SXSW 2017: “Meatball Machine Kodoku” Review

At this point, it should come as no surprise that the work of Yoshihiro Nishimura is going to be fun genre fare that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Given that he is the director of such films as Tokyo Gore Police and Helldriver, it’s clear that what you see is exactly what you get with Nishimura, and his latest film is more of the same in that regard. Meatball Machine Kodoku, the sequel to 2005’s Meatball Machine (which Nishimura provided special effects for), is an unapologetically silly and smutty piece of cinema that delivers buckets upon buckets of blood and gore.

Featuring the kind of zany plot that has become extremely familiar in these kinds of over-the-top genre films from Japan, Meatball Machine Kodoku finds a meek businessman (Yoji Tanaka) receiving a new purpose in life after an alien lifeform invades his city and begins taking over the brains of the unsuspecting residents. Once locked into the minds of the humans, these aliens transform their bodies into part flesh, part machine monsters that are comprised of the material objects that said humans were obsessed with in life.

Featuring a decent amount of character development, the film takes a surprisingly long time to really get going, with the first twenty minutes or so taking place before any sort of alien attack occurs. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, none of this time is spent generating suspense of any kind, and it just feels out of place given the kind of movie that we’re dealing with. Thankfully, once the blood does start pouring, it rarely lets up, and Meatball Machine Kodoku delivers the exact kind of insanity you’re likely to be looking for when you sit down to watch a movie like this.

Unfortunately, like many films of its nature, Meatball Machine Kodoku does run around thirty minutes too long, clocking in at an almost unfathomably running time of 108 minutes. While these crazy Japanese films are a blast in short spurts, they start to become a little tiring when they venture past the 80-minute mark, and it’s even worse when there are noticeable scenes that could have been trimmed or deleted altogether. Overall, though, there’s still a lot of fun to be had here.

So it isn’t without its faults, but this is an enjoyable enough follow-up to a fan favorite of mid-2000s Japanese genre film, and the audience that the film was made for — regardless of how niche that may be — will appreciate with Nishimura has crafted with Meatball Machine Kodoku.

Meatball Machine Kodoku recently screened at SXSW 2017.

Blair Hoyle

Blair Hoyle is a writer, filmmaker, and party starter that currently resides in Austin, Texas.

About Blair Hoyle 1774 Articles
Blair Hoyle is a writer, filmmaker, and party starter that currently resides in Austin, Texas.