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I’m going to go ahead and spoil some of Sex Machine for you because I doubt many will actually see it, but know in advance that some spoilers will be dropped here. Sex Machine is a very independent film. Shot on low quality video and featuring absolutely terrible sound (I had to crank the volume all the way to make out the dialogue), I found the movie to be amateurish on almost every level. While it may not have been a quality film, that’s not to say that I found it in no way enjoyable.

If anything Sex Machine suffers from a reach beyond its grasp. The movie almost looks like a calling card, a note of what the filmmakers could do with a proper budget and newer video equipment, at least. While presenting a number of hand-to-hand combat scenes there was clearly no money for a fight choreographer. Everyone moves slowly and looks pretty bad at it. The Foley work during the fights sounds bad too, with canned overly loud noises that sound the way the Batman TV series onomatopoeia looked.

The dialogue is pretty wonky but the delivery doesn’t help it much. A lot of the acting falls into the hammy range and the rest of it into flat. The script goes a little bit out of bounds by adding an ancient Nazi scientist but I can’t fault them for that one. Nazis just always work as villains, and everyone likes to see a good war criminal get his. The ideas behind the script- SPOILERS here- organ farming, genetic experimenting and good old-fashioned Frankenstein science- make the movie interesting even where it’s not particularly good. The most interesting part of it is Frank’s arms, both grafted onto his body with comically overlarge scar tissue. One of them features extensive tattoos, including the inexplicable title of the film, a grand misstep in gaining the film some attention. The other one is black, which was pretty clever and a striking image. The black hand is the only one that knows how to fight, though, so it takes some getting his ass (very slowly) handed to him before Super Fist takes over and beats ass back. I enjoyed this quirk. It gave the sense of a cartoonish superpower, though, and your mileage may vary.

Sex Machine Frank spends roughly 90% of the movie in Unknown Soldier-style facial bandages even though he’s trying to keep a low profile. No one takes much notice despite his appearing this way quite publicly. It makes for another striking visual, though, so I let that illogic slide. You have to suspend some disbelief, after all. There’s a standard lost-love plot to contend with and his friends aren’t much use. The villains never even strike through them, though, until the last few minutes. Seemed pretty obvious to me but maybe I’m wilier than ancient Nazis.

I feel like with a little professional gloss in the writing and acting departments, and some proper stunt work, Sex Machine could have turned into a sleeper hit. It has a lot of interesting concepts and eccentricities, but fails to properly exploit them in favor of a Memento-like search for the past and a love story that is frankly disinteresting and trite. Maybe director Christopher Sharpe will manage to remarket his concept sometime, because reanimated strippers. Yes, I said reanimated strippers. 2 ½ stars


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