Brought to us by the power duo of director Yudai Yamaguchi (Versus) and legendary effects artist Yoshihiro Nishimura (Machine Girl, Tokyo Gore Police), Meatball Machine is a fun, gore-filled chapter in Nishimura’s notoriously grisly body of work. Coupled with Yamaguchi’s unique take on storytelling, this homage to Tetsuo: The Iron Man (with nods to John Carpenter’s The Thing) makes for a very enjoyable film. Splatter hounds and lovers of Japanese cyberpunk take heed: this movie satisfies pretty well on both fronts and carves out a nice little place for itself in the genre.
Not in the traditional sense, but there is some pretty graphic, hardcore monster sex. So uh, there’s that. Oh, and some fine, traditional Japanese tentacle rape as well.
Sweet babies yes. It’s not exactly the nonstop bloodbath that TGP is, but with Yoshihiro “The Japanese Tom Savini” Nishimura at the helm, you know you’re in for a treat.
Low. Stomach churning certainly, but this one isn’t really scary. The effects are so over the top, the characters so ridiculous that it comes off more camp than anything else.
In a setting Nishimura would use again in Tokyo Gore Police, we are welcomed to a world where flesh meets metal in delightfully horrific and organically mutilating ways. This time it’s an alien parasite turning people Tetsuo in this dystopian, battle-centric nightmare civilization, where monster cyborgs duel it out in a there-can-be-only-one fight for monster machine supremacy. Hunting them down is a mysterious, trench coat-wearing monster hunter and his Final Fantasy weapon-sized hypodermic needle. It’s every bit as ridiculous and fun as it sounds.
Amongst scenes of Saban Entertainment-inspired battle between the “Necroborgs” is the tale of a young man named Yoji. Yoji’s story begins like many: boy sees girl doing laundry, boy falls in love with girl, boy furiously masturbates later while thinking of girl. It’s your typical Japanese character love story. As is the norm for a young Japanese men portrayed in film, our protagonist is a typical, insatiable horndog, but just too gosh darned shy and adorable to do anything about it. Instead he fills his time with porn, staring at his lady love from a distance, and spanking it with the door unlocked. One sort of gets the impression that he probably takes the subway to work, if ya know what I mean.
Because of the groping. The groping is what I mean.
After a long day stalking women and being pushed around by society, Yoji heads down to the old spank shack for some adult entertainment. Sitting in the theater amongst his perverted peers, Yoji is approached, molested, and ultimately dragged into an alley for a beating by a man in drag. This is rock bottom for Yoji, until he discovers the tentacled, parasitic alien responsible for the Necroborg epidemic. Failing to infect him, the alien powers down a second later. Naturally, Yoji decides to do the only reasonable thing and take it home for study. Is it animal? Alien? Machine?
Can I put my penis it?
Yoji tosses the alien in a bag and decides to move on with his single goal in life, which is to get laid. A chance encounter gives Yoji the opportunity to play vigilante, as he finds himself throwing down with one of his rapey coworkers in a bid to save – you guessed it – the love of his life, Laundry Girl. Given the chance to play hero, Yoji gets his ass beat but manages to win her over with the power of being pathetic. Their love blossoms in a few too many minutes of non-bloody dialogue as she reveals her own penchant for voyeurism.
“Also I too, masturbate furiously with the door open.”
While making out, Laundry Girl begins getting emotional and recounts her rape-filled past, much to Yoji’s boner’s disappointment. In addition, her outburst wakes up the alien, which immediately goes right to work in assimilating her. And because she’s female and because there are tentacles in the movie, the first law of Japanese film logic dictates that her transformation must include tentacle rape. A provision of that law being, of course, that Yoji cannot intervene in the rape, but must sit as spectator to the action.
“Sorry babe, it’s the law.”
This is where the movie takes a turn for the pornographic, as the alien has some sexy times with something or other inside her body. Is it nailing other parasites or mutated parts of her? I have no idea. These are close-up penetration shots of disgusting, freakish things fucking. You have people in your life whom you could never explain this to, were they to walk in on you during this part of the movie.
Once the sweet, parasitic lovin’ starts the cool down, the girl, now a Necroborg, knocks Yoji out and runs off. Enter Dr. Trenchcoat, his giant needle, and his hot, eyepatched daughter. They bring Yoji home where he wakes up to Eyepatch looking cute and staring at him, because the director apparently keeps confusing puppy love with “creepily staring at you.” The Doc sheds some light on the parasite, then starts in with this whole Ghostbusters II thing, stating that it goes for people with “negative feelings” (hence the sad, raped girl falling victim). Yawn. Yoji wants to save his lady of course, but they tell him he’s got to to let that shit go, ‘cause man it’s gone; there’s no coming back once one’s been ‘borged.
Running out of love interests, Yoji predictably starts bonding with the incredibly hot, infected daughter of the Doctor and it looks like they’re going to-wait, hold on. I mean she takes him into her father’s secret “breeding” room, where they’ve been secretly raising more parasites for her to feed on.
She’s like the Blade of the bio-monster world. If Blade was harvesting vampires in his basement to eat, that is.
What’s worse, Yoji learns that the Doctor intends to infect him as well. Which he does. After another round of that hot, parasitic monster sex, Yoji turns the tables after his transformation and rips out his own “heart” (aka, the parasite), which now eliminates some of the mind control, yet grants him the superpowers of being a bio-cybernetic monster.
Like the enviable ability to punch clean through heads.
Despite the lack of parasite, Yoji struggles to control the machinations of his highly murderous new body, as he inadvertently kills anyone he comes in contact with. Eventually he meets up with his once-true love and they engage in the final boss fight. A fantastic battle ensues, wonderfully rich with body horror and buckets of blood. In this final hour, Yoji must decide whether or not to end his lady’s suffering once and for all; not that she’ll make it easy for him either way. It all comes down to a lot of screaming, body morphing and dismemberment, culminating in a rather, um … comically explosive climax. A small spoiler alert about the ending: you probably won’t see exactly what’s coming, and I absolutely loved the way it closed out to the credits. This one gets an extra point from me on that alone.
What I love about Nishimura’s films is that he never makes you wait too long before delivering on the goods. Scarcely within the first ten minutes of the film we’re treated to some top-notch child mutilation; and while I can appreciate that certain films sometimes build up to the shocking bits, with these campier flicks you really just want to dive right in. These movies are made for gorehounds, pure and simple. The effects are great and the monsters are intentionally goofy in a style that reminds one of the sort of thing you’d see in some of the better Troma films, or perhaps on stage with GWAR.
Except with 80% less rape than GWAR shows.
Though the camerawork does falter in some of the action scenes, there are some nice, dynamic shots that help give the movie a bit of a comic book feel. The lighting is hit or miss as well; at times the colors pop in a fittingly cartoonish way. Other scenes were left too dark to properly see the details. These minor complaints do not, however, hurt the overall enjoyability of the movie. The filmmakers do a more than apt job of presenting a lighthearted, yet gruesome flick. And while this one may have fallen to the wayside, pushed over by the more popular Tokyo Gore Police, I found Meatball Machine to be a worthy attempt and one I would absolutely recommend to fans of the genre.
Score: 7.5/10, funny, wholesome, blood-splattered fun
IMDB for this one
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Categories: asian horror