NINJA ZOMBIES (directed by Noah Cooper — not to be confused with NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES) is a great little zom-com about friendship, with a healthy dose of ninja zombies thrown in. It’s pretty Kevin Smithian, but with worse acting, less clever dialogue (it tries though), and, well, geekier, if you can believe that. Our main character Dameon (Michael Lee) finds out on his 25th birthday that his ancestors left him a trunk containing an ancient sword that will raise the dead. Of course the dead do indeed raise, and he and his friends have to battle them off, and in the process, discover lessons about life, love, and bromance.
The characters, even if they’re fairly flat, are well-defined: the prissy-but-kind princess (Trish, played by Kylie Gellatly), the geeky cute Asian girl (Kara, played by Arun Storrs), the super nerdy white guy (Luke, played by Michael Castro, who of course falls in love with the Asian girl), and two complete horned up meathead buddies (but even each of them is different). They’re likeable and relatable, except for the meatheads (Greg played by Edward Lee Miller and Larry played by Chris Kulmann), and you kind of get caught up in the characters’ banter. Also, you’d never realize how handy a couple idiot lunks can come in when battling zombies.
They really don’t skimp on the fight scenes. With a movie called NINJA ZOMBIES, you’d hope for plenty of undead sword-fighting ninja action, and it does deliver. The zombie make-up isn’t bad, nothing special but it’s kind of interesting to see the make-up poking out from under ninja head wraps. The only thing that really stands out effects-wise is every time there’s some blood splatter (and it’s all CGI, unfortunately) it purposely ends up on the camera lens (as you can see above). It gets annoying after a while and becomes a little distracting. But yeah who cares really, there’s freaking zombie ninjas fighting a cute Asian girl! It’s all for fun and everyone knows that – including Lloyd Kaufman, who makes an appearance as himself once the zombies really start getting out of control.
There’s some nice flashback/dream/vision scenes that break up our time with the characters. It fleshes out the background of the Hell Sword and adds a bit of style to the flick. There’s also a badass opening sequence, and towards the middle, a short motion comic-ish back story. These guys didn’t forget to add the style. I mean of course it’s not Kevin Smith, but a young Kevin Smith might have admired it.
All in All NINJA ZOMBIES is one of the better micro-budget zom-coms I’ve seen recently. It’s funny, unique, and held my interest throughout (it did lag some in the middle). I love it! I look forward to a sequel – which the film toootally left itself open for. I give it 8/10 katanas. Keep an eye out at NinjaZombiesFilm.com for a DVD coming soon.
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