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MEATBALL MACHINE
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Yudai Yamaguchi
Junichi Yamamoto

Starring:
Toru Tezuka
Issei Takahashi

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Young Yoji is a dorky factory worker who is lonely and pining after Sachiko, an equally lonely and mysterious girl. To make a long story short, Yoji sees a guy from his factory trying to rape the object of his affection, and gets beaten down trying to make the save. He blows his shot with her, at least temporarily. Oh yeah, did I mention that he finds an alien insect that mutilates her body, turning her into a bio-mechanical monster? And that he turns into one too? And that the rest of the movie is like a strange love-hybrid-monster-Power Ranger type movie? Cause it is.
Is it good movie?
Man, oh man. This, this is a weird piece of cinema, and I've seen a lot of stuff in my day. Although it is strange, at the same time, it didn't feel so strange that I didn't know exactly what was going on. At its core, Meatball Machine is a strange love story that heavily emphasizes the correlation between love and self destruction- the two protagonists are lovers that can never be, and their bodies really pay the price in the meantime, in the most nasty ways. Those Japanese filmmakers always seem to want to express difficulties in showing emotion, and putting it on film in the most bizarre ways.

I certainly didn't hate this film, but I don't know if I'd watch it again either; Meatball Machine serves as a bizarre, "what the hell was that" type of film that is fairly engaging the first time you watch it. The whole thing is so random and bloody, you'll see people getting torn apart and split up in so many different ways- and the movie is so over the top that you'll probably laugh your way through it. To say that filmmaking is extreme is not an understatement at all.

The acting is okay, but the problem I had with the movie is that there wasn't a lot of dialogue, and I began to lose interest as the final battle scene began to roll, and perhaps this is when I should have cared the most. I suppose that the whole idea of two giant bio-mechanical monsters fighting was just difficult to relate to, in even the most abstract way. The effects are pretty good, sometimes really gross and sometimes sort of pitiful. And what's with not really explaining the origin of the evil alien bugs that mutate their hosts?

I think that what I'm trying to say here is that this sort of extreme Japanese cinema may work better for others than it does for me. I watched this film and saw a really bloody and bizarre Power Rangers episode for adults. Others may see a beautiful and multi-layered love story. Depends on your taste, I guess.
Video / Audio
Video comes in the form of 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks really good, with nice sharp colors.

Audio is a nice Dolby Digital track that comes in the original Japanese language soundtrack. Sounds great, strong throughout.
The Extras
The extras are actually better than the main feature, due to the fact that they spend a lot of time actually explaining what the hell is actually going on.

First is an awesome 30 minute plus making of feature that is just top notch, giving you all kinds of insight into the film's creation.

Next you'll find Meatball Madness, the bizarre inspiration for the big budget film, that is lame and cheaply made, but a fine extra.

You'll also find Nevrobourg Creature Design Illustrations of the bio suits and other such nastiness.

Finally, you'll find Reject or Death, a helpful backstory short that explains the relationship between two major characters in the film.
Last Call
At the end of the day, Meatball Machine is really a matter of taste and preference. While I certainly found it to be an entertaining film, I don't know if I'd call it a "good" one. My recommendation is to grab a few buddies and your favorite substances and laugh your ass off at this weird foreign film. I'm sure its audience will appreciate the treatment Meatball Machine has been given, so I guess everybody wins."
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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