Alien vs. Ninja (2010) / Action-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but would probably be R for strong bloody violence, gore, and language
Running time: 80 min.
Cast: Mika Hijii, Ben Hiura, Shuuji Kashiwabara, Masanori Mimoto, Yuki Ogoe, Donpei Tsuchihira
Director: Seiji Chiba
Screenplay: Seiji Chiba
Review published February 28, 2011
For anyone who ever watched the original Alien and wondered what might happen if the deadly Alien encountered a group of Earth's elite warriors rather than a hapless commercial vessel full of average joes, we finally have a movie for you. Of course, that film has already been made, with 1987's Predator, which the plot of this film lifts liberally from.
The premise is a simple one: a meteor crash lands in Japan, releasing a crazed alien hell-bent on destruction, meeting its match when it comes face to face with actual ninjas. With villages being destroyed by the alien, the ninja clan vows revenge.
The alien is basically a guy in a rubber suit with either CGI effects or puppetry employed to create the otherworldly appendages (tentacles and tail) or other effects to combat the ninja horde. It resembles the alien from the Alien films, with a dolphin face and some sort of parasites that pop out of the holes in its head to infect humans and turn them into zombies.
No real attempt is here to make a good movie. In fact, much of the time, Seiji Chiba seems intent to replicate the kinds of cheesy-bad American movies that are rather ingenious in how stupid and over the top one can make an action movie than in telling an organic story. Some of the fighting is nicely choreographed, and it does deliver enough action in its compact 80-minute run time to appease those looking for nothing more than a low-rent sword-chop, but really, it's the kind of junk food clearly created only for those who avidly consume it. All of this would be unfathomably awful if not for the fact that Chiba is playing the entirety of the film for campy laughs. Most scenes play with that knowing wink to the bad cinema crowd yearning for a film with "Alien vs. Ninja" is the title to deliver the so-bad-it's-good entertainment.
It's bad -- real bad -- but as long as you don't mind that going in, there is some humor value in just how strange the film gets. One scene sees a clearly horny alien encountering the sole female ninja, Rin, and wanting to grasp her leather-clad breasts. If you have a group of friends over who all equally enjoy tearing a trashy, absurd B-movie apart, it won't disappoint.
©2011 Vince Leo