Reviewing this film not long after the release of Grand Theft Auto V is an odd experience. To be fair, so’s the whole film.
The reason for this is that the film takes so many influences from the Grand Theft Auto videogame series – games about driving and shooting your way through hordes of cops and criminals towards an uncertain end. While the premise of Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman is slightly different, the incorporation of GTA’s font, a chapter structure dubbed as “missions” and even dialogue about the game itself, it’s clear this film knows it’s over the top and relishes in it.
Made in Chile and dubbed “Latinxploitation”, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman is a fairly descriptive title. DJ Santiago (Matías Oviedo) is a man who spends his life playing videogames and working low-paid audio jobs. It’s not an ideal life, but it seems like a save haven compared to the series of events that begin once he overhears a trio of criminals speaking about the bounty on the head of a violent bounty hunter by the name of the Machine Gun Woman.
So begins his miserable, violent, clumsy journey, as he attempts to capture the infamous assassin to ensure the criminals he overheard don’t return to take his life. The woman he hunts, played by Fernanda Urrejola, is an interesting mix of power and sex – extremely skilled with guns and combat tactics in general, she’s a terrifying figure to behold, at once bare to the elements (in more than one sense) and formidably unkillable.
The way Machine Gun Woman is shot is what makes it entertaining – there are no slow pans across cinematically-lit sets to be found here. Instead, handheld camera work, real locations and a cast that feel like real people, albeit ones who’d be more at home in a gun-toting circus than general society. The film feels like an insight into madness, with pop-ups throughout detailing the cast and, frequently, what they’re worth to bounty hunters. Everyone has a price, and quite frequently, the price is death.
What I like about Machine Gun Woman is that DJ Santiago doesn’t survive various scenes (it’s not a spoiler, it’d be a short film if he didn’t) because he becomes as violent as the rest of them – it’s because he’s a level-headed everyman who approaches situations much as any of us would. He doesn’t have a gun license, he’s got no concept of how to shoot and kill, and he spends his time running around with sunglasses, a winter hat and an airsoft pistol. He’s an amusingly human character, and it made the film more enjoyable to watch.
Given the film is a series of shootouts interconnected by GTA-esque updates and mission-start sequences, it seems unwise to delve into the plot too much. But for those who enjoy gunplay, humour and are aware of potentially appreciative of just how much more amusing foreign action cinema can be, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman is an excellent pick for your gun-porn collection.
Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman is in cinemas on Friday 27th September, 2013. The film is out on Blu Ray and DVD on Monday 14th October.