Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DVD Review: Ninjas Vs Vampires


Label: Vicious Circle Films
Region Code: Region 1 NTSC
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 89 mins
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Director: Justin Timpane
Cast: Jay Saunders, Daniel Ross, Cory Okouchi, Devon Marie Burt

I missed out on director Justin Timpane's previous film NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES (2008) but here we are with what I assume is a direct sequel, NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES, a schlocky action-horror-comedy genre mash-up that begins with a painfully awkward maneuver by Aaron (Jay Saunders) as he attempts to break out of the dreaded friend zone with his best friend Alex (Devon Marie Burt), it's painful to watch as she shoots him down, he's a brave man for trying. Luckily for him the failed bid is interrupted when a group of blood thirsty vampires attack. They're goners for sure till a mysterious groups of Ninjas rescue them, staking the vamps who go up in a blaze of flames, it's a very BLADE-like effect. The next day Alex doesn't seem to recall the prior nights events, she's been "glammered" TRUE BLOOD style but Aaron recalls everything, seems he's immune to the glammering,  and sets out to in search of the mysterious saviours which leads him to the Ninjas whom are led by comic shop proprietor Cole (Cory Okouch) and his band of vamp fighting LARP-ers which include a sorceress named Ann (Melissa McConnell), a wisecracking ass-kicker Kyle (Daniel Ross) and a vampire who fights for human kind Lily (Carla Okouchi). Aaron is initiated into he group and thus begins a fun good vs. evil romp pitting Ninjas against vampires.

The vampires are lead by the smug and smartly attired overlord Seth (Kurt Skarstedt) who along with his blood sucking clan are out to destroy all humans using the power of a mystical amulet. His fanged brood consists of his Major Domo (Paul Siebe), Seth's brother Manson (Daniel Mascarello) who dresses like Michelle Pfiefer's Catwoman and speaks like he's channeling Christian Bale's Batman, he one of those so evil he'll kill his own kind types, the cloaked-masked figure The Bishop (P.J. Megaw) who looks like G.I. JOE's Destro or Dr. Doom, and two MAD MAX looking barbarian vamps.  

This micro-budgeted film is a pretty good watch, it plays with vampire conventions and pokes fun at itself and the genre. There's a lot of camp here but it's all in cheesy good fun with tons of action, violence and comedy, it's a well assembled flick but it's hamstrung by some heavy CGI use which I think is the bane of the indie horror flicks these days but I found it tolerable. The film's 89 minute running time moves along at a good clip enhanced by some tight editing and a pretty kick-ass alt. rock/metal soundtrack. The story is a bit convoluted, the jokes are a bit much at times and there's too many characters but it the end it's all in good fun and plenty entertaining.

Highlights for me were actors Daniel Ross and Jay Sanders, very funny guys with some cheese-tastic one-liners, a MATRIX-style training montage, and the overall goofy tone of the film. I was definitely in the mood for a schlocky horror-comedy and that's what I got. The ending of the film sets up a possible sequel that would probably be titled NINJAS VS. MONSTERS - I'm totally game for that, would love to see it ion 2012!
DVD: The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen in Dolby Digital stereo with no subtitles. What we were sent for review is a typical Vicious Circle Films DVDR screener with no menu, no features and a reoccurring "Property of Breaking Glass Pictures" watermark. I can't comment on the features but they are listed below and seem plentiful. The audio and video quality of the screener are decent,  it looks shot on consumer grade digital video, the audio handles dialogue, effects and the heavy rock soundtrack quite well.

Special Features:
- Three Audio Commentaries - Cast - Producers - Director
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Bloopers
- Solarice Music Video "Again to Die" NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES Theme
- Exclusive Sneak Peek NINJAS VS. Comic Books
- Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary
- From Zombies to Vampires Featurette
- Theatrical Premier Featurette

Verdict: NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES is an entertaining flick with tons of action, swordplay, hand-to-hand combat and an over-the-top sense of humor that may not agree with everyone but I dug it. While the CGI doesn't ruin the film for me I would have loved some old school splatter but based on this I'll definitely check out Timpane's previous genre mash-up NINJAS VS. ZOMBI'S. It's a cheesy good time that lovers of schlock are sure to enjoy.
2.5 outta 5

NINJAS VS. VAMPIRE Screen Captures

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