Ms. 45 is a young, all-girl punk band trying to make waves on their first American tour. Dealing with the lack of sleep, the insane schedule, the over-the-top fans, and the gross misogyny are all worth it as they fight their way to some semblance of fame. Their lives are changing rapidly – fame and fortune, and even family, as Jill (Chelsea Muirhead) announces her pregnancy. Things are on the up and up. That is, until in a wicked turn of nice guy turned not-so-nice, the girls end up in a world of trouble, landing them in a hospital, waking from some kind of experimental procedure that has changed the course of their lives forever.
It would be only too easy to draw parallels between Mad Max and Spare Parts – and while there are far worse comparisons to make, I’d like to allow this film to stand on its own merits where possible. Yes – there is a Thunderdome-esque, Junkyard battleground quality to Spare Parts. There is some confusing but delightful subverting of expectations – where the words “dystopian future” come to mind almost instantly, and you imagine post-apocalyptic road warriors, it seems that Spare Parts takes place in the present day, in a podunk forgotten town away from prying eyes.
Gruesome gore, bizarre body modifications, and intense violence against women and in general are running themes of Spare Parts. There is a Fincher-esque quality to the violence, particularly as executed by Driller (Ryan Allen) as he both antagonizes and trains the girls. Barbaric is not a strong enough word for what they all experience at the hands of The Emperor (Julian Richings), the leader of this bizarre death cult. Richings plays the perfect slimy villain, and is allowed to chew up the scenery every time he is on screen. Emma (Emily Alatalo) is our heroine-in-chief, utilizing her wit and her wiles to get what she needs and drive us to an exquisitely gratifying end.
Maybe not the most thought out script, there are a lot of plot holes and missing facts along the way of Spare Parts. Girl power, sure, but maybe not the most thorough or well-rounded type of feminism. I’m not sure what the end game was, besides allowing Julian Richings to be fantastic and a little bit of extra B-movie gore, and really, in a lot of ways, that’s enough for me. Is Spare Parts groundbreaking? Not remotely. But it sure is fun.
6 out of 10