Jumping in leaves. Halloween. Wearing sweaters. There are many things about autumn that somehow manage to make up for the lack of long days, hot weather and Wimbledon. In the autumn we slow cook our dinners, watch football, drink mulled wine and find any excuse not to venture outside. Sundays are the best. We do nothing. We pray for horrendous weather so that we can do nothing. At all. Apart from dig out those films and boxsets we’ve been longing to get round to all summer. Nobody has a barbecue in autumn. It’s awesome.
Thank God, then, for Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, who knows exactly what we want when we mournfully pull open those curtains on a dark and dank Sunday morning. A beautiful woman. Leather. Machine guns. Fancy some crisps? Go get some. It’s Sunday. We’re going nowhere. Instead, we’re going to slap on his new movie, Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman, which follows Santiago (Matias Oviedo), a nightclub DJ and videogame addict, who overhears one of the City’s most dangerous criminals putting a hit on a hell-on-heels femme-fatale bounty hunter named, you’ve guessed it, the Machine Gun Woman.
Wrapped up snugly under our duvets we realise that this shouldn’t end well for Santiago, but he cleverly avoids execution by offering to bring her in. Is it some crackerjack quick thinking from the party rocking maestro? Not quite. He’s given just 24 hours to make good on his claim, turning his life into one of those violent video games he can only dream of playing. Grand Theft Auto has nothing on this guy, with guns, women, and some barbarous bloodshed turning his world into a living nightmare.
His mission is to not get killed. Our mission is to enjoy the film for what it is, and we’re helped along by a captivating intro that introduces Fernanda Urrejola as the mysterious gunslinger, hell bent on dispatching as many wrongdoers as she can. She should have shot the kid. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Playing out like the game our leading man is obsessed with, BMTHOTMGW ignores plot, cuts to the chase, and is all the better for it. Santiago never really becomes the gangster he thought he wanted to be – instead, the disillusioned DJ stumbles around in his white Thriller jacket, using his I-pod as currency, longing to meet the girl of his dreams because he thinks she will end his suffering. She won’t. But it’s brief respite from a mundane life with very little wonderment, even if his mum does look younger than he does.
Willing to sacrifice everything apart from his creator to satisfy the totty’s need for vengeance, Santiago is as well rounded as someone with little backstory can be. The truth is, we never got comfy to watch a riveting plot and convincing characters. There’s a sexy siren, clad in leather, shooting people with lots of guns. It’s as simple as that. Okay, so there’s a genuine friendship blossoming as the film ventures forward, the villains remain villainous, Espinoza does funny for funny’s sake, and the videogame style is complimented by a slightly goofy soundtrack that might make you want to rush out and buy a Casio keyboard. But it's Sunday. There's casserole to eat and the shops are closed.
Which is just as well, because it means you get to enjoy a clumsy criminal blowing his face off, lines like, “help me to kill sausage”, toy guns, and an astonishing scene in which removing a bullet is a bit like having a baby and an orgasm all at once. Is our leading lady going soft? Not a chance. Just don't play that bloody song. Besides, once you've accepted her habits and got used to her temper, you’ll probably wish Urrejola was in it more than Oviedo, and considering the title of the film perhaps she should be. Scratch that. She should be.
A sense of urgency helps, but who needs characterisation and subplots when you have a girl, guns, and lots of bloodshed? It won’t win too many awards, it won’t even get remade by Hollywood, but Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman is an excellent, surprisingly smart venture into the grungy grindhouse fare we know and love. Game Over? We think not. DW
Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman opens in selected cinemas on 27th September and is available to buy on DVD & Blu-ray on 14th October 2013