I’m pretty sure that anybody picking up Ninja Apocalypse knows what they are letting themselves in for, right?

You want a lot of entertaining fight scenes, some cursory dialogue and a sense of fun, yeah?

Well, Ninja Apocalypse scores in the first two categories, but comes across as far too po-faced and serious to be anything other than mere Saturday-night fodder.

In fact, if the makers had realised that what they were putting up on screen was ridiculous and run with it, we could have had a really good film on our hands.

But, alas, veteran visual effects bod-turned director Lloyd Lee Barnett decides to treat the whole thing with a straight-face, leaving the audience to laugh at the movie, rather than with it.

Supposedly set on a post-apocalyptic Earth (which allows the makers to stage everything in desolate locations and get away with it), for some inexplicable reason all the remaining survivors have become clans of ninja warriors, each clan having their own special powers.

Ruling the roost is ‘the master’ Fumitaka (played by veteran bad guy Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa), who decides to invite all the clans to a peace summit to try and forge a way forward for the new society.

Trouble is, Fumitaka gets offed at the summit, with the blame laid at the feet of Cage (Christian Oliver), leader of the ‘Lost Clan’.

He’s innocent of course, so Cage and his cronies have to not only fight their way out of an underground bunker, but also try and prove his blamelessness at the same time.

That naturally leads to a constant succession of beatdowns as the Lost Clan come up against other ninjas, zombie ninjas, vampire ninjas – you name it.

It’s all very ‘The Raid’ (which is no bad thing), with echoes of The Warriors and a host of other much, much better films.

As said earlier, the action comes thick and fast and is pretty well done, with Barnett allowing the various stars to strut their stuff without over-complicating things – although the over-reliance on CGI blood does grate.

Oliver is perfectly adequate in the lead, much more at ease during the copious fisticuffs than when he is expected to emote.

Solid support comes from the likes of veterans Ernie Reyes Jr and West Liang, while Hiroyuki-Tagawa’s cameo is enough to remind you of what an imposing presence he can be.

Ninja Apocalypse is certainly not a disaster, although far, far removed from being a good film – best summed up as being a quick (80 minutes) chunk of entertaining, but totally forgettable nonsense.

DVD Review: Ninja Apocalypse
The Good
  • Copious fight scenes
  • Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa
The Bad
  • Takes itself far too seriously
2.5Overall Score
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle