Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Alexander Wraith, Gail Kim, Lalaine, Pat Morita, Eric Roberts
Written and directed by Babar Ahmed
Imagine for a moment that Uwe Boll, Albert Pyun, and M. Night Shyamalan got together, smoked some crack, and then made an incoherent action thriller with a double whammy third act plot twist so utterly bonkers the final fifteen minutes of the movie consists of nothing but the main character recounting the previous sixty-five in a desperate attempt to convince viewers it all adds up. Title that movie Ninja’s Creed (even though there are no actual ninjas in it), and imagine no more.
The true story of Ninja’s Creed is that it was shot back in 2005 under the original title Royal Kill and got a tiny theatrical run in three cities last April. After a Washington Post critic royally panned it, the producers actually tried to spin it in their favor by promoting the movie as being so bad you have to see it to believe it. Lionsgate has now released it on DVD under the questionable title Ninja’s Creed and do not offer up any hints as to just how bafflingly inane the film is from start to finish.
More psychological thriller than martial arts action flick, basically what we have here is The Princess Diaries meets The Terminator meets another very well known movie that I won’t name because doing so would probably make it obvious what the absurd third act plot twist is, and I’m not going to spoil it for those that choose to actually seek this film out and have their minds blown. It truly must be seen to be believed, and even then you most assuredly will not believe it.
There’s a kingdom in the Himalayas called Samarza (sp?) under attack by the evil Skanjii (sp?) Empire. To watch this opening with swordsmen on horseback in medieval attire riding along a scenic mountain range, you’d think this were some sort of fantasy adventure flick. Then the Skanjii’s begin bombing Samarza with fighter jets. Right off the bat you’re left going, “WTF?”
The Skanjii Empire is slowly conquering Southeast Asia while the United Nations and the rest of the world do nothing, or so the voice on the radio that sounds suspiciously like that of the actor playing the heroic Adam Arthavan (Alexander Wraith, now there’s a pro wrestling name if I’ve ever heard one). Adam is the fallen king of Samarza’s top soldier sent to Washington, DC, to protect the final heir to the throne from being assassinated by a ruthless Skanjii assassin named Nadia (World Wrestling Entertainment diva Gail Kim). That final heir is just an average teenage girl (Lizzie McGuire’s sidekick Lalaine) being raised by her American guardian (a short-lived Eric Roberts) unaware of her heritage or the danger that awaits her. Adam cannot protect her until he first finds her, and doing so means he has to locate the “royal maid” and find out the girl’s address before Nadia does.
Ninja’s Creed starts off silly, just keeps building from there until it achieves an almost zen level of stupidity, and then works backward to explain away some of the implausibility with twist that really only succeeds at doubling down on the idiocy.
Gail Kim’s job as Nadia is to behave like an emotionless Terminator speaking almost exclusively in a stilted stage whisper identical to the horrendous acting of star Wraith. Their fight choreography also stinks but is at the very least amusing. Kim’s character is an assassin, but contrary to the movie’s title she is not a ninja and is never identified as such, and if she is supposed to be an actual ninja, then she’s the first ninja I’ve ever seen that only wears skimpy mini dresses and uses a spinning DDT to topple an opponent. Yep, the director even tosses in some ridiculous looking pro wrestling moves amid the martial arts action, the most hilarious being when Adam power bombs Nadia through an end table.
I was already giggling uncontrollably at the inanity of this cheap, rambling mess of a movie even before the big twist was revealed. I will not reveal this twist because I want you to watch this movie and sit there thinking how absurd it is from the very first scene, marvel at the skittish editing, random jump cuts, and scenes that drift off into nothing more than characters loitering on screen with nothing to do, listen to the late Pat Morita in his final role ramble like an old man suffering from dementia, and then just when you think it can’t fill you with even giddier disbelief, Gail Kim rises from the floor like a liquid metal Terminator and has an Altered States grappling battle with Adam on that same floor in anticipation of one of the least probable third act plot twists this side of The Number 23. The kind of twist ending that some might have been inclined to praise had it not been so incompetently handled and everything preceding it making for the most jumbled head-spinning mess of a movie I’ve seen since Dragon Wars.
Director Ahmed Babar doesn’t help matters either with his failed attempts at mood lighting that is frequently so murky it nearly drowns out everything on the screen. Probably could have shaved off an extra five minutes of the runtime had they excised all the various scenes of actors running or walking up and down streets, the girl cowering in corners, Adam skulking about rooms, corridors, and sidewalks while staring at whatever, those random shots of a door during the big sword fight scene, the various establishing shots of Washington, DC, loopy flashback montages, and who can forget those dramatic slow motion shots of Eric Roberts walking down the middle of the street lugging a gallon of milk.
A part of me wonders if the movie ran out of production funds and had to be slapchopped together in post-production or if the editor suffered from Alzheimer’s. A simple sequence of the hero rushing into a house and busting through a locked bedroom door to save a young girl from being strangled to death by the villainess is visualized by a series of jump cuts strung together that will leave you bewildered as to what you just saw.
Extra points for the building implosion scene that is clearly recycled footage from Lethal Weapon 3. I knew that explosion looked familiar.
There are bad movies, and then there are cinematic train wrecks you just cannot avert your eyes from. Ninja’s Creed certainly has cult bad movie potential. I’m giving it a two out of five just because I have no idea how to score this nonsense. The producers were right to try and market it as something so bad you have to see it to believe it. You must see Ninja’s Creed to believe it even though you won’t believe one second of it.
2 out of 5
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