Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ninja Wars - 2.5/5

All I have to say is that these Japanese fantasy Samurai films are some crazy shit. Though I am not a huge fan of Hong Kong fantasy, there is something about these Japanese fantasy flicks that I love. Perhaps it's because they are a little more violent and far less flamboyant than their Hong Kong counterparts. Ninja Wars (aka Black Magic Wars) sure does deliver and offers up some 10s on the "what the fuck" meter.

The plot is your basic love story but it has a ton of crazy shit to muck that simple plot element up. We have a rich Japanese bastard who wants a certain woman and to rule the kingdom. He asks an evil sorcerer for help and the sorcerer sends some of his own sorcerer minions out to capture the woman's twin in order to use her tears to make a love potion (in a spider teapot no less!), or something like that. They capture the twin when she is out having a grand 'ol time with her ninja boyfriend while she runs through a forest, and I kid you not, starts cutting down trees with some light from her finger tips. That's another point for the what the fuck meter! The sorcerers kidnap her by, get this, having one of them spew yellow puke that hardens on her boyfriends face. Chalk another one up on the what the fuck meter! The plot then goes even more crazy as they cut off the girls heads (with a fountain of blood!) and switch them. They eventually get the love potion made but one of the girls escapes with it and the rest of the plot is the sorcerers trying to get her and the potion back while her boyfriend tries to keep her safe.

I had a wonderful time with all the wild fantasy elements from spewing yellow puke, flying sorcerers, bloody decapitations, to super fast climbing ninja but the plot is just a little convoluted and sometimes hard to follow. The love aspect is easy enough but the rest of the plot seems better left not questioning and just enjoying the film from a visual aspect. Sometimes his girlfriend is the impostor, sometimes she isn't. There's also a ninja battle at a castle but to be completely honest I'm not sure the reason why it occurred. No I'm not drunk, the film just doesn't have good flow to the plot despite it being centered around an aspect that is very simple, which is love. Thankfully we also have some nice stylistic directing to keep the eccentric plot moving.

Despite its plot problems I still enjoyed the hell out of this wild Samurai fantasy. Where else can you see projectile yellow vomit, bloody be-headings and a cursed spider teapot? Fans of this sort of cinema will definitely find many aspects to like.

Bonus Rant: I obtained this film in a DVD set called "The Sonny Chiba Collection" but I find that label on this film a little misleading. He is in the film but his role is so incredibly small that he is uncredited! His role also really served no importance to the plot and he could have easily been left out. I thought it was a stretch including the film Legend of the Eight Samurai in the set as Chiba was only a secondary character in that film but this is ridiculous!

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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