As mentioned in our Philly Film Fest post, Mutant Girls Squad is yet another dose of insanity from Japanese directors, Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura. You may know them from hilariously gory action flicks like Machine Girl, RoboGeisha, Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl. If not, a first-time viewer can expect a bizarre world of blood geysers, lovely ladies with gross mutations and hilarious dialogue.
I will write out a brief summary, but the truth is these films all have the same plot. Pretty young girls end up with superpowers… usually manifesting through grotesque body horror… and they battle villains in various comedic set pieces throughout the course of the film. In this particular story, imagine a twisted Japanese version of the X-men.
Bullied schoolgirl, Rin, learns she is a half-mutant and goes on a mad killing spree after the subsequent death of her parents. She is soon given shelter by a clan of mutants, the Hirukos, who train her to accept her nature and master her gift, a powerful clawed hand. Conflicted between her need for belonging and their sinister anti-human agenda, Rin must decide where her loyalties lie.
Here’s our review:
We give Mutant Girls Squad 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Would we recommend?
Maybe. Fans already familiar with these directors won’t find anything new to love here, but the uninitiated will be in for a glorious shock.
I would recommend Mutant Girls Squad to readers of adult comics, fans of bizarre Japanese cinema and anyone interested in cartoony gore, offensive humor and action. I’d suggest it over the uncomfortably racist Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl to anyone, but RoboGeisha and Tokyo Gore Police are better picks. You won’t be blown away if you love the previous films, but you’ll still have fun. If you hate them, I can save you time and assure you you’ll still hate this one. Not recommended if you prefer to avoid splatter or low-brow entertainment.
At times, Mutant Girls Squad had me laughing so hard it hurt. Equal parts cartoon and Cronenberg-style body horror, these films are almost always a good time for gorehounds or anyone who has a strong stomach and an appreciation for the absurd. How absurd am I talking?
Two words. Anal chainsaw. Yeah, I said it. The anal chainsaw is just one of the many weapons sprouting from unfortunate bodily orifices in this film. Perilous monster genitals and shamelessly cheesy special effects, both practical and computer-generated, assault your good taste. Hammy performances do battle in oceans of blood. Last, but not least; Characters loudly and frantically narrate what’s happening to them on screen. Gems like “Ahhhh! You cut off my hand!” or ”There’s something coming out of my mouth! Ahhhh!” are a delight, but they can’t compete with my favorite; “Oh noooooo… My bowl of noodles is now a bowl of blood!” I could go on and on, but it would get repetitive. There’s plenty of over-the-top nonsense to enjoy.
As jaded as it must sound after that last paragraph, Mutant Girls Squad is just another regurgitation of the same material from these creators and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Although it’s more successful than Machine Girl at maintaining its shock value and frenetic pace , we did feel it dragged a bit from time to time. Minor quibbles; Although it was a feature half the time, the CGI in this installment was particularly bad and the music was constant repetition of the same theme from beginning to end. Your reception to offensive humor may vary. It didn’t have the squirm-inducing level of racism from Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, but the presence of a Fu-Manchu-sporting Chinese stereotype should probably be noted.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test?
Women form valuable friendships with each other, battle each other, join forces to fight evil with each other, etc… There are many qualifying conversations. Even if they are, occasionally, about “Boob swords.” Japanese manga, anime and the films they inspire seem to deliver conflicting messages about women. As creepy as the over sexualization of underage schoolgirls in sailor dresses can be, you can count on these stories to pass the Bechdel test and to feature powerful female protagonists more often than our American equivalents. I would love to explore this idea more thoroughly, but can’t say I’d know where to begin. Tabled for later discussion.
So there you have it. I apologize for the many comparisons, but it’s hard to rate Mutant Girls Squad on its own merit without referencing at least 4 other films. To sum up: We liked it. Lots of fun, but nothing new. An apt choice if you have the good taste to appreciate bad taste.