Earth is recovering from a great war that has left most of the population dead and society, as a whole, fragmented into small pockets of clans, including various groups of ninja warriors. These clans are at odds with each other until Fumitaka (played by good old Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), the overall leader of the five main clans, calls for a peace summit.
Our good guys, in this story, are the Lost Tribe (obviously not really lost since they’re easily found by a nasty tribe led by bully-boy Becker) who head over to the meeting place, an old military bunker, most of which is hundreds of metres underground. The meeting has hardly begun before Fumitaka is assassinated and it looks like the five representatives of the Lost Tribe are being set up to take the wrap. They manage to escape the main meeting hall and then have to use all their wits and fighting skills to try to escape the bunker and to try and clear their names of the murder charge. Not only do they have all the other clan representatives to deal with (including a weird kind of night-crawler ninja group who sense vibrations), but there are also much worse things lurking in the darkness of the lower levels of the bunker, things that won’t die, and look suspiciously like zombies!
Ninja Apocalypse is a fun ride, especially if you enjoy a martial arts movie or three, as I do. There are some fun fights, some daft dialogue and lots of creeping around in dingy corridors trying to avoid monsters and such like. You get the impression that no one really took themselves seriously here and everyone had a good time on the shoot, and that overall enthusiasm is infectious.
There are some inconsistencies (I can’t see a gym locker landing on a ninja actually killing him) and much of the story doesn’t stand up to too much scrutiny, but if you’re after an evening of ‘leave-your-brain-at-the-door’ entertainment you could do a lot worse. Many of the fighters seem to have groovy additional powers and can send electrical energy out of their hands or create fire-balls by building up their chi energies. None of this is explained, but let’s face it, you don’t really need to know because you’re too busy smiling at the crazy ninja action to particularly care.
A couple of points though. There weren’t really many women in this film, which kind of made me wonder how the clans manage to sustain themselves going forward, and there was a bit too much reliance on naff CGI blood-letting. However, any film that features swords that ‘flame-on’ like light-sabres gets my thumbs up.
The film was shot near to Los Angeles and hence some of the, admittedly, rather attractive landscapes in the background were overly familiar, although some of the cool locations were spoilt a bit by some cheesy sfx overlays.
Ninja Apocalypse has recently been released on DVD by Signature Entertainment and the disc reviewed featured no extras – a shame.