For some obscure reason, we’ve become a society that likes to get offended by damn near everything. Gone are the days when even the most casual observation could be made without having to offer up an apology to some person or group afterwards, and then you end up being put through sensitivity training by your employer only because you offered a flippant observation. When did we stop feeling sorry for the world at large and start worrying about every single person’s self-esteem and personal worth? When did we lose that wide-eyed, childlike enthusiasm to group together and collectively make fun of ourselves? When did we turn away from celebrating the unconventional and instead aimed our sights on eliminating everything goofy in the eyes of our founding fathers and other great persons from history?
Well, it was likely when we stopped raising Ninja Badasses and started raising sissy boys.
I said what I said.
Sorry, not sorry.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last few paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the product packaging:
“Hold onto your egg rolls for the acclaimed ninja adventure filled with bullets, blades and hot babes! The Ninja VIP Super Club is doing a slow drag across the American Midwest, culminating in female sacrifice. When they kidnap a super hot babe that local scumbag Rex has his eyes on – it’s up to him to become the ninja badass to steal her back. Then she can have his babies!”
Warning: there isn’t a single moment, character, situation, scenario, or frame of this film that audiences are supposed to take seriously … on any level.
Ninja Badass is a live action cartoon, delivered with the exact right tone consistently from start-to-finish to let everyone who’s watching know that this world and its characters are entirely fictitious. Its absurdism is meant to entertain exclusively. It has no hidden messages. There is no subtext. You’re not supposed to watch this with friends and family and then – post viewing – get into the usual hot debates about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You’re only meant to watch … and laugh. Nothing more. Nothing less.
And laugh is just what I did.
If the film has a blemish (face facts, kids: all films do), I’d argue that it’s a tad long.
Years back, I’d observed that watching the late, great comedian Robin Williams was a difficult experience for me because I always thought his stand-up specials went on just a bit too long. Laughing continuously – like anything in life – does have its limits; and this Badass’ antics probably stretch about 15 minutes longer than needed. (I think it was Sylvester Stallone who once suggested the perfect film clocks in at or just under 90 minutes as it forces storytellers to keep the story both trim and the plot moving … and I’d argue that even something as glorious as Ninja Badass has a few nuggets that could be sacrificed … for art’s sake.) Though no character really wears out its welcome, there might be a few sequences here or there that – while funny – are a bit repetitive and could go. (For example, that whole gaining one’s powers from eating egg rolls gets used more than one too many times.)
Still, this is a film that I could watch many times in a lifetime. It’s the kind of thing you might keep on your shelf just to throw in the DVD player when you’re feeling low. Or maybe you have friends over – folks who share your particular sense of humor – and you put it on to help either set the mood or make the evening. And fraternity houses around the world could do well to set this thing up in their living room on constant rotation: it’d be a welcome distraction from the rigors of getting an education. While it won’t be for everyone – no film is – I suspect fans of insane B-Movies will have more fun with this than should be legally possible.
Ninja Badass (2020) was produced by Fat Eagle. DVD distribution (for this particular release) is being coordinated via Bayview Entertainment. As for the technical specifications? For a comic sleeper and B-Movie, this fool looks and sounds surprising grand; any imperfections are part and parcel of the madness. Plus, it offers up the best special effects APP money can guy! As for the special features? Yeah, I’m surprised, but it is a nice assortment of extras done up in the same spirt as the original film (for the most part) … but the blooper real was surprisingly low key for something this zany. Just sayin’.
Highest recommendation possible.
… but look, people: comedy isn’t for everyone. In a world that tries to cancel a genius like Dave Chappelle and sees the likes of Chris Rock slapped over a harmless joke, it’s never been clearer that what one person finds funny another person will seek to end your existence. Ninja Badass is a live action cartoon; and, consequently, theirs is absolutely nothing in here that any viewer is supposed to take seriously on any emotional, literal, or textual level. (I’m honestly aghast that I have to say that.) Think Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner level of violence – insane, loony, illogical, impossible scenarios – and you get my drift. This is meant to be a totally braindead romp … and, on that level, it succeeds. Take a chill pill and laugh at something for a change. It’ll do your soul good.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Bayview Entertainment provided me with a complimentary Blu-ray of Ninja Badass by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.