Ninja Badass | Film Threat

COMING TO THEATERS PREVIEW! I’ve spent my fair share of time in underground Asian video stores perusing the multiple shelves and bins of imported martial arts movies. So it’s not lost on me that the genre has a massive following in the State. I just didn’t think the Midwest was a significant hub of fandom until I saw Ryan Harrison’s WTF comedy film, Ninja Badass.

Running at over 100 minutes, Ninja Badass has a simple plot—which should say a lot about the film. Writer/director Ryan Harrison stars as Rex, a useless white guy who lives in a small redneck town and makes out with a plastic doll on his mother’s couch. By mistake, Rex uncovers a sinister underground cult known as The Ninja VIP Super Club. It’s led by the menacing Big Twitty (Darrell Francis), who over the years has become a powerful supernatural entity by drinking the blood of hot women and cute puppies.

Rex is thrown into the mix when he falls hard for a hot chick, who then is kidnapped by a team of Ninja VIPs. In a futile effort to save her, Rex is saved by a sensei in army fatigues, known as Haskell (Steven C. Rose). Unfortunately, Haskell’s arm is ripped off in trying to stop Big Twitty. Not to worry, Haskell uses his ninja power to grow it back, but for now, his arm is a long sausage with a tiny hand attached at the end. In the meantime, he vows to train Rex to become a ninja, like him, and save the town’s hot chicks and cute puppies.

“…vows to train Rex to become a ninja, like him, and save the town’s hot chicks and cute puppies.”

On first impression, I’d describe Ninja Badass as a silly and insane homage to the over-the-top karate films of the 70s and 80s (my favorite being The Flying Guillotine). But, I’ll say this, Ryan Harrison is clearly a fan of these old martial arts films and has put massive effort into making a faithful parody of the genre while incorporating his midwestern life. Even better, I see no indication whatsoever that Harrison has ever taken a martial arts class at any point in his life. Yet, as chaotic as the story feels, we have a cohesive story that goes off in several directions while still feeling focused.

As a comedy, Ninja Badass serves up one hilarious joke after the next. The jokes lampoon everything and everything, including h***y rednecks, corrupt town leaders, ninja henchmen, and a complete lack of knowledge of Asian customs and cultures. I’m still laughing at Haskell’s dubbed dialogue and his not-even-close-to-fluent Japanese.

Here’s the real reason to watch Ninja Badass. It’s a visual feast of rotting food for the eyes, and I’m pretty sure the lion’s share of the film’s budget went to the practical gross-out gags and make-up, plus a plethora of violent visual effects. The film is loaded with ample amounts of decapitations and dismemberments. Gallons upon gallons of blood are sprayed, thrown, and dumped in this gory mess. There are also plenty of CG effects for a half-dozen explosions, various training segments involving dangerous farm animals, and a room full of cute puppies.

Ultimately, the uber-low-budget film is about a bunch of losers ripping each other to pieces, and if that’s not a reason to see Ninja Badass, I don’t know what is. The humor is sophomoric at best, and again if that’s not a reason to see this film… Finally, I’d like to mention my favorite scene involves both boobs and bacon. I love this movie, and it will make the perfect palette cleanser for the uptight Hollywood dreck in theaters now (I’m talking about you, Downton Abbey).

Ninja Badass comes to theaters and VOD on Friday, June 10, 2022.

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