Ninjas vs. Vampires, 2010.
Directed by Justin Timpane.
Starring Jay Saunders, Daniel Ross and Devon Marie Burt.
After Aaron and Alex are attacked by vampires, Aaron is taken in by a group of ninjas who wage a war against the living dead.
What an age we live in where film titles mostly consist of something versus another thing. We’ve had Aliens vs Predator, we’re set to have Cowboys vs Aliens and for some reason we had Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. Is it a torrent of lazy ideas or is it just streamlining every flick into an ultimate battle? Still, if we’re going down that path, could we at least get something completely off the wall like, oh I don’t know, Scarface vs Thelma and Louise? In the meantime, we’ll go for the more predictable mano-a-mano pairings with Ninjas vs Vampires.
I’ll start by saying I did not hold out much hope for this film to rock my world, but it didn’t turn out to be a shambling corpse. It started off with some terrible contemporary nu metal whilst a shaky camera shows a girl being brutually murdered by a vampire. Couple that with some terrible camerawork and poor lighting and I was almost put me off watching anymore. After being reminded what film we’re watching with a supremely awful logo, we’re onto the protagonists. Cute (sort of) couple Aaron and Alex are attacked by vampires, but the real kink in things is that Alex considers Aaron to be nothing more than a friend. Quite frankly, to them the vampires take second place to this relationship issue. After being rescued by a group of strangely Caucasian ninjas, the couple ignore what just happened and continue to bicker about why Aaron didn’t say anything about his feelings. Typical, eh?
Putting aside the awkward sexual tension, Aaron decides to stalk out the vampires and is rescued, again, by the ninjas. This time, they introduce themselves and give Aaron power to become a ninja, instead of training him in a dojo in the traditional sense. Ninjas are trained in dojos, right? Anyway, we’re also shown the leader of the vampires planning to find ultimate power to take over the world yadda yadda yadda. From here on, the plot goes so textbook that even someone in the next room could probably figure out what happens next. And yet I still found myself being entertained. Now even director Justin Timpane realises that there’s no way anyone could take this seriously, so why bother? Instead of keeping deadpan about the whole thing, we’re given what could potentially be the low budget spiritual successor to the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film; tongue in cheek and self aware.
One of the team of ninjas constantly spouts out wisecracks and nerdy reference without shame. The general dialogue is hammed up to the point that I was crying with laughter. There is no way that the script was written with a straight face. Having them delivered in such a hammy way was the mustard on the bacon; utterly delicious. It completely distracts you from the low budget special effects, bad camera work and having no clue what is going on scene changes to night time. With a bigger budget, this film could have been a cult classic. Unfortunately, the film decides to take itself slightly too seriously in the last half hour and it became a bit too formulaic and just generally dull.
Ninjas vs Vampires is a film that should have been pitched to Robert Rodriguez before sitting back and letting him work his tongues firmly into the cheeks. A cheap knock off that isn’t afraid to snigger at its self and would have no problem if everyone pointed and laughed. It’s hard to sink my teeth into the obvious problems as it’s an entertaining experience at very cheap money. Give this one a rent, but strictly watch it after dark.
Will Preston is a freelance writer from Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website) and makes short films.
Movie Review Archive