Director – Seiji Chiba
Cast – Mika Hijii, Ben Hiura, Shûji Kashiwabara, Masanori Mimoto, Yuki Ogoe, Donpei Tsuchihira
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Japan’s recent trend of insanely awesome, gory, and ridiculously-plotted horror films like The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police continues with Alien vs. Ninja, a weaker flick compared to those just mentioned but nonetheless a crazy experience fitting for this pseudo sub-genre. The Japanese take on AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Alien vs. Ninja fails to deliver a high quality film, but should be enjoyable to some with its copious amounts of gory mayhem, epic battles, and lots of cheezy fun so long as you can look past its faults.
When a fiery object crashes in the forest nearby a small village, the battle-proven warrior ninjas of the Iga clan are sent to investigate the matter and come across their toughest foe yet: a bloodthirsty alien species not of this earth.
The title says it all: this flick is about aliens fighting ninjas, and the idea is pretty damn awesome. I love films involving aliens, and naturally I enjoy martial arts films as well, so when the two are combined you get not only two of the coolest elements imaginable, but an experience yet to be used in the horror genre.
It takes little time before things get started, and once things get going the alien ass-kicking never relents. This truly is a simple film, with the vast majority of the story centering around the battle between the aliens and the ninjas, and everything else coming lower on the pedestal. We get a fair amount of comedy thrown in as well, which should come as no surprise given the film’s not-so-serious nature. Coming in at a brisk 80 minutes, there is little room for character development, as well as involving other characters not part of the ninja squad. However I did enjoy the usage of the characters, namely how they were employed as far as who was killed and when. If you want a good beer-n-wings flick where you can turn off your brain and enjoy then this storyline has all of the necessary elements(or lack thereof) to give you what you need.
Director Seiji Chiba did a mostly-positive job with his execution of this low-budget watch, making the most of his unique and beautiful sets as well as only using CGI when need be, which was quite often given the insane acts that are taking place that could pretty much never be done with live-action FX. His execution of the action is good, with positive fight scenes that I found exciting and thankfully gory as well. Some of the gore is CGI, but a good majority is straight up live-action cheeze that I loved and found necessary in order to sell an 80 minute film with a simple story to me. The look of the aliens was awesome, and not in a scary way, but awesome in how ridiculous they looked. Simply put, it was as if they were modern day Godzillas that stood about 7 feet tall, and even mimicked the hilarious execution we saw with the earlier Godzilla films consisting of a man in a flimsy suit. You won’t have any nightmares thanks to the aliens in this flick, but you may find yourself pointing and laughing at times, and I think that was Chiba’s goal.
Overall, Alien vs. Ninja is another cheezy Japanese film in the vein of The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police that delivers fun and zany horror, but suffers budget issues that keep it from greatness. Recommended if you are out of crazy Japanese horror to watch, just know what you are getting yourself into.