Plot: Orland (Michael Correll) has information on an ancient relic that is rumored to hold great power, which is good news for the historical record, but bad news for Orland himself. This relic has captured the attention of a cult who seeks to possess the power, especially their sadistic leader Spithrachne (Terry Dunn). In order to protect the relic and himself, Orland calls on his friend Jack (John Beaton Hill), a martial arts master who agrees to lend a hand. A tragic turn soon unfolds however, as Jack is killed by the cult’s underhanded karate tricks and it looks as if the relic is doomed to fall into evil hands, until the supernatural is called upon. A local voodoo expert named Brother Banjo (Michael Weaver) is able to channel the mystic energies and revive Jack, who is now a zombie, but he still knows kung fu. Even with an undead ass kicker at his side, can Orland keep the relic safe from the cult’s clutches?
Entertainment Value: In case you’re curious, yes Ninja Zombie lives up to the title, as there is a martial arts zombie and the character has a lot of screen time, so no bait & switch in this case. The narrative has a lot going on, with voodoo, a spider cult, an ancient relic, and a lot of ridiculous martial arts, kind of a mix between action and light horror elements. The movie wasn’t the all out insane experience I hoped, but it is a fun ride with a lot of enthusiasm and creative energies, not to mention that special low rent, regional cinema magic. Ninja Zombie also weaves in some effective humor, in the Troma vein in most cases, so not all the laughs here are unintentional, though some certainly fall in that lane. I think the wacky blend of genres adds some b movie appeal, but the focus is mostly on the more action oriented elements, so a lot of outlandish, low impact fight scenes are uncorked here. But fans of these kind of movies tend to appreciate the less than finer points of cinematic combat, so for most, I have to think the ludicrous martial arts will be a positive. The performances are wooden and awkward, but again, that works in the film’s favor and since most are at least enthusiastic, it keeps the energy level up throughout. Ninja Zombie was buried for decades, so it is good to see it released and for b movie fans, it is recommended.
There’s some light nakedness here, but not much. Given the genre and general wackiness involved, it is kind of a surprise to have so little flesh on showcase, but I suppose some is better than none, right? The bloodshed is cheap and often hilarious, including some of those Halloween aisle rubber limbs, which are always a fun inclusion. A few nice bits of special effects are present however, not to mention the outrageous zombie makeup that is just bananas. The violence is frequent, but Ninja Zombie is more ninja than zombie, so there aren’t slasher levels of crimson in this one. Even so, some nice bursts of cheap blood and some wild makeup add to the good times here. The dialogue has some bright spots here and there, but isn’t one of the wilder or more memorable elements. A few one liners and some awkward performances lend a point at times, but it is more the cast’s humorous efforts than the script itself. While Ninja Zombie wasn’t wall to wall insanity like I hoped, it does deliver a steady stream of wacky martial arts, wooden, while also enthusiastic performances, low rent special effects, and a wealth of fun, b movie style vibes throughout.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
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