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NINJA GIRL
DVD. MVM.

Ninja GirlDirector Seiji Chiba certainly likes Ninjas. As well as this, he’s also the man responsible for Alien vs Ninja, Rogue Ninja and Evil Ninja. I can’t say I’ve seen the latter two titles, but AvN was certainly good fun. This production, however, is very much as the budget end of the market – shot on video, with little evidence of post-production grading to give it any depth, and clocking in at just 65 minutes, it feels more like the first episode of a TV series than an actual movie.

Rina Takeda plays a female Ninja who goes undercover as the victim of a pair of women-traffickers who are kidnapping girls to take back to their village and act as ‘tools of pleasure’. The kidnappers have had their genitals removed at birth to stop them from being tempted by the women they kidnap – it’s a family firm featuring several generations of kidnappers, though how having children to follow in your footsteps tallies with castration is anyone’s guess – but are happy to brutalise the girls, especially after Takeda and a mystery man help them escape. While the two kidnappers try to capture their escaped prey, the mystery man is capturing the women and forcing them to have sex with a disease-ridden character he keeps chained up, so that they can then be re-captured and in turn infect the village of the kidnappers.

It’s surprising that, with a plot so frantic and such a short running time, Ninja Girl is actually quite slow for the first 45 minutes. Most of the above information is explained, at length, in large chunks of exposition, and it’s only towards the end that we get a battle between our heroine and the lead bad guy. This fight is a mix of high-quality martial arts and some clunky choreography – close-up facial blows are pretty unconvincing, while the sword play is pretty good. Takeda could have a decent action movie career ahead of her, hopefully in rather better films.

Ninja Girl isn’t dreadful by any means, but it does feel fairly throwaway. As an example of the really cheap Japanese video fillers that we don’t usually see over here, it’s interesting, but as a stand-alone film, it’s a bit too home-movieish to really work.

DAVID FLINT

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