What sort of Asian film geek could resist a title like Alien Vs Ninja? It would take a better geek than me.
The story is a simple one: a group of ninjas get sent out to investigate a fireball that falls near their village, only to be attacked by a tremendously fast and brutal alien that’s unfazed by their weapons. One by one they fall victim to the beast, eventually killing it only to discover that oops, there’s another one. And soon to be even more.
It’s pretty clear that whatever budget the producers had wasn’t spent on special effects. There are a few lovely shots of moonlit mountains, but apart from that the effects could have come from my laundry cupboard. The alien creatures zip across behind the group too fast to be seen, but when it comes to a fight, they shuffle like an arthritic Godzilla, all flailing paws and rubbery knees. Amazingly enough, the creature when unseen manages to slaughter many of the group in quite bloody and horrific ways: if you’ve got a weak stomach, avoid even thinking about this film.
That budget wasn’t splurged on scriptwriters, either. The group, returning exhausted from a mission only to be sent out on another, are told that “the rest of the village are out”. It sounds as though they’ve nipped out to the shops, or are down at the local club shaking their booties. Dialogue and plot have also gone off to shake their booties, leaving the actors to trudge through woods making it up as they go along. There are periods of fighting interspersed with periods of arguing, and the twist at the end isn’t so much surprising as completely incomprehensible.
A good cast, or at least good characters, could have halfway redeemed this stodge, but alas, it was not to be. The main actors were almost uniformly sleek and forgettably pretty, with a couple of pudgy comic sidekicks thrown in to leaven the mix. Sadly again, the comic sidekicks were not at all comic: I can’t imagine a ninja group running around trailing a pudgy coward who runs into trees and abandons his colleagues repeatedly. And I wouldn’t trust any of the purported ninjas to slice bread, much less wield a sword.
There is one mildly entertaining scene involving the creatures’ reproduction, but I’ll not spoil the surprise for those of you who choose to watch this. I’ll just say that this is one to watch when you’ve got the gang over and you’re all quite drunk.