TADFF 10: ALIEN vs. NINJA Review
You gotta love this tagline from The Sushi Typhoon website. IF IT BLEEDS...NINJAS CAN KILL IT!
Once upon a time in Japan, there was a band of great Ninja warriors called the Iga. One day, while returning from battle to their village, they saw a fireball blaze across the sky. They investigated, and instead of discovering a secret weapon created by their traditional enemies, they were stunned to come face-to-face with never-before-seen creatures with claws and fangs...slimy aliens from the stars!The savage, deadly aliens kill and feast on the Iga Ninjas, leaving only a handful to survive. Yamata and his warriors swear to avenge their comrades' deaths and, risking their lives, hunt down the aliens. However none of the Ninja weapons neither their swords nor their throwing stars have any effect on the alien warriors! But the Iga have a few more Ninja tricks up their sleeves...and the aliens may have picked the wrong Ninjas!
To start off Alien vs. Ninja already has a great trio behind the camera. It is written and directed by Seiji Chiba with action choreographed by Yuji Shimomura (Versus, Shinobi, Death Trance) and Kensuke Sonomura (The Machine Girl, Hard Revenge Milly: Bloddy Battle). Chiba doesn't muck about either; he set himself a mandate and he stuck with it. He wanted a movie with aliens and ninjas and he wanted them to the fight. That's it. Bring them together and bring it on!
Yet, Chiba also finds a balance between action and humor as there are plenty of laughs. You have Nezumi, an older ninja, a coward, who is more content on making gadgets and weapons than actually fighting. Chiba has written most of his comedy through this character. And during the climax, as Yamata (Masanori Mimoto) clings to the legs of a flying Alien, flapping about with his arms in mid-air combat, I couldn't help but think of Bruce Campbell's Ash character from the kitchen scene in ED2 and the Necronomicon scene in AoD, that element of slapstick comedy that Raimi loved so much.
The action sequences from Shimomura and Sonomura are excellent. Really, really excellent in fact. They also pull out all the stops and bring to the film a broad spectrum of fighting to the film as well, from some really awesome swordplay to simple bare bones brawling. During the climax the sword duel between Yamata and his opponent is simply jaw dropping. It's quick, intricate, and fast.
It has been a sexy year for ninjas and that is due in part to Mika Hijii. Thankfully in AvN she isn't playing second fiddle like she did in Ninja with Scott Adkins. Hijii's Rin is given more opportunity to display some ninja prowess in Chiba's film from swordplay to some down and dirty fist o' cuffs. Rin is just as badass a ninja as the boys are. And, recognizing the Otaku bait that he has in his cast Chiba and his action choreographers give her some tight choreography to go along with her tight pants. Just sayin'. These scenes vary from seductive and suggestive to downright silly. Either way they are marvelous. More Mika please.
Visual effects range from the computerized to the rubberized. Kaiju fans will get much pleasure watching traditional man in suit aliens fight our intrepid ninja heroes. Practical effects play a big role in fulfilling the gore quota set by Chiba. There are lots of body parts flying through the air. There is enough gooey alien blood, squishy alien larvae and babies for everyone. And the computer aided effects are toned down as much as possible.
Alien vs. Ninja is a sure-fire crowd pleaser and it packs a powerful punch as well. It has achieved awesomeness through and through.
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