|Copyright 1988 and 1994 Namco Ltd.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 24 February 2002.
- The Cyber Ninja - A master warrior, named Shiranui, who was captured by the evil forces and transformed into a boosted fighting machine. Not very ninja-ish, but you can hardly blame me for the movie's title.
- Jiromaru - Really, really devoted to his older brother, then he died.
- Akagi - Successful (still breathing) mercenary who undertakes dangerous missions for the Suwabeh clan.
- Princess Saki - Methinks they have been interbreeding for too long; this girl has some serious duck feet.
- Mecha Ninjas - Robotic versions of Sand People that look silly when charging.
- Cyber Anubis - Confused? I had not heard about him before either. Destroyed.
- Shoki - Do not try to sneak up on this boss. You have to wait for him to turn around before chopping his head in half.
- The Bishop of Darkness - Part zebra, part spider, all poor selection of voice talent for the dubbing. Skewered.
|Sometime in the distant future, the Suwabeh clan is losing their war against the Lord of Darkness and his army of mechanical ninja. So the text informs us, but it is followed by a confusing stream of film. Most of the Suwabeh warriors are outfitted with samurai swords, though both sides have laser weapons and battlemechs. To add more entropy to the mix, the mecha ninja shoot laser bolts that transform into shuriken upon impact.
I should also tell you that the battlemechs appear to be transformed dwellings or palaces. One disturbing version of the Lord of Darkness' especially resembles a line of laser-blasting outhouses.
Shiranui charges through the melee, cutting a swathe through the evil troops by virtue of his skill. The handy-dandy "spirit sword" doesn't hurt either, but its exact powers are never explained. Maybe the name just sounds cool, like having a pair of Keds back in the 80's. Anyway, eventually Shiranui falls in battle, leaving his distraught younger brother to ineffectually stumble across the field before getting zapped. The clan's princess looks on with tears on her cheeks. I have a hard time describing all this because nobody says much of anything. The Lord of Darkness is triumphant, Suwabeh must continue their fight as guerrillas, I have a bag of wet rice in my shorts - somebody talk!
Cut to a helmeted warrior slicing up mecha ninja like they were pitiful opponents. This is our cyber ninja, though from what I can tell, the body is completely robotic with an electronic imprint of the man's brain. He is neither quiet nor stealthy, nor does he possess other assassin qualities - he's more like a robotic samurai. Akagi meets the mysterious fighter and bars him from traveling through territory where "only humans are allowed." The Cyber Ninja seems to shrug before wandering off.
Why do maleficent dictators always use their worst enemy's corpse or life essence to make the ultimate cyborg warrior? Sure, it's sinister; it is also gosh darned stupid. Find a fanatical, loyal sword master among your own followers and turn him (or her, be it Meg Foster) into the walking Cuisinart. The good guy is going to remember love or mom or flowers or his girlfriend, then all heck will break loose.
At the Center for the Advancement of Darkness (CFAD), the aptly named Bishop of Darkness is fretting over the exact point I made in the last paragraph. Soon a foretold eclipse will occur and, when it does, the Lord of Darkness will pass through the barrier between planes and possess a huge oak tree. The management realizes that you might have problems understanding how possessing a tree, even one cultured on human blood, might be beneficial. Please read the "Official Book of Summoning the Lord of Darkness Rites" (hardcover, 288 pg, Mistkatonic Press); try not to be too mortisfied by what you find.
What? The pun? No punish! Ow! Ow!
The broken Suwabeh clan has not been quiescent through the years. In a bid to end the conflict once and for all, they build a huge cannon. The artillery piece will blast the Lord of Darkness and his silly castle to smithereens. In a cruel twist of fate, when the powder shipment finally arrives (and I thought it ran off mako), Princess Saki is captured by evil ninja.
Akagi volunteers to rescue the noblewoman in return for a substantial payment in gold. He also selects five elite fighters from among the clan's ranks. Jiromaru is among them, proving that the "kai meter" worn on his temple is finely tuned to the young man's vengeful spirit.
The company is joined by Mr. Cyber Ninja while storming the entrance to caves under the castle. One fight follows another in this movie and the few times the characters speak it does little for development. In this way the movie resembles any number of Power Ranger type television shows or video games. Imagine that.
Once inside the castle, Cyber Ninja demands the Bishop of Darkness return his soul and human form. Talking the problem over fails, so yet another fight breaks out. The Bishop and all his little cronies are killed at long last, but then the eclipse takes place. The Lord of Darkness possesses Shoki's body, signaling the final battle. Lots of flashes and extravagant "drawn on film with marker" special effects augment the climax; the surviving heroes depart the castle moments before the cannon fires, blowing it to smithereens.
The fighting is average to lackluster, with a script that does little more than mark time between fights. Episodes of "The Electric Company" had a more coherent plot than this movie, but, at least, the running time is mercifully short. Imagining an "uncut, two-hour director's version" of this mess scares me.
Grab your throwing stars and masks! The B-Masters are reviewing ninja movies.
| Stomp Tokyo: || The Hunted |
| Teleport City: || Enter the Ninja |
| The Bad Movie Report: || Ninja Phantom Heroes |
| Opposable Thumb Films: || American Ninja |
| Cold Fusion Video Reviews: || Lady Ninja: Reflections of Darkness |
| Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension: || Super Ninja |
| And You Call Yourself A Scientist!: || Ninja III: The Domination|
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- In Japan, when great houses fight they mean it literally.
- If you only have a short cliff and the scene calls for a long fall, just use slow motion.
- Oak trees drink blood.
- Gods have birthdays.
- Escher spent some time in the Far East designing dungeons.
- Japanese men can be used as prisms.
- The Lord of Darkness' greatest power is the ability to cause hand cramps in any special effects artist who ventures near.
- Opening Credits - Namco! Now, if I only had a controller...
- 9 mins - What are those? Links from a plastic jump rope? Candy? Fossilized squid?
- 18 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A TREE!
- 33 mins - Their power rating is displayed on the headset device. Where have we seen that before?
- 36 mins - I remember that module; there is a secret room behind the dais.
- 46 mins - Not as bad a room as it sounds, they just need to put in more lighting.
- 57 mins - Did he just squint?
- 60 mins - The moon is playing some sort of ring toss game. It must be a sure sign of the apocalypse!
- 65 mins - As Wildstar pulls the trigger...
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Akagi: "My job is to stop all nonhumans from going past this spot. And that includes tricky bastards like you!"
||Bishop: "Master has commanded that I, his Bishop of Darkness, shall not allow Shiranui to put one foot inside this fortress." |
Shoki: "Bishop of Darkness, let me, the great Shoki, eliminate Shiranui and the Suwabeh clan."
||Shoki: "No one can tell me that one cyber ninja can defeat so many of the Dark Overlord's mecha by himself!"
||Cyber Ninja: "Do not stand in my way. I have come to take back my body and soul."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Watch in awe as the Suwabeh clan goes down fighting. Lasers, swords, and dueling houses highlight the battle. |
Don't the mechanical ninjas look silly when they run like that?
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |