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Ninjas vs. Monsters (Review)

An entertaining thrill-ride of martial arts, magic, monsters, and mayhem!

by Randy Krinsky

Writer/director Justin Timpane and executive producer Eduardo Sanchez, of The Blair Witch Project fame, bring us the final installment in this supercharged trilogy of paranormal ninjas as they throw down with a bevy of classic monsters!  Hot off their previous exploits (see 2010’s Ninjas Vs. Vampires), our plucky team of sarcastic adventurers are thrown into their latest predicament, when they are forced to join up with another team (what are the odds?) of highly-skilled ninjas once it is revealed that the famous monsters of yesteryear are coming their way.  The masters of horror themselves, Dracula, the Mummy, the Wolf-Man, and Frankenstein (Dr. Frankenstein himself, not his creation, although he does look quite a bit like the monster of lore) are on a mission to rid the historical timeline of our zombie-busting, vampire-staking ninja heroes!  

Ninjas vs. Monsters
Directed by Justin Timpane
Cast Daniel Ross, Cory Okouchi, Jay Saunders
Release Date 3 February 2015
Randy's Grade: B-

I never watched any of the previous films, though I am intrigued to do so now.  Luckily, the backstory is summed up pretty well courtesy of an action montage and voiceover by the acerbic Kyle (Daniel Ross).  Kyle is the viewer’s guide as we navigate the twists and turns of this exciting storyline.  He keeps us grounded by reminding us that it’s all in fun.  It is an entertaining thrill-ride of martial arts, magic, monsters, and mayhem, and, most importantly, it’s an eye-wink to all those that came before. 

The film is chock full of pop culture references, most notably Ghostbusters, Twilight, “Firefly,” and a full-on “Tell-em Steve Dave” reference from Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse!  At one point, a character even makes note that the plural for ninja is ninja, not ninjas, so the film even makes fun of itself!   The pacing of the film could sometimes be frenetic and the fight scenes though edited to appear lightning quick, at times fail to give that impression.  The lighting was uneven in places and I found that to be a little distracting. 

The film does get points for Nick Bognar’s theme, “Ninjas vs Monsters” – an original and infectious song.  The film might not be of the highest production quality but you are still going to have fun watching.  The enjoyment comes mainly from the interaction of the cast, consisting of Eric (P.J. Megaw), Randall (Dan Guy), Kyle (Daniel Ross), Aaron (Jay Saunders), Alex (Devon Brookshire), and Cole (Cory Okouchi), each with their own supernatural ability or fighting style.  The innocent, child-like Randall, who in the film is actually the most powerful of the bunch, is portrayed beautifully by Dan Guy. 

Jay Saunders is another standout as the soul of the group; the perfect blend of sentiment with monster-killing fury.  On the monster side of the cast, Frankenstein is the standout.  Portrayed by Elliott Kashner, Frankenstein comes off as a villainous Jesse Eisenberg, whose jocularity is all the more unsettling and evil when juxtaposed with his monstrous appearance.  Another character of note is Samantha the witch, portrayed by Vicki Parks, whose playful use of dark humor steals any scene in which she appears.  When you see the film, your favorite character, as was mine, will be Kyle.  He’s the aforementioned eye-wink asking us not to take everything so serious.  His infectious demeanor and sharp wit, along with his impressive array of weaponry, easily make him a fan favorite. 

In true cinematic style, I accepted Kyle’s invitation to suspend my disbelief and just  sat back, relaxed and went along for the ride.  Keep in mind that this was a fan-funded film, so the budget might not have allowed for the best made movie, but that didn't stop them from giving it their all!  So, if you like to see wise-cracking supernatural "ninjas" fight it out with martial arts-expert horror icons, this is definitely the film for you!  But remember, don’t take everything so serious and just have fun!

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