Meatball Machine (2005) – Film Review
Directors: Yūdai Yamaguchi, Jun’ichi Yamamoto
Cast: Issei Takahashi, Aoba Kawai, Kenichi Kawasaki
by @Roger Crow
Ah romance. The staple of countless movies since those first flickering images graced the big screen. And this Manga-inflected fantasy offering is just your everyday tale of boy meets girl. But their romance is interrupted by alien parasites invading the Earth and turning people into cyborg fighters.
Meatball Machine is far from subtle, and at times it’s hugely disturbing. But no more so than genre classics such as Akira and the Tetsuo movies. I’ve no doubt Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer was a major influence on this icky, gruesome adventure.
And yet as stomach churning as it is, the biomechanoid armour has such an amateur feel, the movie looks like a prosthetics craftsperson’s showreel. Thrashing tentacles and creepy alien parasites under flickering lights is all style and no substance. But while the script may leave a lot to be desired, full marks for effort.
“A load of energy”
The hero is Yōji, a young factory worker who falls for an equally lonely girl co-worker, Sachiko, but can’t confess his feelings. After being assaulted in a movie theatre by a crossdresser, Yōji finds what looks like an alien insect and hides it in his room.
Sachiko is eventually attacked by the alien object and it turns her into a bio-mechanical monster, a NecroBorg.
As someone who has spent decades soaking up the phenomenal ideas of anime epics, this doesn’t add a huge amount of freshness to the genre. But there’s a load of energy, and the sight of the young hero transforming into a biomechanoid gun is quite an experience.
Definitely not for all tastes, or for those of a nervous disposition, but if splatter films are your cup of tea, then you’re in for a ‘treat’.