Lionsgate // 2009 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 28th, 2013
They are the perfect weapon.
Ninja Masters tells the story of young woman, skilled at martial arts, who transitions from a bodyguard to a fearsome pugilist in an illicit, underground fight ring. Why is she forced to do battle in such grimy conditions? Because the power couple she was guarding get themselves kidnapped and to get them back requires plenty of throttling. Why? Just because.
That's that, as our heroine embarks on a series of not-so-compelling hand-to-hand sequences. The plot that carries her from encounter to encounter fails to total anything more than a simple skeletal frame to keep the thuds coming. But, as I tend to say when it comes to actioners -- particularly straight-to-DVD imports with low-to-zero expectations like this one -- I am quick to forgive a lack of transfixing narrative.
You want to be incoherent and derivative? Fine. We both know why I'm here and it's not to be wowed by Shakespearean plot machinations. Give me the beatdowns. Give me the elbows to the skull. Lay the brouhahas on thick and juicy and I'll merrily look past story shortcomings.
I suppose you can see where this is going.
Ninja Masters fails to deliver much of anything approaching robust action. Luxia Jang, the headliner, has an okay assortment of moves, but the choreography never produces memorable moments. She's athletic and skilled, yet can't bring the production north of mediocre.
Really, when you get right down to it, what irritates me the most is that throughout the film there are no ninja masters. At least no one dressed up like the poor sap on the cover of this DVD. Come on, man.
The DVD: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround (original Mandarin and English dub), English and Spanish subtitles, and a making-of featurette.
Guilty. Though credit to the ninjas for their impressive invisibility.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Mandarin)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated