A Review by Robert Long II ©2010
Written by Daniel Ross, Justin Timpane, Kelly Timpane
Special Visual Effects by Brian Anderson
Produced by Daniel Ross, Justin Timpane, Kelly Timpane, Brian Anderson, Cory Okouchi, Daniel Mascarello, Liz Burgess, and Michael Mead
Directed by Justin Timpane (with Gary Ugarek)
Starring: Jay Saunders, Daniel Ross, Cory Okouchi, Devon Marie Brookshire, Carla Okouchi, Kurt Skarstedt, Melissa McConnell, Elizabeth Taylor, Daniel Mascarello, P.J. Megaw, Will Stendeback, and Justin Timpane
IMDb Synopsis: Ninjas battle Vampires for the fate of the world in this all new Action-Horror-Comedy from the creators of 2010’s cult smash, “Ninjas Vs Zombies”! Moments after down-on-his-luck Aaron is rejected by the girl of his dreams, they both are attacked by blood sucking VAMPIRES. Driven to save her, Aaron tracks down the mysterious NINJAS, who wage a nightly war against the forces of darkness. Now, as the Vampire overlord Seth plots to destroy Mankind, Aaron has only one choice – join the ninjas, save the world, and get the girl… or die trying. Sexy, funny, shocking, and fun, NINJAS VS VAMPIRES delivers an action-packed comedic adventure unlike any other!
It was great to see actors Daniel Ross, Cory Okouchi, Melissa McConnell and Carla Okouchi returning as their characters from the first movie. Once again they come off charming, goofy, and extremely likable. Also returning are Daniel Mascarello, P.J. Megaw, and Will Stendeback, but in heavy costume and/or makeup so that they are unrecognizable from the first movie. Director Justin Timpane takes on a much bigger role as well in the guise of a dope-smoking knower of all that happens within that town as well as its history. Unfortunately his character also doesn’t prove to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.
There are several new actors joining the cast including Jay Saunders, Kurt Skarstedt, Elizabeth Taylor and Devon Marie Brookshire. Saunders joins the band of ninjas and proves himself to be as likable and as skilled as the others. Skarstedt plays the evil head vampire Seth and it is apparent that he truly relishes playing this character. Taylor plays Seth’s right hand henchwoman and worms her way into men’s lives – with fatal results. Brookshire plays Aaron’s love interest and damsel in distress with believability and grace; it also does not hurt that she is very easy on the eyes (of course that could be said about any of the lovely women in this movie).
The fights are as incredible as ever, and I would have to say technically the camera work is smoother and more professional than the 1st film. There is one fight in particular that I really enjoyed. Two of the “seasoned” ninjas take Aaron out to a baseball diamond to hone his skills. At first Aaron really gets his ass handed to him, but as his mojo takes over he finds he is beating the ever living tar out of the other two! This scene is handled extremely well – the acting and action are on point – and the editing is dead on target.
Production Values: The locations are put to good use – including a comic book shop and a large, stately home. How do people get these cool places to shoot? I’m jealous! One bit of business that was worked into the story is how the mansion’s glass windows are treated in such a way that they allow the vampires to be up and about inside during the daylight hours, but step one foot outside into the sun and it means death. The special effects makeup is not as extensive as it was in the first film (when the ninjas battled the undead) but the costuming has become MUCH more elaborate. While I am sure some of the prop weapons are being reused, there are still enough swords, guns, knives, etc. to make a small army envious. The musical score was once again top-notch. Kudos to the crew for doing a fantastic job behind the camera!
Writing-wise the story is very solid. One thing I would point out to the makers of Ninjas VS Vampires is to NOT put in so many “fan boy” references. I say this because their own writing is genuinely good and those quirky asides sometimes distract from that fact. Have more faith in your own writing people – you’re superb at it! Of course I say this at the risk of the filmmakers coming back and saying “But that is the whole hook of the movie – the fan boy references!” However I have to stick to my guns and say that the original material by these people is excellent, and I would like to see more of it.
Brian Anderson had his hands full with the Special Visual Effects this time out. Not only did he have a ton of lightning effects, plasma ball effects and the like to do, but he also had the added responsibility of disintegrating vampire bodies – many of these done in broad daylight! This had to be daunting with how ambitious it was, but I am glad to say that overall Anderson pulled it off with flying colors.
The Bottom Line: sequels are hard to pull off, but NINJAS VS VAMPIRES earns a solid 9/10 epic battles. The good guys are all likable. This movie (as like the first film) holds some surprises; not everyone you want to survive – does. It’s not all comedy people. There is a good mixture of drama and suspense as well. Endlight Entertainment has done it again. I look forward to this getting distribution, as they have another cult classic on their hands. You’re going to have fun with this baby folks. Rent and/or buy it when it comes out. Nuff said.
Want to learn more about this flick and see behind the scene photos? Check out their facebook page HERE.