Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Delayed Reviews: Shadow Fury

Who doesn't love ninjas?  I sure as hell do!  Today's review is a ninja film from 2002 that never really quite made an impact.  Mind you, there is one thing to note about it for a certain age group, but I'll get to that in a bit.  This is what you need to know: ninjas, cloning and Pat Morita.  As far as why this didn't get reviewed when I watched it several months back, it was just a case of bad timing.  Unlike today, I didn't fill my Instant Queue with films that I was planning to review anyways.  As such, we just watched a movie...because.  With my schedule already in place, this movie just fell to the wayside.  Well, let's not skip it any longer!  Get out your serial killer DNA for my review of...
The film is set in the future and centers around a private detective being hired for a job.  That job: take out a crazy scientist.  That scientist turns out to be Pat Morita wearing an Einstein wig.  Stop reminding me of Puppet Master vs. The Demonic Toys!  Unfortunately, they don't tell our hero the whole story.  The scientist has been cloning ninjas!  That's a fact that you shouldn't keep from him!  The battle goes...pretty badly and he gets wounded.  He ends up getting treated for his injuries, but is told that he may not live a lot longer.  Meanwhile, the scientist sends out the ninja to take out another target.  As silly as the plot is, the action scenes are silly fun.  Eventually, however, his ninja killer begins to question his job and role here.  This leads to the death of Morita (in the film, not real life- duh!) and the ninja fleeing into society.  Naturally, he runs right into a hooker with a heart of gold.  Those bitches are everywhere!
While our ninja friend is off learning about life from a hooker and beating up pimps in broad daylight, the head of the corporation that hired Morita proves to be the real villain.  Yeah, that's lazy writing for you.  He has created a new, more powerful clone to finish off the escaped ninja.  He gets out his collection of Evil Person DNA, which includes Jack the Ripper!  Besides the silliness of ripping off the origin of Serpentor, why do you have that and how do you know who he is?!?  Anyways, the thing people remember about this movie- Taylor Lautner.  Yes, a young Lautner is here for a brief bit as the cloned super-ninja in kid form.  The adult form fights the ninja in another fun fight before the ninja explodes!  Don't worry- he gets better.  After being a ninja in the first three forms, the final super-ninja is...a bald MMA fighter dressed like Stryker from 'Mortal Kombat.'  No, really.  This fight is also good, mostly because the two talented guys fight while the detective stays out of it.  In other words: it's Rush Hour, not Rush Hour 2.  The ninja dies and our hero lives, providing us a semi-happy ending of sorts.  The End.
This movie...is stupid, but fun.  The plot is silly and contrived, trying to mix sci-fi, action and noir.  Who thinks of shit like that?  The private detective character feels awkwardly-inserted into a ninja film.  Who invited a wannabe-Roddy Piper anyways?  The real star of the film is the over-the-top action scenes.  Quite frankly, they're the only thing worth noting about the movie.  It's a good example of how wire-work can still be used in a more recent era.  It's a bit of a throwback now, since CG work has taken over the market.  The bottom line: the movie is silly, but fun to watch if you like exaggerated action.  It's still on Instant Viewing, so give it a look.  Plus, Pat Morita is and always will be awesome.  Take it away, silliest picture of him that I could find...
Next up, I finally cover a movie that managed to bore the hell out of me.  I mention that because the movie has one of the most provocative titles this side of actual porno parody films.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, this one wasn't a horrible film, but it did have a lot of strange stuff in it! I cannot overstate how very strange that final transformation of the evil ninja is...he goes from kid, to really agile, acrobatic, and fast late teen, and then suddenly to really big, bulky, and only kind of mobile (though still pretty good at fight scenes) MMA guy. Didn't get that. Especially since Form 2 utterly kicked the good ninja's butt anyway...why did you even need to go to Form 3 and become...uh...slower?

    The whole Jack the Ripper thing bothers me for so many reasons, too. First, there's what the review mentioned...how exactly did you get the Ripper's DNA when no one knows who he was for sure? Did you just guess? Boy, sure hope you got it right, otherwise you'll look really silly.

    The other thing, though, is...why? Why put Jack the Ripper's DNA in there? I mean...sure, he's a famous serial killer, but there's been a lot of famous serial killers out there, sadly. Some of them, you might even actually be able to find. But is a serial killer really that great of a thing to include in your super-professional killer? I mean...I don't recall "takes orders very well" or "responds particularly well to the chain of command" being prerequisites for serial killing.

    Let's think about that, too...you might put the Ripper's DNA in for a few reasons. One, a killer instinct--I can't really argue with you there, though really I question how useful a killer instinct against mostly prostitutes would be in your professional killer. Two, talent for fighting...again, no real proof of that from the Ripper, since his primary targets weren't, you know, super fighters themselves. And three, never being caught...which you kind of have to figure owed at least partially to the lower forensic tech of the time and all (and of course is why getting the Ripper's DNA is impossible in the first place).

    All told, if I were building my own super-killer ninja guy, I'm pretty sure there's a lot of other things I would use before a serial killer of any kind, especially one whose DNA was impossible to get. (Clearly, I would use wolves.)

    Anyway, yeah, this movie was not one of the worst we've watched, but there's a lot of stuff to question in there. O_O