Ninja Battle (UK - DVD R2)
The ninjas hide amongst the grubby badness as Marcus reviews this mess
1581. War-torn feudal Japan, the Iga ninja make a final stand as the overwhelming armies of Warlord Oda Nobunaga and the deadly Koga ninja approach. Well that's the backdrop we're told of. Essentially all this actually winds up being is a story about a female ninja, Sawa, who is found tied up in a cave and a group of ninjas question her.
This 66 minute ninja movie is about as cheap and (barely) cheerful as they come. Shot badly with amateur dramatic style acting, it's hard to imagine what the hell anyone would get from this ninja flick. For a start, the title " Ninja Battle" hints at excitement, which comes in small pockets of chaotic, not all that convincing action with dudes in black pyjamas adequately swinging swords about with no convincing purpose. The rest is heavy handed dialogue scenes with jump cuts to past events and a slow reveal about what's actually going on.
This was really the hardest 66 minutes I've had to watch in a long time and it wasn't just the visuals (more on that next). There's a story in here somewhere that could very well have been done some justice if it wasn't for the low budget feel to everything and the totally unconvincing set up. This was mind blowingly half assed, despite the cast giving it their all to sell it. Ninja Battle looks to have come out in 2008 judging by the trailer but in a time where we're told 'anyone can make a movie' Ninja Battle makes me think that not everyone should.
This is hands down the worst looking disc I've ever had to review for DVDActive. The 1.85:1 ratio actually looks like 4:3 stretched to fit 1.85:1 but that's the least of the issues. From the opening black screen with credits, that isn't black but actually grey (and a grubby grey at that), Ninja Battle is just a mess. There's digital noise literally everywhere and it dances all over the screen. Colours bleed all over the place, the wannabe Matrix green hue to the visuals makes everyone look ill. The super soft dull image with its grey but never black patchy shadows are just a disaster and honestly there are no redeeming features about this video presentation at all. Just awful.
The stereo track isn't quite the disaster the visuals were and other than the tinny synth score that bleats on, the dialogue is relatively strong and clear considering the low budget. Sword slashes and clinks all work well, though it is just a wash of sound in the battle scenes as opposed to anything that might generate a style. This track is simply 'okay' on a disc that is woefully below par in all the other departments.
Just the trailer (02:08) here and to make matters even more disastrous, the visuals actually seem better looking than in the actual feature presentation.
2012 is going to have to screw up real bad to beat the bad presentation on this Ninja Battle disc. Across the board, this is a mess. The film, the visuals and the extras are an absolute waste of time. Sure the audio track is acceptable but it's like finding a bon bon in a bucket full of manure. Even the craziest ninja fans should avoid this one.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 6th February 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Japanese
Easter Egg: No
Director: Seiji Chiba
Cast: Ben Hiura, Kentaro Shimazu, Yuka Hoshaku
Genre: Action and Drama
Length: 66 minutes
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