Director: Justin Timpane
Writer: Justin Timpane
Starring: Jay Saunders, Daniel Ross and Cory Okouchi
Release Date: May 2011 on DVD
Official Site: www.ninjasvsvampires.com
Sometimes it takes a certain perspective to be able to review an indie film… a special sense of disbelief if you will. Such was my experience with one of the latest films released by Breaking Glass Pictures in collaboration with Vicious Circle Films, Ninjas vs Vampires. An apparent sequel to 2010’s Ninjas vs Zombies, also directed by Timpane, this new film follows a “down-on-his-luck” guy named Aaron (Jay Saunders) and his wannabe girlfriend Alex (Devon Marie Burt) as they are drawn into war between a coven of vampires led by Seth (Kurt Skarstedt) and a group of ninjas.
However, these are your regular breed on ninja– they’re more of the Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja)/ Fred Ward (Remo Willaims) class of ninja, meaning they’re not remotely Japanese or particularly stealthy. Admittedly this was disappointing at first, perhaps less so if I had seen the first film, but it doesn’t necessarily ruin the premise either. What does mar the film, however, is an indecisive narrative style which floats between what the press material touts as an “action-horror-comedy.” The resulting mix drags the film down from being as enjoyable as it could have been if dedicated to one genre.
While there are moments of comedy that emphasis the outlandish nature of the film’s plot, most of which are courtesy of Kyle (Daniel Ross), these moments are left mute when the film enters “Underworld-mode.” This schism is made further evident by the action-oriented soundtrack and some slightly derivative costume design for the vampires (a little less so with the ninjas). Not all vampires have to wear black or look like they shop at Hot Topic– just saying.
The film does deserve some accolades for its fight choreography courtesy of Daniel Mascarello and P.J. Megaw– it’s some of the best fighting sequences I’ve seen from an low-budget indie film and really helps to accelerate the pace of the film. Likewise, the aforementioned Daniel Ross gives us some of the best lines in the film. He’s sorta like the Michelangelo (TMNT) of the group and his charisma as Kyle yielded what was by far my favorite performance.