Films, Horror, Japan, Martial arts, Recommended posts, Reviews, Sci Fi / Fantasy

Alien Vs. Ninja

Aliens? Check. Ninjas? Check. Are we ready to rumble? Hell yeah…

Aliens have been getting something of a tough ride of it lately. First Predators, then Cowboys, now Ninjas. Gosh, why can’t the poor, vicious, murderous beings be left alone to dominate the world with their slimy, tummy loving young!

(What do you mean this isn’t a sequel to Alien Vs. Predator and Cowboys & Aliens? Oh…)

Returning from a mission against a rival clan, a small group of Iga Ninja warriors witness a blazing fireball roaring across the sky and crashing through a forest not far from their village. Rushing to investigate, they soon find a whole lot more waiting for them than they bargained for in the shape of an other worldly being intent on using mankind to host it’s rubbery babies, who then either use them as puppets or just plain ol’ burst from their stomachs as clones of mummy dearest.

Our gang soon realise this is a fight not just for their honour, but the survival of the human race – but what chance to they stand?

Written and directed by Seiji Chiba, Alien Vs. Ninja follows his previous effort Evil Ninja as a somewhat modern and low-budget take on the samurai movie – that is mix in a few other genres and plenty of splatter gore! And thanks to some tight action choreography by Yuji Shimomura (Versus, Shinobi, Death Trance) and Kensuke Sonomura (The Machine Girl, Hard Revenge Milly: Bloody Battle), and reasonable performances from it’s leads Mika Hijii (Ninja, Happy Flight), Shûji Kashiwabara (Evil Ninja, I Am.) and Masanori Mimoto, it’s a lot better than it should be.

Unsurprisingly this is a cut-price take on the Predator and Alien Vs. Predator series, shot digitally and often looking like a lot more was spent on the CGI effects and the gore than the sets, costumes and, dare I say it, script. It’s very much cut from the same cloth as the films of Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl, Robo-Geisha) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl) – not to mention the seemingly endless string of imitators, from Bit Tits Zombie on.

That’s not to say that Alien Vs. Ninja isn’t one of the better examples, the sexual innuendo is not as offensive, and actually there is a hint, just a hint mind, of a reasonable characterisation or two. But it still has that cheap, not fully-formed mentality of low-budget movie, referencing Tremors when the aliens first pop up as they suck their opponents into the ground, only to have them not exhibit this ability again in the film.

The aliens themselves however, in the humanoid, grey blue slimy skin, have an unfortunate (but quite possibly deliberate!) resemblance to homicidal dolphins. Which kind of makes them hard to take seriously, especially when they’re blowing their young out of their multiple blowholes like pink, rubbery snot.

I guess my problem is I’m starting to get rather overwhelmed by the abundance of these cheapo Japanese splatter/sci fi movies, and a little tired of them all doing, effectively, the same thing. Maybe I’d feel better if I knew these directors might use them as stepping stones to more ambitious work. Invariably though, they only seem interested making more of the same! You wonder what Japan’s other directors think of all this, even those that use the same pop-cultural references, like Tetsuya Nakashima or Sion Sono, or what room there is for them in the Japanese marketplace.

But hell, this sure isn’t the waste of space that was Geisha Assassin. Enjoyable but undeniably predictable, this is definitely one for the guilty pleasures pile or a lads night in.

Alien Vs. Ninja is released today by Revolver Entertainment.

Home media details

Distributor: Revolver Entertainment (UK)

Fine transfer, but a rather lacklustre release that has no extras what so extras whatsoever, not even a trailer – just sound and subtitle options.

About the author

Andrew Heskins
Founder of easternKicks.com, which he's been running since 2002. And it's all thanks to Monkey, Water Margin and those damn fantastic 80s Hong Kong action movies! Andy works as a graphic designer in London... More »
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