Asian Horror: Alien vs Ninja
Not Anime But it Could Be
Fans of Asian horror usually appreciate the fusion of fantastical elements with the recognizable. It should be no surprise that this movie was produced by Funimation, a well known producer of anime films and series.
Stars: Mika Hijii, Ben Hiura, Shuji Kashiwabara, Yuki Ogoe, Donpei Tsuchihira, Masanori Mimoto
In the first five minutes of this film we are introduced to a badass Ninja clan escaping from a successful attack. Yes, there is an explosion in the very beginning of this film and that is usually a harbinger of doom but this time it fits the 5% exception rate.
We get cool martial arts scenes only Asians could produce (so much better than protracted American productions) - short, clean, sweet and to the point. We get a weird ninja weapon. We get a hot ninja babe (Mika Hijii). We get a funny guy ninja (he makes the funky weird weapons). We get a meteor falling from the sky. All in the first 7 minutes. Some of the action is obviously CGI but it is done very well and it's very limited and never strikes you in the face with a LOOK AT THIS moment.The few instances where it does you're more amused than disgusted by the cheapness. In short, the director made it work for the movie, not work against the movie. Deft touch.
The meteor they saw was heading toward their village so they beat feet and get there by morning where they are accosted by a foppish fellow villager with a crucifix eye patch. Fop is obvoiusly gay and him and two buddies try bullying the returning ninjas. It doesn't work. But they end up taunting them anyway and we learn that one of them is not a native to the village but entered later, and has a dark cloud about him, probably due to outsider status he's working off. But he has honor.
The three returning ninjas meet with the lord of the clan. (Where did hot ninja go? Not certain here - maybe she wasn't administration material.) The Lord is pretty tough and he's surrounded by guards in black armor and black gas masks. He senses something is afoot, and send them out to investigate the ball of fire that fell from the sky.
Goofy ninja shows off his new weapons, one is a gun. A machine gun. Which accidentally fires into the home of the gay bully villager. Implied hilarity ensues.
Jump to traveling through the woods. Hot ninja is apparently a member of another clan and she and her fellows ambush the first three - but it's all good-natured rivalry and they join forces to investigate the fireball.
The walk to the fireball soon turns into a fight, as something is stalking them through the woods. They encounter a frightened villager. He accepts some food from them but says nothing. A man disappears into the ground then erupts out of the ground in a geyser of blood and mashed parts (think Army of the Dead). Another gets speared from behind by some kind of appendage. The attacker is so fast they can see nothing and continues to waste them. We get over-the-top gore made so famous by Asian directors. (This is not a suitable film for children, unless they are Children of the Corn.) The fight mixes live action, costume and CGI and is gory and artful. Yes the costume is goofy but it's not on-screen for long.
Ninjas retreat. Close up of a survivor, just taking his last breaths. The beast comes up to him and ... well, uses him for a special purpose. I won't spoil it for you. The creature is imaginative and interesting if you can get past its goofy costume appearance you can appreciate the design work that went into it.
Ninjas regroup and try to figure out just WTF happened to them.The frightened villager has also survived (having had the good sense to run like mad as soon as the attack commenced) and lets them know they are up against a monster that destroyed his entire village.
They decide they aren't gonna take this lying down and prepare for combat, setting up a trap for the creature. Night falls. The alien attacks. Although it's a guy in a costume (think Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), its artfully photographed and we never see a full image of it. It succombs to the trap and they kill it.But wait, there's another one! Now you see it clearly and yup it's a guy in a costume but heck, at this point you're ready for it. Oh and look, another one!
The thing has a long tail like the creature in "Alien" that it can retract. The end is split into three "points". The tail is useful but that doesn't prevent the Ninjas from chopping them apart after losing some more members (over-the-top gore warning). At one point an alien attempts to grab the female ninja's breasts. It doesn't go well for him and the sequence is one of the best fight sequences in the movie.
With vanquished alien bodies lying about they see just how disgusting these creatures are, and then one of them is kidnapped by a creature. They are in no shape to pursue.
Morning arrives and they decide what to do. They send goofy ninja back to their clan to warn the villagers. The survivors (hot ninja babe, the villager, and one remaining dude) decide to follow the trail and see if they can rescue their comrade.
Goofy ninja gets home only to discover the alien(s) have already been there and killed everyone. And it's not done. He's chased back to his friends, and it follows, and it brings friends (ninjas from the village now zombified).
A lot more happens. There's a great scene of Pokemon-type pink baby pig aliens that you won't soon forget. If by now you haven't decided to see this movie (or not see it), then there's little more to say. It's the type of over-the-topness fans of Asian horror appreciate. A fusion of plots, good directing, and effective use of CGI and special effects makes you forgive the obvious dopey costuming job. I highly recommend it.
- Alien vs. Ninja (2010) - IMDb
Directed by Seiji Chiba. With Mika Hijii, Ben Hiura, Shji Kashiwabara, Masanori Mimoto.