Monday, 23 August 2010
Grimm Up North Movies: ALIEN VS NINJA (Seiji Chiba)
The title pretty much writes the review. This really is exactly what is says on the box - Ninjas fighting Aliens.
No subtleties of characterisation, no intricate narrative set ups. Just 80 minutes of martial arts mayhem and cartoonish gore; a delirious pop-pulp-trash mash-up, harking back to the much-loved catchpenny monster slugfests of Toho Studio’s golden era. The plot, such as it is, is simple to the point of idiocy. Essentially, it’s the set up of PREDATOR in the landscape of THE WATER MARGIN. Two parties of Ninjas are sent out into a large forest to investigate a mysterious meteorite which has fallen close to a neighbouring, rival Han. Their Feudal Lord fears it might contain something of value that he does not wish his enemies to get hold of. In reality, however, it contains - yeah, you guessed it - alien beasties.
From there on in, it’s one long wire-work-enhanced fight to the death. The Ninjas, clad in black leather armour and sporting rockstar haircuts, look more like members of a Japanese heavy metal band (Except, obviously, for the fat, bald, screaming, cowardly comic relief character, who has to be the world’s most unlikely assassin). The aliens look like men in rubber suits - but let’s face it so does Ridley Scott’s ALIEN, probably because that’s what it was.
However, ALIEN VS NINJA director Seiji Chiba is far less concerned than Scott was with creating a credible alien menace. In fact, he’s less concerned than Edward L. Kahn was in IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE. AVN is all about the ass-kicking. This is cinema as Pro Wrestling. It’s a mindless monster manga come to life and coming to a midnight movie screening near you. And it’s a laugh a minute.
Prepare to choke on your popcorn.