat machines whose only object is to maim and destroy. Sounds wonderful, like Tetsuo in color. How can you fail with such a concept?

The protagonist is a young Japanese man who befitting his lack of social skills also works in a grimy factory, a job that he pretty much hates. The only positive thing in his life is lunch break where he sits outside the factory and watches a young woman hanging laundry across the filthy river. He is in love but does not have the courage to tell her. While going home from work he overhears a colleague bragging that he is going to nail that very love object so our hero gets even more depressed and goes to an adult cinema. To make his day even better he is abused and beaten by a transvestite who drops him in a pile of garbage after kicking the living daylights out of him. While picking up the pieces of himself from the gutter he finds a mysterious object, something that looks alive yet made out of metal and he promptly takes it home. On the next day he happens upon his colleague trying to rape his object of desire and actually manages to muster up enough courage to interrupt the act, though not before getting beaten to a pulp again. The young lady helps him home and reveals that she too is in love with him, having seen him looking at her for some time. In a normal movie this would mean moments of joy for our two lovebirds but not in Meatball machine as the mysterious object decides to wake up, attacking the woman and turning her into a Nekroborg - a scrumptious looking biomechanical war machine. The young man survives this ordeal but wakes up somewhere else, in the apartment of a mysterious man who seems to know a little too much about these creatures. You know where this is going. The poor schmuck is soon infected and the battle between the two lovebirds begins.

All of this sounds wonderful and for the most part really is. Meatball machine obviously didnt have a very high budget but this is compensated with what I can only call ingenuity. The special effects are excellent where we are treated not only to the exquisitely designed Nekroborg but also with large amounts of graphic violence, skulls are split in half and arms sawn off. Even more amusing is the parasites themselves that sit inside their hosts in a small cocoon controlling their war machines like it some sort of computer game. A hilarious sight indeed. All of this takes place in an industrial wasteland perfectly suited for this kind of movie and directors Yûdai Yamaguchi and Jun'ichi Yamamoto jumps seamlessly between the gloomy rundown dystopia and the frenetic Nekroborg fights.

The only thing I didn’t like about this movie is that I wanted more! More Nekroborgs, more mayhem and less awkward romance. This is really only nitpicking, Meatball machine is a cool movie that you will adore if you like this type of very typical Japanese style of movies. It also makes me long for the good old days before Sushi Typhoon, when Japanese gore was more serious and nasty. This isn’t as serious as most but still leagues under stuff like Helldriver and Robogeisha.

Good stuff indeed and I recommend it with all my heart.

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