By David Watson

Arch cinema magpies Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have a lot to answer for.  Obsessed with the B-movies and exploitation flicks of their youth, the kinda films jammed to the gills with sex, violence and sexual violence you’d see in the ‘60s and ‘70s at drive-ins or in the cheap, dingy burlesque theatres (or ‘grindhouses’), of New York’s Times Square or San Francisco’s Tenderloin, these two creative colossi rubbed their two brain cells together during a mutual mental masturbation session and decided that what the world really needed was Grindhouse, a big budget, intellectually bankrupt, toothless homage to the joys of grindhouse cinema.   

The world had other ideas though and Grindhouse bombed like Dresden.   

Grindhouse cinema’s day had come and gone.  After all, why would you hand over your hard-earned folding green to sit in a movie theatre and watch a scratchy, crackly, distressed print of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! or Ilsa, She-Wolf Of The SS or Cannibal Holocaust when you can stay home and watch your crystal clear Blu-Ray with director’s commentary?  Unfortunately, Tarantino and Rodriguez’s failure hasn’t deterred their admirers who continue to try to reproduce a genre that, thanks to the invention of home video, died out before most of them were born.

With its scratchy opening, its cartoonish characterisation and its curvy, two gun-toting heroine in fetish wear, Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman certainly starts out as a Chilean take on the genre before settling down after a furious corner shop shootout into pristinely shot digital and spinning a yarn that arguably owes more to video game culture than to ’70s exploitation flicks. 

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Hapless DJ and gamer Santiago (Matias Oviedo) is having a crap in the gents of the Mob-owned club where he works (yup, it’s that subtle a film) when he overhears gangster Che Sausage (Jorge Alis) and his henchmen plot to kill the vengeful, slinky assassin known only as the Machine Gun Woman (Fernanda Urrejola) before she can rub them out. Discovering Santiago cowering in the cubicle, they pressgang him into doing the job for them, threatening to kill him if he fails. Given no choice and armed only with a fake pistol and his MP3 player, Santiago resolves to track down the Machine Gun Woman, all the time becoming more and more infatuated with her. 

Melding the spirit of Rodriguez’s lo-fi classic El Mariachi with the plot structure and visuals of the Grand Theft Auto games (the film is structured around missions Santiago must complete and at times shares its top down sandbox view of the world), Bring Me The Head Of  The Machine Gun Woman makes a play for instant cult classic with its tale of homicidal leather-clad hottie firing big guns and wimpy protagonist completely in her thrall. It doesn’t quite succeed and, strangely, for a film titled Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman there’s just not enough Machine Gun Woman, particularly as Urrejola’s sexy, vampy turn is the best thing in a film best described as broad, but it’s a breezy little ride that rattles along and, at 73 minutes, just manages to not outstay its welcome. 

The germ of a good short film that’s been stretched to feature-length breaking point, at times Bring Me The Head’s video game aesthetic grates, making you feel like you’re sat on the couch watching your mate play GTA (and that’s never good), but it’s trashy camp fun that’s sure to find an audience wherever there are teenage boys and stoned gamers who enjoy watching hot women in leather firing guns.

VERDICT: [rating=3]

 

Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman is out in selected cinemas 27th September and DVD & Blu-ray 7th October courtesy of Clear Vision

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