16th Oct2018

‘Meatball Machine Kodoku’ Blu-ray Review

by Mondo Squallido

Stars: Tomori Abe, Kensuke Ashihara, Satoshi Eishima, Goki, Yôta Kawase, Riri Kôda, Rima Matsuda, Masanori Mimoto, Maki Mizui, Seminosuke Murasugi | Written by Yoshihiro Nishimura, Sakichi Satô | Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura


Asian extreme horror is noted and adored for its absurdity and graphic content. For me, it can either be “OH MY GOD! THIS INSANE FUN!” or “Really!? More of this!?”. That’s why admittedly, my experience with the genre (if it’s fair to pigeon hole these films to one genre.) is fairly limited. I feel it’s my duty as a reviewer to let you know I have never seen the original Meatball Machine from 1999, but I did watch the 2005 remake a fair few years a go (which this film is the sequel of.) and I gold my hands up that it’s a mere blur to me. From my basic research, it seems like Meatball Machine Kodoku is indeed a direct sequel, but not really a continuation of the story. With that in mind and off my chest, let’s make some meatballs.

Really? He’s really sticking with that!?

Yuji Noda (Kensuke Ashihara) is a middle-aged, down on his luck man who has it pretty shitty. He works as a debt collector for a prick of a loan shark, his clients refuse to pay up causing him to foot the bill to keep said prickish loan shark happy and he’s recently found out that he has an advanced form of terminal cancer. Luckily for him, love may be in the air. Unfortunately for him that’s short-lived, he finds himself accused of being a murderer by Paris loving tourists and ultimately, he is arrested and thrown in a cell. Just when life couldn’t seem any more easy peasy lemon difficult for Yuji, Earth is attacked by a massive glass jar – causing a Simpsons-like glass dome to be erected in the middle of the city. As if things couldn’t get ANY WORSE, parasites attack Yuji and several others turning them in to blind half man – half machine atrocities and whatever they hold dearest to them becomes a monstrous weapon… even seaweed. This is the only time you will ever hear me say this, but Yuji’s cancer is actually a good thing. His saviour in fact.  You see, the cancer instantly kills the parasite leaving Yuji ultimately human with the same powers the other infected posses. When the love of his life finds herself in danger, Yuji must do what he can to save her as well as potentially saving the human race in the process. With the other infected all seemingly against him and the local police – now turned militia – also on the case. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to bloody and very, very weird.

Yeah, a film like this is hard to summarise. On the one hand, there’s so much that happens that you don’t want to spoil the film. On the other, there’s so much that happens in the film that even if you were to give a scene by scene analysis, you’d still drum enough interest from the Japanese cult cinema fanatics.I have morals and I’m a flawed, but decent person so I’m not going to spoil it too much. Although it takes a while to truly kick in,  this film was absurd from start to finish. As well as that, this is a film that is fun, self aware and never takes itself too seriously – even though there are clear socio-political and agricultural references and themes explored throughout.

You’re obviously here for the gore. Yoshihiro Nishimura is famed for it. Thankfully, there’s gore by the bucketload – not even children are safe!  Utilising practical and digital affects in many principles, Meatball Machine Kodoku is a visually intriguing film. I’m not usually a big fan of the low quality CGI elements you find in contemporary Japanese horror, but it just works perfectly within the context and mood of the film. Some of the practical effects look genuinely fantastic. Another thing I really enjoyed was the costume design. An absolutely perfect blend of disturbing and comic book camp, rubber and metal. It may not be as fetishistic as something like Tetsuo, but it does almost make your skin crawl at the process of the human body being melded to machine.

I went into Meatball Machine Kodoku expecting to be mildly amused, but I can safely say that this was a riot. The film may have been around 20 minutes too long, but that’s really all I can say about negatives. If you don’t like silly films like this, I don’t even know why you’re reading this. If you are a fan, chances are you have already seen it or have began obsessing already. I must revisit the other films soon. I’m also in the mood for meatballs now…

**** 4/5

Meatball Machine Kodoku is released on Blu-ray today, October 15th, courtesy of Screenbound Pictures


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