Alien vs. Ninja (2010)
By: Paul Ryan on March 12, 2012  | 
Madman | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | Japanese DD 5.1 | 81 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Seiji Chiba
Starring: Masanori Minamoto, Shuji Kasawabara, Donpei Tsuchihira, Miki Hijii, Yuki Ogoe
Screenplay: Seiji Chiba
Country: Japan
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Many years ago in Feudal Japan, a band of Iga Ninja warriors – the dashing leader Yamata (Masanori Mimoto), second-in-command Jinnai (Shuji Kasawabara), token hot babe Rin (Mika Hijii), and bumbling, cowardly comic relief nerd Nezumi ( Donpei Tsuchihira) - witness a mysterious fireball crash into a forest. From this debris an alien creature emerges and multiplies, controlling some of villagers, and bloodily eviscerating others. It's up to these bickering shinobi to take back the village and put a stop to the beast, though their own pronounced incompetence and tendency to drool over the one female in their group frequently gets in the way...

Yeah, with a title like Alien Vs Ninja, there's not a lot else to describe in terms of story here. Cheap and cheerful, there's some fine action choreography from Yuji Shimomura (Versus) and Kensuke Sonomura (The Machine Girl), and fun monster design in the bipedal, eyeless – and oddly dolphin-headed – aliens. Sure, the aliens are flagrantly rubbery – and perhaps a tad too Giger-esque, porpoise element notwithstanding – but they're amusing to watch in action. The tone is broad and silly, but not to the overbearing extent of some other Japanese fantasy mash-ups like Sword of Alexander and Monkey Magic. There's slapstick bumbling, comical gore and the unique sight of zombified ninjas repeatedly chanting "fuck you" (in English, no less). The design isn't exactly faithful to the period, with ninja costumes that look like up-market paintball duds, but it fits the anarchic, intentionally anachronistic tone of the film.

Writer/producer/director Seiji Chiba keeps things brisk and action-packed, which helps to overcome some oft-iffy CGI and slightly muddy digital camerawork. While it isn't the instant cult film it eagerly craves to be, Alien Vs Ninja moves fast – if not ninja-fast – and mostly keeps to the right side of silly.
Apparently shot on digital, this has a smeary appearance, with surprisingly dull colours for such an over-the-top romp. I'm not sure if this is inherent in the source material, but it could certainly look a bit brighter. English subtitles are available, and are readable and well-timed.
The two Japanese tracks - in 5.1 and 2.0 respectively - are strong and effective, with some potent surround effects in the former. I only sampled the 5.1 English dub, but the audio mix is much flatter and artificial (even in terms of foley effects) compared to both Japanese tracks.
Extra Features
I don't count the optional English dub as a bonus feature, so the only extras here are the original trailer and a clutch of Eastern Eye trailers for Big Tits Zombie, Yatterman, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, Legend of the Fist and Ip Man – The Legend Is Born.
The Verdict
There's a certain level of expectation that comes with a title like this, and while AvN: Alien vs. Ninja, doesn't go above and beyond, it doesn't disappoint either. Schlocky, silly and certainly gooey, it's more than acceptable beer-and-pizza viewing.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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