Ninjas vs Vampires (2010)

Posted: December 11, 2011 in 2 stars, Ninjas vs Vampires, Reviews
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Ninjas vs Vampires juuust misses greatness by, say, 35 minutes.

I didn’t know anything about it going in and was, to put it mildly, not expecting much; but the movie got on my good side in the very first scene, which was a vampire slaughtering a girl wearing an “I ♥ Edward” t-shirt, and for a while it just went uphill from there.  The main action starts out with…

…Okay, let me see how much of this I can keep straight with almost no cast pictures on IMDB.  I’m so awful with names that I just don’t even try anymore.

Anyway.  The action starts out with the lead guy, who is probably Aaron (Jay Saunders), proposing relationshiphood to his best friend, whose name may or may not be Ann (Melissa McConnell, possibly, but whoever it is has a thankless role that largely consists of pretending to forget what everyone was talking about two seconds before).  The proposition does not go well, so it’s probably just as well that they’re abruptly attacked by the most hilariously scene-chewing vampires since Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter.  But!  Suddenly they’re saved by ninjas!  Well, sort of ninjas.  It’s two white frat guys, a female vampire who doesn’t drink human blood for some reason, and a witch who looks like her role ought to be just to stand there and remind us of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But they do martial arts a lot.

Wanting to figure out what’s going on, Aaron winds up hooking up with the sort-of-ninjas just in time to get sucked into some sort of ill-defined war between them and the Vampire Overlord (P.J. Megaw, who manages to recite the most absolutely inane dialogue in a way that… well, okay, it’s still wooden.  But it’s highly glossed and beautifully carved wood, wood that gleams in the lamplight as if to say “Look what an awesome example of the woodcarver’s art I am.”  It is wood with no higher goal than to be the very best wood it can be, and it does a pretty damn fine job).  His sidekick, I swear to God, is like The Vampire Snooki.  I love her.  The whole movie could have been about her and I would have been happy.

Aaron, as I say, hooks up with the ninjas, manages to become a ninja himself through virtue of some unconvincing special effects on the witch’s part, and follows them through a number of ridiculous fight scenes and glorious geek in-jokes until the vampires kill one of the ninjas and kidnap Aaron’s girlfriend, kick-starting the Final Battle.  I don’t know, it’s not one of those movies you can describe.  It has to be experienced.

On most levels the movie succeeds beyond the wildest expectations that could reasonably be attached to its $15,000 budget.  The acting is a sight better than I’ve seen in a lot of movies with ten times the money to blow.  The special effects are less heinous than might be expected.  The jokes are actually funny.  The plot is inane, but if you are expecting deep plot from a movie called Ninjas vs Vampires then I do not know what to tell you.  The real problem is that at a run time of 89 minutes, the movie outstays its welcome.  If it were a 30-minute short then it would be an invaluable gem, partly because there wouldn’t have been time for the obligatory Scenes of Great Pathos which are frankly almost never a good idea in comedy and don’t work here either.  To be honest, I’m not sure why it wasn’t a 30-minute short; it’s not as if it was going to open on four screens in every cineplex in the country.

Despite its mild drag, though, the movie is great fun, and definitely worth a watch if only for the first 30 minutes or so.

So what’s the verdict?  Two stars.  It would have earned another one if half the length and all of the Srs Bizns scenes had been edited out.  Still, I was entertained enough by it that I might try to track down Ninjas vs Zombies, the first film in the franchise, which is sadly on neither Netflix nor Amazon Instant Video.

 

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