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NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Justin Timpane

Starring:
Jay Saunders
Devon Marie Burt
Cory Okouchi
Daniel Ross

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Aaron and Alex are attacked by vampires just after Aaron gets the "let's just be friends" talk from Alex, his female friend. The pair are saved by ninjas. Alex doesn't remember anything, but Aaron does and proceeds to do some spying to find out what the hell's going on. Turns out that the owner of local comic shop, Cole, is a ninja. Cole is joined by his friends Kyle, Ann and Lily (a vampire who refuses to do the whole feeding on humans thing) who work together to protect the innocents of their town from a group of vampires led by Seth. When Seth gathers the big kahunas of the vampire world to plot humanity's demise, Aaron vows to help the Cole and the gang defeat the suckheads so he can save Alex (and hopefully score boyfriend points in the process).

Is it good movie?

After the wacky hijinks of NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES were such a smash hit (or so I've heard), writer/director Justin Timpane is back with NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES, now with a smaller budget! Okay, I know that it's not fair for me, the so-called reviewer, to pre-judge a movie like this. I went into this film with no pre-conceived notions (besides the view that the film would suck), and after seeing it, I can say that I was surprised. I mean sure, the film is bad, but it's at least entertaining in some form or another.

Timpane must have known what he was getting into, and thankfully the film moves along at a quick pace, moving from action sequence to action sequence without being too bogged down with what little story there is with this film. When it does settle down, there's enough here to actually care (somewhat) about the characters. Most of the attention is focused on Aaron and Alex, since they have at least some sort of thing going on, whereas the rest of the cast are cartoon characters. Fun ones, at that.

The film thankfully doesn't take itself seriously, and as such we're treated to cheesy dialogue and one-liners (mostly from Daniel Ross as Kyle) that is fully aware of the type of 'film' that it's in. There are also plenty of nods to other film franchises and pop culture in the dialogue, which honestly is kind of fun. Imagine back when you were a kid, and you were playing G.I. Joe or something with your friends. You had to think of something witty to say when you had the bad guys on the ropes, right? Think of the dialogue in this sense. Yeah, it's lame, but the idea is that it's fun.

I mentioned before that the film was made on an even smaller budget than NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES, and it shows. Besides feeling like it's just a bunch of drunk college guys fooling around with a friend's camera for the weekend, the CG effects are, well, laughable. Trying to do the BLADE-type of vampire death (ie. bursting into flame) on a budget has less than satisfactory results. It's made even worse by the fact that the CGI blood and severed limbs/heads during the action sequences don't look that much better. The editing tries to cover it up by doing lighting-fast cuts, but it's still obvious. The budget also limits the costumes, which like the CG, are pretty bad. Besides Kyle looking like a pudgy white version of Wesley Snipes, some of the vampire crew look like they just said 'F*ck it!' and robbed a costume store. Also, in case you didn't already get it, being the cheesefest that it is, some of the dialogue is (as expected) just plain horrible, along with some of the acting. It's not terrible enough to stop you from watching, but it's still aggravating at times.

Once the last bad CG effect has burped its way onto the screen and disappeared, what's to say of NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES? Well, it ain't high art, but it was never meant to be. The simplistic story, one-note characters and amateur look of the film aren't going to win over many folks, but fans of the original NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES will definitely appreciate more of what Timpane and crew have done here. The rest of us can enjoy a good drinking game from it, while the rest of the rest will pass (though they shouldn't).

Video / Audio

Video: Screener.

Audio: Ditto.

The Extras

Nada, no chapter stops, no menus. Just the film.

Last Call

A treat for those who loved NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES, Timpane continues the cheesy yet fun romp through silly dialogue and multiple action sequences involving badly costumed characters. It has a certain charm to it. Those looking for an excuse to have fun while getting loaded will appreciate the film more than those who will roll their eyes and look for a film that takes itself a little more serious.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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