Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman (2012)

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Written and directed by Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman is a fairly juvenile film that also manages to be fun, if you’re in the right mood for it. It plays out as a cross between a Robert Rodriguez movie and Grand Theft Auto, a blend that I found mildly amusing but that others may find incredibly irritating. Our own Olly Buxton (his review is here) already enjoyed this film, and I’m happy to agree with him. It’s not a movie interested in being sophisticated or clever, it’s all out to entertain. It succeeds.

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Matias Oviedo plays Santiago Fernandez, a young man who is happy to waste away his life playing videogames that allow him to be a criminal hardass. His reality is far removed from the videogame, but the lines blur and intertwine when fate puts him within earshot of a conversation about the famous Machine Gun Woman (Fernanda Urrejola). The Machine Gun Woman kills criminals, collects their heads and then collects reward money in exchange for those heads. She’s a violent and very skilled bounty hunter. Some nasty men want her dead, so when they find Santiago accidentally eavesdropping on their conversation they decide that he must also die. Desperate to save his own life, Santiago tells them that if they let him live then he will deliver the Machine Gun Woman to them. Although it seems absurd, the men stand to lose nothing if they let Santiago take a chance. He’s allowed to live, but the clock is ticking.

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Mixing in both the best and worst of modern entertainment, Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman ultimately works because of the main characters. There are moments that show filmed scenes overlaid with videogame graphics, usually explaining each mission or mission status, and a number of people find it all too easy to snuff out a human life, but as the severity of the situation becomes clear Santiago takes some time to remember that what he’s involved with is very real. The film doesn’t dwell on the infrequent serious moments, choosing instead to keep Santiago racing after the Machine Gun Woman, but it does just enough to show the main character letting things really sink in as he makes his choices.

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Oviedo is very easy to like in the main role, Urrejola is suitably kickass and sexy and cool in an enjoyably over the top way and everyone else is just fine, even if they’re all just supporting characters in the dangerous adventure that Santiago finds himself on.

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Writer-director Espinoza somehow manages to give everyone at least one or two decent moments, in between the gunfights and videogame missions, without ever affecting the swift pacing of the film, and he keeps a nice balance between the danger, the allure of the titular character and the black humour. It may not be anything new or particularly memorable, but there are plenty of  worse ways to spend an hour and fifteen minutes.

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Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman gets a price on it from October 14th here in the UK.

WRITER/DIRECTOR: ERNESTO DIAZ ESPINOZA
STARS: FERNANDA URREJOLA, MATIAS OVIEDO, JORGE ALIS, SOFIA GARCIA, ALEX RIVERA, FRANCISCA CASTILLO
RUNTIME: 73 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: CHILE

Film Rating: ★★★☆☆

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