Action Fest 2010: ROBOGEISHA Review

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[This review originally ran with the film's premiere at Fantastic Fest but with Robogeisha now screening as part of Action Fest we hereby present it to you again.] Ah, geisha. Beautiful. Alluring. Mysterious. Robotic. Strap in for a good dose of strangeness, the first Secret Screening of Fantastic Fest 2009 has rolled out and there to guide the way were director Noboru Iguchi and special effects man Yoshihiro Nishimura with the -not-officially-a-world-premiere-for-contractual-reasons-but-first-time-it's-been-shown-anywhere-in-the-world screening of RoboGeisha. Yoshie is the archetypal younger sister, overshadowed in all ways by her elder sibling. Sis is confident. Yoshie is not. Sis is climbing through the ranks of a local geisha house. Yoshie scrubs the walls and performs menial tasks. Sis is in love with the young head of a local steel outfit. Yoshie ... wait a minute ... Yoshie is the one that he actually prefers! This is a recipe for conflict ... The latest effort from the crew behind cult titles Machine Girl, Sukeban Boy, Tokyo Gore Police and Vampire Girl Versus Frankenstein Girl, you pretty much have to know going in exactly what you're going to get with RoboGeisha - a violent, unrepentantly silly b-film loaded with wildly over the top set pieces hatched from the fevered mind of perpetual adolescent Iguchi. A self-professed ass-man Iguchi was asked by producers to tone the violence down a touch for this one and so he did before compensating more than amply for the reduced amount of blood by inserting a wide variety of weapons into his female stars' posteriors. Simultaneously a parody of bad melodrama and an explosion of cult excess, RoboGeisha takes a (very) basic sisters-competing-for-affection storyline and lifts it out of the standard domestic setting and replaces it with extreme body modification and a clan of geisha-assassins. The girls glare and stomp their feet at each other, then they go and replace their breasts with machine guns. Just when you think Iguchi and Nishimura must have run out of bizarre scenarios and weapons after producing so many of these films they come up with something truly bizarre. Bizarre like bleeding buildings, castle robots, throwing stars and katanas bursting from women's asses. The strange moments per minute quotient in truly remarkable. And how do you top a strange evening like this? How about trotting out festival director Tim League, programmer Marc Walkow, director Iguchi, effects man Nishimura and one of the film's financiers - all of them dressed in sumo wrestling gear - i.e. mostly naked - to dance drunkenly around the room before the villainous Tengu Girls burst in - wearing their costumes of bikinis and masks - wielding swords in a tightly orchestrated sword fight before stabbing all of the men folk in the ass with needles. It all makes for a supremely odd night.
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