Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where we’re leaving the world of Oscar talent behind for the familiar ground of direct to DVD. This week, we’ll watching 2014’s low budget RedBox filler Ninja Apocalypse.
What’s The Plot?
In a post-apocalyptic world, the Ninja Grandmaster Fukitaka calls together a peace summit of the various clans of super powered shinobi vying for power. After he finishes his convincing pitch, he is assassinated – and his ex-students The Lost Clan are framed for it. Now, the lightning-tossing outcasts must sneak or fight their way past all the clans that want them dead (and some zombies) in order to get home.
Say, that sounds like the plot of another movie. But with ninjas, zombies, and super powers, so more awesome.
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
Honestly, literally no one worth noting. There are a couple of recognizable (if you’re a certain kind of dork) stars in there, but if they were mentioned here…well, the next section would be harder to write.
Five Reasons to See It
- The plot is so transparently ripped off from The Warriors as to be hilarious. For instance: Remember when three of The Warriors party with the girl gang (the Lizzies) and are seduced into letting their guard down? Well, the Lost Clan runs into the all-female Siren ninja clan and are seduced into letting their guard down.
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (pictured above) has the brief role of Lord Fumitaka AKA Ninja Cyrus, and is expectedly amazing. The man should be, by all rights, nerd royalty – he’s done Mortal Kombat (twice), Tekken (twice), Planet of the Apes, Stargate SG-1, Batman: The Rise of Sin-Tzu, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, Babylon 5, The Man with the Iron Fists 2, Elektra, and The Phantom. Even when the thing he’s in kinda blows, he’s still fun to watch in it. He’s great, and adds a star to this movie’s rating by himself.
- The fight choreography’s actually pretty great, with most of the cast appearing to be actual martial artists or at least able to fake it with confidence. Sword fights with extras can be the weakest, though – lots of obvious “I’m holding my sword up so you can hit it” moments.
- Ernie Reyes, Jr. plays the main villain! You might remember him as Keno from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, the hero from Surf Ninjas, or Cemetery Warrior from Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Good to see he still gets work.
- “I live by my own code.” – The dialogue is a storm of Ninja cliches.
From a strictly viewed standpoint, this movie should be deep in the zone of “meh”: it’s a low budget movie that rips off a better cult favorite that’s more of a callous money grab than a nutjob’s dream flick. By all rights, it should be as boring as your average Asylum picture. That said…it’s a rip-off of The Warriors set in a post-apocalyptic bunker with zombies and magic ninjas. It’s a pretty fun watch, all things considered.
A special shout out to my friend Keira, who gave me two great value packs of low budget schlock (one Sci-Fi and one Horror) for my birthday. This is just the first of many blog posts I will get out of them.
NEXT WEEK: The same DVD set that brought us this movie yields 2014’s Icetastrophe, which has been selected on the strength of its title alone.