Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday Movie Madness: Comic-Con Edition

This is a little late after the fact, but here is a review of the movie, and no this is not a misprint, Alien Vs. Ninja, and a re-link to my review of Black Dynamite, both of which played Saturday night at the New York Comic Book and Anime Convention.  There will be a much fuller write-up about Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl and documentaries on Grant Morrison and Will Eisner soon to come.  For now here's my uncut review of AVN

So, how to evaluate this movie?  It's a little difficult in the sense of trying to call it as a movie that should, in the slightest sense, be taken seriously.  Surely actual craftsmen and artists worked on this, otherwise it's just hacks looking to score a few easy bucks on the market of such a title that is so obvious Roger Corman would have a double-take.  One look at the title and I immediately flashed to the recent slew of movies- starting around two or three years ago with Tokyo Gore Police and The Machine Girl- that are so delightfully, horribly trashy and over the top that they're hard not to love on a fun-bad movie level.  Thankfully, Alien vs. Ninja isn't an exception to this, even though it's not as successful at those efforts at taking the 'top' to a whole other level of cinematic contemplation.  

Directed by Seiji Chiba, who seems to have a thing for ninjas especially (not simply by how they come off in this movie, earlier this year in Japan he also directed 'Evil Ninja', another movie that doesn't beat around the bush with its title), this goes between being the work of a sloppy B moviemaker and a director who has some real skill with staging battles and going for broke when it comes time to deliver the action-y goods.  Certainly people will see this anyway regardless of giving a summation of the plot, so should I even try?  

There's a bunch of ninjas in the woods, who are more or less professionals at doing what they do, being bad-ass killers (less being such a character as the annoying comic-relief guy who whenever he opens his mouth is unbearable).  And then something weird happens.  There's aliens.  At least a few of them.  They shoot out these little cute pink alien babies down a person's throat and they become zombies controlled by the little pink alien beings, and so the ninjas have to contend with them as well as the fact that the aliens are themselves bad-ass fighters.

Before I can even think to ask "who taught these aliens such bad-ass kung-fu?" I also have to take into account that the aliens look like a cross between mini-Godzillas and dolphins.  Who are bad-ass martial artists.  So yeah, it's that kind of movie, shot what appears to be video (albeit 2010 video looks professional), and put to a near endless assault of Japanese hard-rock-metal music.  There is a sub-plot of some kind involving one ninja from another village who is possibly the cause of the alien invasion, but a) it's hard to even tell as the teenage-ninja character is so unresponsive covered facial in blood, and b) who cares?  Whenever "plot" is dealt with or most stuff involving what the director and his writers think is "funny" one cringes.  

That the aliens don't show up until twenty-minutes in (a 70 minute movie mind you) is also a little wrong-headed.  But, thankfully, there are set-pieces here, fights between, say, a female ninja and the alien that turns into just outrageous sexual innuendo that it turns into the hilarity.  Anything involving blood, dismemberment, impaling, sickening disengagement of the little pink aliens, and the big climactic fight where swords clash and the alien at one point takes flight in the sky, carries the guilty pleasure modus operondi - after all, it's a Japanese B-genre movie that can sell itself many times over before the movie even begins.  

I couldn't in good conscience recommend it as a solid piece of entertainment, albeit it's still preferable in overall execution to what it's kind of knocking off, Alien vs. Predator.  But if you got some friends and want to Mystery-Science-Theater the hell out of it, it's recommended.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 4 limbs

and not to be outdone - BLACK DYNAMITE!!!

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