Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

'Cyber Ninja' has it all except the kitchen sink

Cyber Ninja (1988)
Starring: Hanbei Kawai, Hiroki Ida, Shôhei Yamamoto, Eri Morishita, Makoto Yokoyama, and Masaaki Emori
Director: Keita Amemiya
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

In the far future, the Suwabeh Clan is locked in a final desperate battle against a society of techno-demons who are turning human warriors into cybernetic ninjas while preparing for when the Stars Are Right to unleash their demon god upon the world. At the eleventh hour, they receive surprise assistance from one of the cyber ninjas, who is on a quest to reunite his soul with his body.

"Cyber Ninja" is probably some sort of mile stone in cross-genre craziness. The film covers the fantasy aspect with sorcery and echoes of ancient Japan feudal culture with its princesses, house retainers, ninja, ronin, and samurai, and it hits the sci-fi genre with giant battle-mechs--that mirror the fantasy aspect by looking like pagodas--and armies of robot ninja vs. cybernetically enhanced samurai, and it brings in horror with some fairly dastardly demons and the uber-demon they are about to summon to ravish the world.

Unfortunately, it's not an achievement in story-telling, and all those various elements just sort of swirl around and bump into each other in a chaotic mess that makes very little sense. However, I think this is one of those movies that 10 year old boys will get a huge kick out of. They will be so enamoured with the robot ninjas, waving swords and giant battle-mechs they won't notice the complete lack of logic to much of the activities by both the good guys and the bad guys, nor will they notice that the battle-mechs look more like a row of outhouses than the mechanized castles they're supposed to be. Kids might not even notice how absolutely rediculous some of the voice acting in the dubbed version is. (The Dark Bishop would have been laughed out of Evil College with a voice like that.)

Trivia: Director/co-writer Keita Amemiya created several genre-mixing movies and anime series during the 1980s and 1990s, the most famous of them being the "Zeram" movies and cartoons. He was also the main creative force behind the sci-fi/fantasy film hybrid "Moon Over Tao".

The deadliest of blogathons....

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