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Edward G. Robinson
This story is set during the Edo ages in Japan. On a rainy night, Kotono confronts the samurais who have killed her father. The samurai attack her one by one, but she manages to withstand them. When she is scaring the remaining samurai away, three ninja's suddenly appear. Will she succeed in beating them as well? Written by
Way Better Than Expected, With Quality Action Above and Beyond Your Typical B-Movie
I was apprehensive about blind buying this movie based upon the trailer, which looked like a B-movie that could end up a total disaster
ala "Legend of Red Dragon" (2002). However, I had an extra $20 in
online gift certificates and was in the mood for a new Japanese action flick, so I took a chance - and I'm mighty glad I did. "Geisha vs. Ninjas" is not merely mildly entertaining low-budget fare like the "Gun Crazy" series, but is more entertaining for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, low-budget B-grade action flicks have inherent limitations that frequently leave the final product rather wanting. Creating a great action scene with no name actors, little money, and inexperienced stuntmen and choreographers is something incredibly difficult that's accomplished by only the most talented of filmmakers. Most of the time, you end up with a few decent moves mixed in with lots of edits and quick cuts to hide the lack of talent behind and in front of the camera. The people behind "Geisha vs. Ninjas" were the same people behind the action in "Death Trance" (2005) and "Onechanbara" (2008). My expectations were rightfully confused, because "Death Trance" was cool with decent action sequences while "Onechanbara" was stupid with poor action sequences.
Most surprisingly, "Geisha vs. Ninjas" has a number of highly effective swordfights and fist-a-cuffs that use wide camera shots that show multiple attacks and counterattacks from the actors, which is a remarkable, extremely impressive feat that must have required a lot of physical practice and rehearsals off camera. One example is the fist fight between the geisha and the monk, which is truly scintillating and is without doubt of a very high quality, even when compared to more popular martial arts fare from Hong Kong and Thailand. Anyone who watches that fight and claims it to be average B-movie quality simply doesn't know what high quality action is.
I'm probably taking this review too seriously, so let's get to the ninjas. Unfortunately, the ninjas only appear during the first 20 minutes or so, then disappear for the remainder of the film because the scriptwriters obviously wanted to keep things fresh by substituting other bad guys like monks, demons, tribal women, and samurai - which are entertaining in their own right. Therefore, those expecting lots and lots of ninjas will be disappointed in that regard, but when they are on screen they prove very difficult to kill and break out some crazy maneuvers. In addition, the geisha aspect of the film also drops off at about the same time the ninjas leave, as the lead protagonist discards her geisha outfit and goes for some "period" clothing instead. These are relatively minor quibbles that will be perceived as major negatives to those who so desperately want to see a geisha fight ninjas for ninety minutes.
As would be expected, the script is weak and the scoring is generic; but the greatest flaw of this movie is the final half hour, which loses some steam and feels drawn out with too much bland dialogue. This is a blunder because the opening 50 minutes are carried by excellent pacing, energy, and a bit of welcome cheesiness. That's it for the negatives though, and much of these cons are overshadowed by the numerous fight scenes.
Some of the early negative reviews on IMDb are ludicrous. The critics nit-pick the unrealistic aspects of this movie like the length of a sword, as if I care that the length of a weapon was extended for use in a film about a GEISHA FIGHTING NINJAS! Another criticism is that ninjas can't fly and that a geisha swordswoman could never be as strong as the one portrayed here. Well, let me tell you this. In a movie about a GEISHA FIGHTING NINJAS, some superhuman strength and gravity-defying abilities are more than welcome if the characters kick as much rear-end as they do here. The mere premise of this film is so ludicrous than one wonders why anyone would watch it with the slightest expectation for realism. And by the way, ninjas can do anything they want. Do you know why? Because they're ninjas, that's why.
So yeah, this movie is cool in all sorts of ways. For brainless fun, you're in for a good time.
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