Ninja Cheerleaders

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“B-movie rule of thumb: “ninja” in the title in never a good sign…”

Probably half a star should be taken off if you’re not a fan of really bad movies like us, for this is a bad movie. Really. Let me begin with a straight-faced recap of the plot. Courtney, April and Monica are junior college students who are trying to earn the quarter-million bucks necessary for them to go to an Ivy League college. They earn this by go-go dancing at a strip-club, Their plans are thrown into disarray when the owner of the club (Takei), who has been looking after their savings, is kidnapped by the mob. Fortunately, he is also their martial arts sensei, and they just qualified as ninja. Can they rescue him, get their cash back and make it to the All-City Strip-Off?

Yes it’s every bit as silly as it sounds, and unfortunately not as entertaining. Nor even as potentially full of flesh, since they’re go-go dancers, not strippers they keep their clothes on – which seems odd since it’s not as if Cannatella is exactly a shrinking violet. [Link NFSW, if you hadn’t guessed] How exactly they are supposed to have raised 250 grand in six months doing that is unclear. In a lame attempt to compensate, Presley splices in occasional footage of nekkid boobies, presumably to avoid the PG-rating this would otherwise deserve.

There’s definitely scope for humor in the goofy concept – students by day, ninjas by night, or something like that. However, the movie rarely succeeds in mining any of the potential. Occasionally, Takei appears to realize how ridiculous it all is, and I did laugh at one scene where the girls are questioned by a cop, and feign innocence with the kind of stupidity familiar to anyone who has raised teenagers. Otherwise, however, it’s mostly guilty either of trying too hard or not trying hard enough. Natasha Chang playing the evil henchwoman Kinji is probably the most memorable character, with an odd quirk of referring to herself in the third person. This alone, probably gives her as much personality as the heroic trio; they’re otherwise just not very interesting, despite McConnell’s resemblance to Hilary Swank.

The action isn’t exactly breathtaking either, with the ninja costumes used to conceal body-doubling [save in Takei’s case, where it’s pretty damn obvious]. As a result, it’s never exactly convincing; while there are a couple of fights where the girls have to take on various low-level Mafia people, it’s only at the end, when they face Kinji, that things are interesting. And it’s kinda odd to have the bad girl outnumbered three-to-one by the heroines, which just doesn’t seem fair. Overall, it just about scrapes by if you find it as a freebie on cable. Spending any more than ninety minutes of your time on this is probably not recommended.

Dir: David Presley
Star: Trishelle Cannatella, Ginny Weirick, Maitland McConnell, George Takei

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