Friday, February 20, 2015

Ninjas Vs Monsters – review

Director: Justin Timpane

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

The sequel to Ninjas Vs Vampires, this is actually the third in the film series (and I confess, at time of writing this I still haven’t gotten around to the first flick, Ninjas Vs Zombies) and the filmmakers clearly gained access to a larger budget and the film actually has had a Blu-Ray release (so I apologise for the screenshots, which have been picked up from the net – Blu-ray won’t let me screenshot). The UK Blu-ray has the full film of Vampires Vs Ninjas as an extra.

Sam Lukowski as Dracula
Following a group of people who gained ninja powers to fight dark magic encroachments into our world; at the end of Ninjas Vs Vampires it appeared that Kyle (Daniel Ross, Vampire Sisters & Mrs Amworth) had died – self-sacrificing himself for the greater good. At the coda to the film (6 months later) he reappeared and warned the others of monsters. This is where the first issue with this film is found. We are in a world where Dracula (Sam Lukowski) has reappeared but we don’t know how.

Carla Okouchi as Lily
We discover, in short order, that brothers Eric (P.J. Megaw) and Randall (Dan Guy) have turned to good and the main surviving Ninjas – Kyle, Cole (Cory Okouchi) and Aaron (Jay Saunders) are busy fighting monsters, aided by Aaron’s girlfriend and psychic Alex (Devon Brookshire). We also discover that Cole’s lover – the vampire Lily (Carla Okouchi) – is now a consort of Dracula… we just don’t know how. There has been a definitive period of time between the end of the second film and this one that has been missed and any event that took place in that time is simply taken as read rather than explained.

Devon Brookshire as Alex
The thrust of the story is that the good guys – along with a new ninja, Step (Jasmine Guillermo) – have been chosen by Dracula to battle him and his monsters for the fate of the world in a mystical arena. With Dracula are Victor (Elliot Kashner), as in Frankenstein, who has made a monster out of himself, the Mummy (Daniel Mascarello), the Wolfman (Lyon Beckwith) and the three witches Maeve (Mina Noorbakhsh), Samantha (Vicki Parks) and Circe (Tori Bertocci). What follows is plenty of fighting – think Monster Brawl but with an actual story.

Aaron and the Mummy
However, whilst it does have a story and has much improved filming techniques and effects (compared to its predecessor movies), it has lost the characterisation that offered the previous film the heart, which in turn made it watchable. Slicker – but if you hadn’t known the characters you’d be left… not lost but uncaring. Daniel Ross is still wisecracking as Kyle, Jay Saunders remains very personable as Aaron and Dan Guy is great fun as Randall but I was left thinking the filmmakers had done the characters a disservice.

It’s all a shame because you could kind of see the heart the previous film had but it was off in the distance. 5 out of 10.


Alex said...

Dr. Frankenstein turned himself into a monster? Interesting. Does the movie elaborate on exactly how that was done?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

unfortunately not Alex