Written and directed by Ryan Harrison, Ninja Badass is a low budget, what-in-the-ever-loving heck, insanity-filled film. There is a ton in here and yet, the least said, the better. It’s all over the place, it’s low budget and it knows it, it’s just complete nonsense at times, and it all works. This is one of those films that goes for broke and manages to hit the right notes at the right times to makes this one of the most entertaining pieces of cinema this year. Of course, it’s not perfect, but it very well knows it’s not and it embraces everything it is with open arms and maybe a bit of terrible martial arts. This is the kind of film that some will hate, but those who will like it will love it. It’s a adore it or hate it type of film. For those needing a bit more, it’s a story that is fairly simplistic on surface, but then everything and the kitchen sink it thrown at the screen and most of it either sticks or lands. It leads to a film where the writer/director clearly knew what he was doing within all the stuff here and he makes it into 1h43min of nonstop everything.
Leading the cast with all he has to offer is writer/director Ryan Harrison as Rex, showing that only him could manage to bring this crazy idea of a film to the screen. His work as Rex is both amazing and horrific, which is perfect for the film. Playing along with him are Mitch Schlagel and Tatiana Ortiz who are just along for the ride, ready for anything, and clearly willing to make this the craziest film they can. The whole cast here is fully committed to the story and to the “art” of making a film such as this. Their skills, or lack thereof in some cases, are perfectly showcased in acting and in martial arts. This is not a film about winning Academy Awards, but a film about going for the most insane option and landing it. The performances reflect that throughout the runtime and they make it something that needs to be seen.
Of course, the film here is much more than writing, directing and acting. There is the cinematography by Darryl DeLaney that captures the story and the cast just right. It’s perfectly perfect for what happens on screen, which means, it doesn’t look expensive, it looks right out of an 80s ultra low budget action film without a real idea of who to make these work right, yet nailing it. The editing by Rya Harrison takes the who thing above all expectation with this specific energy added to the film that can only make sense here.
Ninja Badass is a perfect midnight movie or bad movie night selection as it knows exactly what it’s doing and how to achieve greatness in that world. It’s insane, it makes no sense at times, it has scenes that will offend, and it knows what it’s doing. It’s a fun ride for those willing to take it.