Review for Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman
One of the benefits of picking and choosing what we review, as opposed to the old way we used to do things on MyReviewer, is the ability to ignore the unsolicited review disc. We get to play to our strengths, concentrate on our interests, but that does come at the cost of a comparative lack of variety in the titles that we review. But sometimes an unsolicited review disc can turn out to be an unexpected gem. There would be no way on Earth that I would request a film called Bring Me The Head of The Machine Gun Woman for review, I mean, that title says it all. By that very same token, if I have a review disc called Bring Me The Head of The Machine Gun Woman in my possession, there is no way on Earth that I won’t watch it. I mean, that title says it all. PR release consumed, and daft grin firmly in place, I inserted the Blu-ray disc into the player and sat back. That daft grin was wholly justified.
Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! A naive DJ happened to be in the toilet, working up the courage to ask his boss for a raise, when said boss and his henchmen walked into the toilet to discuss some business. Since his employer just happens to be a powerful gangster, and the business he wants to discuss involves getting his henchmen to bring him the head of the assassin, The Machine Gun Woman, then just overhearing the discussion means the end to a short and unproductive life of DJ-ing, living with his mother, and playing videogames. But DJ Santiago manages to buy some time by offering to bring the Machine Gun Woman to Che Sausage himself. Suddenly he’s living Grand Theft Auto, but for real.
Machine Gun Woman gets a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer at the 1080p resolution. The image is clear and sharp throughout, and although the film is shot digitally, in post-production it has been deliberately film-ised and aged to give it the feel of the 70’s exploitation flicks that it pays homage to. The film will be afflicted with scratches and ‘print damage’ to varying degrees through the film. At some points, especially the credit sequences, it is given the full celluloid treatment; at others it looks wholly digital and clean. The effect is spoiled by the odd dead pixel in the camera, most notably at 43:13 into the movie, but otherwise it works well, and the cheap and cheerful action and effects come across with endearing charm.
The images in this review are sourced from the PR and are not necessarily representative of the final retail release.
You have the choice between PCM 5.1 Surround Spanish and German, and PCM 2.0 Stereo French, with subtitles in English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. What languages you get depend on what options you choose at the language selection screen at the head of the disc. There are no language menu options on the main menu, or on the pop-up menu, although you can select audio and subtitles with your player remote. As I chose the English menu, the player gave me the original Spanish audio with English subtitles. It’s a functional surround track that reflects the content of the film without issue, and the action gets a proper exploitation music soundtrack, funk included to set the mood. The subtitles are accurately timed, and you can overlook the odd typographical error.
The film gets an animated menu screen, with the afore-mention problem of a lack of language options. Another problem is that pressing Top Menu during playback takes you to the menu select screen and not the main menu, so you wind up sitting through the trailers at the head of the disc again.
Those trailers are for Mission to Lars and Eden.
On the disc, the sole extras are a 2 minute trailer for the film, and a 3 minute Behind The Scenes Featurette, which amounts to mostly silent b-roll footage.
That was fun! It was also my first Chilean movie experience, and on that strength I doubt it will be my last. The clue’s in the opening logos for the film, with one of the production companies revealed as LatinXploitation. It is a full on exploitation flick, deliciously politically incorrect, with pointless nudity, gratuitous violence, cheap and cheerful effects, and scenery chewing characters. It also plays out like a video game, thanks to the particular obsessions of its main character, DJ Santiago. Note to Hollywood: If you ever get the idea to adapt Grand Theft Auto into a feature film, give up, as I doubt that any mega-budget waste of talent could ever be as effective and as entertaining as Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman.
When the titular Machine Gun Woman is a killing machine that wears skimpy dominatrix gear barely concealed under her holsters, high heels, and the occasional fur coat, you know you’re onto a good thing. It’s just a bonus that she licks her victims before killing them, deals with a gun thrust in her face by fellating it. She’s a bad ass, psychopath gunslinger, and touching on my anime fandom, a little like Revy from Black Lagoon brought to life, but with added sexiness. It’s not just her lethal tendencies that make her so wanted by Che Sausage.
The comedy comes from the fact that it’s hapless DJ Santiago who has to track her down, a man totally out of his depth. It’s just his passion for videogames that allows him to put his predicament in perspective, and informs the style of the film. When the opening scene begins, we get introduced to the characters by means of a caption revealing their identities and the prices on their heads, prices that the Machine Gun Woman proceeds to collect, along with the actual heads in sacks. But for Santiago, events turn into Grand Theft Auto, as depicted in the film, with each stage in his hunt for the Machine Gun Woman presented as a game mission, and each sequence ending in success or failure.
Bring Me the Head of Machine Gun Woman is silly, gratuitous fun. It’s what an exploitation film should be, filled with larger than life, colourful characters, and an uncompromising and cartoonish approach to its violence. That the film has a knowing sense of humour and is unashamedly daft is just a bonus. The post pub crowd will lap this up, and even we teetotallers will find much to appreciate.