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DVD Review: Ninja Collection Volume 1

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Thanks to the Internet's fascination with mixing nostalgia and idiocy, box sets related to robots, zombies, pirates and ninjas have been popping up at a steady pace for the past five years or so. While there are a plethora of great films about zombies and robots, a few about pirates and a couple about ninjas, the majority of the canonical ninja films are either samurai-related or straight-up martial arts flicks. With such a high crap-to-gold quality ratio, how does someone produce a box set featuring only excellent ninja films? If there is ever an answer (or a need for the question to be asked, more likely) to this question, I sincerely hope one of you readers will inform me immediately. What the Ninja Collection Volume 1 does is package films ranging from the absolutely irredeemable through to the so-bad-it's-okay category.

Take heed of my warning, these are not the agile and compelling ninjas of video games and lore, the stealthy beasts of anime and comic books, these are the budget interpretations intended to cash in on the gullible viewer. Films like Ninja Kids Phantom Force and Golden Ninja Invasion serve only to irritate the viewer beyond reproach, replacing buyer's remorse with consumption remorse. At the end of these films you won't feel bad for having bought them, you'll feel bad for having subjected yourself to them. I would pay the asking price just to not have seen the atrocities contained within this set. Be prepared to see ninjas 'disappear' by using their powers of having the camera clearly shifted in between frames in order to allow the actor to get off screen, and to have gangster genre flicks inserted awkwardly into already inexplicable ninja films.

The best any of these films can hope to do is entertain through their horrible subtitles (or just poor dialogue), awful transfers and poorly thought out storylines. These are the kind of ninja films that kids on YouTube put clips up of in order to laugh at them with their friends. In most of these films the fantastic element (genre-wise, not quality-wise) is exaggerated to a ridiculous degree, and so far that it ends up polluting the scenes that would otherwise be representative of reality. Thus we end up with bizarre sequences which are so poorly written, directed, edited and acted that it's hard to discern exactly what (if anything) has transpired. In the end I have to offer the following advice: for anyone who feels the urge to see Japanese folk having impressive battles with each other inside a film which is actually watchable without having Ring-like effects, start garnering an interest in samurai films.

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About Joshua Wiebe