Review: Ninjas vs. Monsters


The latest in the low budget franchise ‘Ninjas vs…’ sees an eclectic mix of friends bound by a series of special powers fighting their latest foe ‘the monsters’ – or more specific traditional horror villains  Dracula, Werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, a mummy and their numerous minions.

The plot of the movie is as coherent as you would expect it to be! Not very… but to those who enjoy the increasingly common trend in Asian splatter, where range of ‘random’ ideas ultimately converge in a showdown which only makes sense within the confines of the movie, will probably think this movie is mind blowing! What it lacks in continuity it certainly makes up for in ‘off the wall’ concepts which come relentlessly scene after scene.

Those familiar with this, or its prequel ‘Ninjas vs. Vampires’ will no doubt forgive me for my brief plot synopsis but I feel it is sufficient on the grounds that for most of the movie you won’t really get what the fuck is going on anyhow! Basically, the Ninja’s (who I can never tell whether they actually like each other) reluctantly team up with a group of ‘real’ Ninjas (well oriental anyhow) to fight off the apocalyptic massing of the aforementioned Hammer horror stars. Led by Dracula, driven by his loathing of the image portrayed of Vampires and Werewolves in the ‘Twilight’ series, the monsters hope to once again strike fear into the hearts of the world. In step the Ninja’s to stop them. There are a number of sub-plots which run between a numbers of the characters but I will let you discover them for yourself.

Despite my earlier reference to Asian splatter (which incidentally this movie has nothing like the extremes of violence shown in those movies), this movie is possibly best described as a feature length ‘Power Rangers’ Halloween special -remember that show? It’s an eclectic mix of large scale choreographed fight scenes, cheesy acting, costumes and dialogue which teeters on the edge of passible if its tongue in cheek, but cringe worthy if it’s not! – Thankfully I think this movie is supposed to be taken as the former. The violence in the movie is actually quite sustained with some decent gore splattered around in various scenes. There is a more or less constant use of CGI (from spells to a really cool warping effect as characters seemed to be able to teleport to locations at will), which I felt was handled really well and certainly fit in well with the fantasy art-style.
As I said in my opener, there are a plethora of plot diversions throughout the movies run time which, whilst not providing anything profound, certainly helped to keep the pace of the movie going, and allowed some of the more stand-out sequences to take place – despite their lack of coherency with the rest of the movie - my favourite being the hordes of zombies and subsequent dis-emboweling! There are a hell of a lot of large scale action sequences in this movie and considering the obvious budget constraints the film makers and cast put their all into ensuring that there is as much killer as there is filler!

This leads me nicely to my only real criticism of the movie considering the niche-genre it occupies, and that’s the quality of the filler. Whilst I’m on the soap box I always think there would be definite merit in film makers intending on making such movies to limit at 45 min runtime, and release as a double grind-house style feature!
There were a number of fairly extensive sequences of dialogue concerning characters who I couldn’t really get on board with, and considering the imaginative nature of the movie’s plot and set pieces, I was a bemused to find myself watching cliché character love interest development for what felt like an eternity. I’m not sure whether this was supposed to parody the absurdly drab love stories in films such as ‘Twilight’ or it was supposed to serve as justification for character motivation, but either way, it didn’t do it for me. The humour also is restricted to a very narrow band of styles, namely sarcastic to ass-annoying. Sure the campy one liners worked in the fight scenes, but when this persisted into the main dialogue of the movie some of the characters came across more socially inept to borderline retarded! – Either way, as with much of the subplot, it didn’t gel with me.

Overall, however, as I’ve already mentioned this sort of movie definitely has niche appeal. There are a number of movies I have viewed over the years which fall into ‘this type of genre’, although it’s difficult to define! I suppose if you are looking at a title ‘Ninja’s vs Zombies’ you have already passed part of the initiation into fandom and should look to add this title to your library alongside ‘Zombies vs. Strippers’, ‘Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl’ and ‘Alien vs. Ninja’! And you should look to make that purchase, alongside those movies this more than holds its own! If you value sheer entertainment value over coherency, enjoy this sort of ‘campy’ experience and/or simply wish you had superpowers then check out ‘Ninjas vs. Monsters released 26th Jan in UK.

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