Ninja Girl (Kunoichi)

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“Save your time, save your money, and go watch Karate Girl instead. Again, if necessary.”

From the director of Alien vs. Ninja, the story here centres on a pair of ninjas, Shimotsuki and Hyotsuki, who are carrying on what appears to be a family tradition, kidnapping women from other clans’ villages, and taking them back to their own for nefarious purposes – let’s just say, the phrase “tools of pleasure” crops up on more than one occasion. They ar returning with their latest batch of four, including Kisaragi (Takeda), who is a ninja in her own right. With the help of a mysterious man (Sato), Kisuragi and her colleagues in imprisonment are released from their bondage – but that is only the first obstacle between them and their freedom. Of course, it turns out the heroine is not quite as innocent as she appears, and has an agenda of her own, because her mother was kidnapped by the same sleazy ninjas, when Kisuragi was just a baby.

Barely an hour long, this still somehow manages to outstay its welcome, managing to spend far more time engaging in borderling misogyny, rather than anything remotely empowering, and a distinctly sleazy tone with plot elements involving castration, venereal disease and a great deal more molestation of helpless women that I generally like (particularly in my ninja flicks). There is really only a single battle of note, when Kisuragi gets to take on one of her captors in a battle that is fairly well-shot and does a good job od showcasing Takeda’s undeniable skills. However, you don’t get the sense that there was more than a couple of days work involved, and even given the short running time, it’s still a negligible amount of what’s on view, and there just isn’t anything like sufficient elsewhere to keep you interested or entertained.

I haven’t seen Chiba’s earlier work, but it seems to be basically the same “head off to a forest for some film-making” approach that we see here. That can work in the right hands – Versus is justly the most well-know example of that genre. However, here, it’s more like a cheap excuse to disguise the obviously limited production values than anything else. Hopefully, Takeda will soon move beyond this kind of Z-grade dreck: I did read rumours of her being in Chocolate 2, which would be nice if said rumours had the slightest grounding in fact, which seems questionable. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

Dir: Seiji Chiba
Star: Rina Takeda, Yuichi Sato, Masanori Mimoto, Mitsuki Koga

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