Ninja Girl comes to DVD

Tuesday, 11 October 2011 05:01

Rina Takeda (“Karate Girl”) stars in this short and fast-paced martial arts movie about the Iga and Kouga, two rival ninja clans who kidnap and enslave young women to assuage their groups’ personal needs. One of the captives is Kisaragi (Takeda), an elite ninja on a revenge mission. Not only must she thwart the kidnappings and bring the slave traders to justice, but also discover who was responsible for her mother’s capture many years ago.

Once Kisaragi has escaped her bonds, she sets about taking the gang members down one by one. She possesses some mean kung fu skills but the clock is ticking as the other women are in mortal peril. The movie was written and directed by Seiji Chiba, best known for “Alien Vs Ninja”, “Rogue Ninja” and “Evil Ninja”. Clearly this is a man with a bit of a ninja obsession, so has he got anything new or interesting to say about them?

Ninja Girl - out now on DVDOn its own terms, this film has a few things going for it. The action is fast, well choreographed and energetically directed. The accompanying soundtrack is hectic and sweeps the audience along. Takeda moves well and is quite effective as the steely super ninja.

Unfortunately, there is also plenty that is wrong with the film. For one thing the tone is all over the place. I think it is supposed to be like live-action manga, and as such the scenes are short, there is not much dialog and the characters are wafer-thin. There is a strange mixture of light and dark humour, bloody violence and quite a lot of incongruous bullying of and brutality against women that may possibly be realistic from a historical perspective, but in this context feels flippant and in bad taste.

The supporting acting is limp but then the roles are so insubstantial that it would have taken masterful actors to breathe any kind of life into them. The movie looks and feels cheap, as though it was shot on home video. Some moments are comically sped up to further harm any suspension of disbelief. Throw in the fact that the running time is barely 60 minutes excluding credits, and you are left with a supremely disposable martial arts flick which stands little chance on the DVD shelves next to some of the epic releases from Asia past and present.

The only extra on the disc is a trailer, which further exposes the shockingly poor value of this release (RRP £15.99). Had it been launched as a disposable budget release, it might have found a niche.

“Ninja Girl” (2011) is out now, courtesy of MVM. The main feature has a running time of 65 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £15.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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