Ninja Apocalypse (2014)

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Released 6-May-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 80:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lloyd Lee Barnett
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Christian Oliver
Les Brandt
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
West Laing
Isaac Singleton Jr
Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau
Tara Macken
Ernie Reyes Jr

Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Tim Montijo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Years after a nuclear war devastated the landscape and almost obliterated humankind, the survivors have mutated and developed special, individual powers, joining together into mutually hostile clans. The group of clans that owe a loose allegiance to Grandmaster Fumitaka (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) are called together for a peace meeting by Fumitaka when their region is threatened by an outside belligerent people. One of the clans that come to the meeting is the Lost Clan led by Cage (Christian Oliver) who brings with him his hot-headed elder brother Surge (Les Brandt), the deaf and dumb giant Sky (Isaac Singleton Jr), the clever Trillion (Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau) and female warrior Mar (Tara Macken). When they arrive at the underground bunker where the meeting is to take place Cage is disturbed to find that his old enemy Becker (West Laing) and his South Clan are also attending. Just as all the clans agree to peace, Fumitaka is assassinated and Cage is blamed. As Cage and his clan escape into the tunnels under the bunker Fumitaka’s second in command Hiroshi (Ernie Reyes Jr) unleashes his ninja guards in pursuit, joined by Becker and the other clans. The Lost Clan must cope with internal dissention between the brothers while they fight their way through the ninja guards, the other clans and a horde of zombies in order to prove Cage’s innocence and discover the identity of the real killer.

     With a title like Ninja Apocalypse one should not expect high art or anything deep and meaningful! The director of Ninja Apocalypse is Lloyd Lee Barnett who has over 60 credits listed on the IMDb as a visual effects artist, including The Mummy Returns (2001), Spider-Man (2002) and Avatar (2009), although his only other directing credit is I Love You to Death (2012). Ninja Apocalypse is clearly low budget; most of it takes place in narrow grey corridors or darkened rooms with very limited set decoration, the CGI and visual effects are very cheap looking and it has only a handful of actors, most of whom have experience but none of whom are “names”, although Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s distinctive face may be familiar. The acting is wooden and the dialogue stilted, although the film has a strand of humour running through it that is appealing. The plotting is also virtually non-existent: at one stage the Lost Clan members split up for no particular reason except to give each of the actors an individual fight sequence.

     But any film with “ninja” in the title must have martial arts action and Ninja Apocalypse certainly has plenty, some quite good, some not. Most of the action involves swords, sometimes flaming swords, with a little hand to hand action, flips, kicks and punches. Each character has a special ability; the brothers use electricity while Becker uses fireballs, and sometimes these special abilities are incorporated into the sword fights. In some fights the kicks and punches clearly miss by some margin although other action sequences are athletic and impressive, especially those involving Tara Macken who moves well. The fights are filmed fairly traditionally, but with a little fast cutting and slow motion and they do include copious sprays of CGI blood.

     If anything Ninja Apocalypse tries to mix in too many influences; the warring clans, martial arts and magical abilities would be right at home in any number of Shaw Brothers Wuxia stories, we have seductive sirens transposed from the Odyssey, ninjas and, almost as an afterthought, zombies, although they really have nothing to do with the main storyline. And, for half the film, throw in The Raid with our heroes fighting in confined spaces against a horde of enemies. Still, Ninja Apocalypse’s short running time is full of action and it is satisfying enough if you don’t think about it too hard.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Ninja Apocalypse is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the original 2.35:1 ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     There are two distinct environments in the film: the underground bunker with its dark rooms and corridors and the mostly desolate world outside. The outside world is overbright: colours are slightly desaturated with a silvery tinge while skin tones are pale. Close-up and wide detail is good, especially of the desert. Inside the bunker the film uses a lot of diffused lighting with light sources above or behind the actors which results in a soft looking film with detail lost, especially shadow detail. Colours of the corridors, sets and costumes are all greys, blacks and dark blues, the only bright colours being the red blood and the red / yellow fireballs. I guess that the lighting scheme underground was deliberate, partly for artistic purposes and partly to compensate for the limited budget.

     There is some ghosting with movement against mottled surfaces such as trees or the corridors, but other artefacts and marks are absent.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     The audio was very good. The dialogue was clear, and especially in the underground sequences the surrounds and rears were active with dripping water, running feet, action effects and zombies banging on the door. Outside the bunker there were weather effects, such as thunder and running water, and music. The subwoofer supported the action, the rumble of the lift, the thunder and the banging on the door.

     The music by Tim Montijo was enjoyable and indeed more epic in tone than the film, utilising a score that included choral and drumming to drive the action.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are absolutely no extras. The menu offers play film and scene selection.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 release of Ninja Apocalypse has no extras and features only Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Buy local.

Summary

     Ninja Apocalypse is not to be taken seriously. The acting, dialogue and CGI are weak, the plotting all over the place, the action varies from indifferent to not too bad. This is certainly not on a par with The Raid, but if you are in the mood there is a deal of fun to be had.

     The DVD has acceptable video and good audio. There are zero extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 15, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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