Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival
I swear on my life, the plot description I’m about to type is accurate. I did not make a single solitary word of this up, this is a 100% accurate description of the plot of the absolutely glorious Ninja Badass. If anything, I’m leaving stuff out because you wouldn’t believe it was part of the film.
Ninja Badass follows the eternal loser Rex (Ryan Harrison), a complete dirtbag who tries to hit on a super hot blue-haired chick. When she gets kidnapped, Rex decides to become a ninja badass, under the tutelage of an armless sensei who demands he eat egg rolls until he shits himself as part of the training. Rex very quickly becomes an adequate ninja, doing ninja things like cartwheels and shooting people in the face.
Completing this training means that Rex is ready to go up against the evilest Ninja in the Ninja VIP super club in order to save this chick he saw that one time. Along the way he’ll team up with another super hot ninja who shoots people in the dick and fight against the most powerful ninja ever who occasionally engages in baby cannibalism… it’s super fucking awesome.
Ninja Badass doesn’t give a single solitary fuck about what you think about it, it’s review proof and gloriously so. This is a film that opens up with our main character having a sword fight with a giant Chinese dragon puppet, you can’t really critique something like that, It’s completely insane, every few minutes just throwing a new piece of batshit insanity out at the viewer and if you don’t keep up with it… well, screw you.
You keep up with Ninja Badass because it’s not going to slow down for you. You can look away for a second before looking back to the screen and wonder “Why are they showing that crash dummy flying out the window 6 times in a row from different angles” but the film will not answer you because it’s too good to take the time to do that.
There are some films that are so bad that they’re good, but this film is just incredible as hell. There’s no need to even try and qualify it, sure the film has a lot of rough edges… I know this because the camera was pointed at those edges while someone off-camera screamed “LOOK AT HOW FUCKIN ROUGH THAT IS!” because it’s just part of the delirious charm of the thing.
Sure the silly green screen shots look awful, does it really matter when the thing being green-screened is a puppy being shoved into someone’s chest in order to replace their still-beating heart? No, no it doesn’t.
After sitting through Ninja Badass I am now fully convinced that the reason the Oscars sucked so much this year is that no one thought to give Ryan Harrison the award for best film person to ever film because this madman is the heir apparent to Tommy Wiseau except Ryan seems to be doing this on purpose and it works.
Every second of the film is just pure joy, unrepentant silly over the top bombastic joy that almost dares you to try and dislike it. It pulls out everything it can think of, and somehow makes it all funny. I didn’t think I would laugh at baby cannibalism, but I did because it was goddamn hilarious.
The magical thing about Ninja Badass is that underneath all the insanity, there’s actual heart here. You can tell this was made by a team who absolutely loves just the concept of entertaining people and they have put everything they’ve got into making sure this film is the most entertaining thing they could possibly make.
Sure Ninja Badass not the most technically competent film, sure some of the dialogue makes no sense or is unintelligible and sure there’s more than a few shots that feel like someone aimed the camera and then ran in front of it without checking that everything was lined up before yelling action… who fucking cares when your film is this compulsively entertaining? They could’ve left the lens cap on and it would still be incredible.
There’s a great joke in an episode of The Simpsons where it’s revealed that Mr. Burns has every single disease known to man and it’s that combination of diseases that is actually keeping him alive… that’s Ninja Badass. It somehow does almost everything wrong in the exact right way with such glorious joy that it works perfectly.
There isn’t a dull moment in the entire film, it all works and it’s all glorious. It’s a film that has so many strange and wild things going on that it would not only be impossible to describe them all, they only make sense if seen in the context of “shit that happens in this film”. I haven’t seen a film this chock full of insanity since Greener Grass and Greener Grass wasn’t anywhere near as funny as Ninja Badass is. Ninja Badass is absolutely incredible, someone give the director a Pulitzer prize and a Tony and every other award because they have made the only art that matters.
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