Ninjas vs. Vampires. As the name implies, it’s completely over the top goofy, silly, a little stupid, and completely awesome!The film opens with Alex the pretty girl and Aaron, the lovesick “friend.” While professing his love in a horribly awkward fashion, Aaron and Alex are attacked by vampires. Ninjas with superhuman skills come and save them and inadvertently, suck Aaron and Alex into their evil battling world. Hilarity and gore ensures. Over all, I really enjoyed the easy fun of the film, and I literally laughed out loud several times. The story is simple, straight to the point, and not overly creative, in and of itself. What the story is though – is wonderfully funny. And that’s what surprised me the most.A lot of indie film makers try way too hard to prove their movie making chops by being deep or innovative or shocking. And NvV does none of these things. It humbly presents a very outrageous premise in a fashion that’s (reasonably) believable with a healthy dose of laughter. At the very least, you can relate to a “Joe Schmoe” that becomes a ninja and fights evil. Why? Because we want to BE that ninja. Who hasn’t fantasized about being a total badass with a razor sharp wit to go with their razor sharp katana? If you haven’t you’re probably boring. Writer/Director Justin Timpane didn’t spend time cooking up an overly complicated back story for the ninjas either, and I appreciate that. He let the characters speak for themselves. The dialogue was Buffy the Vampire Slayer level of awesome. Witty, clever, humorous, and so geared towards the nerd crowd. Movie jokes, comic book jokes, slapstick jokes. It has what will tickle you.The action was pretty decent and wrapped in tons of laughs.
In addition to the laughs, NvV‘s characters are beyond entertaining. Unfortunately, none of these characters are the vampires. The only one that remotely comes close is the bizarrely child-like girlfriend of the head vampire. The rest are grossly overacted and looked like goth club rejects. It takes more than black lipstick and a bit of leather to make a vamp, I’m afraid. The bloodsuckers missed the mark; as far as I am concerned, they are just vessels to propel the humor of the ninjas. One of my favorite aspects of the ninjas is that they’re just regular people who happen to be gifted with being really good at ninja-ing. Actor Daniel Ross as the super funny just your average dude ninja shines. The delivery of his lines are so well timed and humorous. In addition to Ross, Jay Saunders is also one of my favorites. He’s like a baby Jason Scott Lee. Saunders is pretty much the “Everyman” of nerds as the character Aaron. He’s awkward, horribly nerdy, in love way out of his league, and all of a sudden, empowered by the secrets of the ninjas. We get to see Aaron grow from the “friend” to the “hero” in his love interest’s eyes. I love everything about Aaron. He is thoroughly endearing.
The action is equal parts horrible and great, which balances it out to decent. There are fight scenes that are so slow and ponderous that you can almost hear the actors counting out their choreographed moves. The flow of some of the fights is just too staggered to keep me in the groove. Alternately, there are a few which are surprisingly good. The training montage for Aaron is fantastic and it is wonderful to see the actors doing their own weapons work. The final sword fight is also well done. I bought the three amigos ninjas – Aaron, Kyle and Cole; the girls I was less impressed with; the majority of the vampires not at all.
Like any indie film though, there are a few elements that suffer due to the lack of budget. The special effects for example. Indie films just don’t have the budget for high flash special effects. There are tons of techniques that will get the point across a little more seamlessly, you don’t actually need CGI to tell the story. NvV‘s effects are pretty rough and way too numerous. It would have better served the film if they had been used sparingly or not at all. All of the vampires burst into flames when staked and there is a lot of poorly CGed stakings.
Despite this, the pros by far outweigh the cons. The end result was that I was highly amused and immediately wanted to share Ninjas vs. Vampires with my cohorts. It is, at its most simple, a truly entertaining B-movie. Don’t expect anything profound, just go in looking for a fun and silly action/horror/comedy and you’ll be pleasantly entertained.
Ninjas vs. Vampires will be released May 3rd, 2011 through Breaking Glass Pictures.
Checkout the Ninjas vs. Vampires trailer HERE!