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Somewhat a review of the movie Ninja (2009)

Posted in movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by Paxton

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Well, I was debating about delving into the final Sho Kosugi ninja movie Enter the Ninja today the same way I covered Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination the last few days, but I realized I have not the time nor the energy to do it. At least not today.  So, I’m going to review another ninja movie, this one from 25 years later in 2009.  It was a smaller release and the title was just Ninja.


I’m pretty sure this may have been a DVD only release. Especially in the US.  It may have opened in theaters elsewhere.  I got it from Netflix a few weeks after it was released.  One of the reasons I was kind of excited to see this movie was because it was a smaller B-movie release that was supposed to be in the style of the mid-80s ninja movies.  I thought that was a great idea, and settled in to watch some “so bad it’s good” ninja awesomeness.

But I couldn’t get into it.  And this is coming from the guy that just sat through, watched, loved and reviewed, in agonizing detail, the movies Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III.  So to say my tastes are discerning would be less then accurate.  And I still had trouble enjoying myself.  Granted, there are over 20 years of nostalgia coloring my perceptions of those ninja movies, but still.

Plus, this movie definitely feels like it was written and filmed in 1985, then lost for 25 years and found in some dank, dirty corner of the film vaults.  The suits then decided to put this lost ninja film out to capitalize on the release of Ninja Assassin.  The script and acting are cheesy and awkward.  The film logic is odd.  However the fight scenes are nicely shot and choreographed.  I really need to give it another watch.  I feel like I’m not giving it the latitude I give a Sho Kosugi movie.  And I’m not sure why.  The story is just as flat, the acting just as bad and the ninja scenes are just as good.  I don’t know why my knee jerk reaction is that I don’t like it.

The star, Scott Adkins, is a capable action star.  Before this he had roles in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (as Weapon XI) and The Bourne Ultimatum (as Agent Kiley).  The female lead is a little irritating because she seems helpless.  She’s constantly having to be saved despite the fact that in the beginning of the movie they establish her as the daughter of a ninja teacher and every bit as deadly as the Scott Adkins character.  I don’t know.

Trust me, I’m going to give this movie another shot.  When I do, I’ll let you know if I change my mind.  Until then, this gets a not recommend.


AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Howling Mad by Peter David

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to the first day of werewolf book week. I am continuing with my theme of werewolves by talking about werewolf novels all week. The first book I want to talk about is Howling Mad by Peter David.

Howling Mad

Peter David is one of my favorite authors.  David is a sometime novel author, sometime comic book author and has written volumes of books and comic books throughout the years.  His most famous comic book work is with The Incredible Hulk and his most famous novel work is with Star Trek.  Some of my favorite Peter David books include Sir Apropos of Nothing, Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast, Star Trek: Q-Squared and Star Trek: Q-in-law.  David is also busy writing movie novelizations, including the ones for Spider-man 1-3, Fantastic Four 1-2, Iron Man, both Hulk movies and Batman Forever (don’t judge, it’s great).  David has also written several original novels like his King Arthur trilogy.  And yes, I read every single book I just listed above.

So naturally, in the late ’90s, while digging around the Internet, when I found out that David wrote a werewolf story in 1988 called Howling Mad, I was thrust into a quest. I decided I must have that book as I loved both werewolves and Peter David.  At this time, finding old books wasn’t as easy as logging onto Amazon or eBay and just buying it. If your local bookstore didn’t have it, odds are, Amazon would list it, but not have it in stock and eBay was still hit or miss for most things.  So I went looking for it by pounding the pavement. For several years. Luckily, around 1999, the book was re-published along with another older David book, Knight Life, the first in his Arthur trilogy.  I bought both books and read them.  And loved them.  Howling Mad, especially.

David’s take on the classic werewolf story is intriguing.  A werewolf hunts in the Canadian woods.  During one of his hunts, a regular gray wolf stumbles upon the werewolf and his kill.  The werewolf attacks and nearly kills the wolf.  The regular wolf barely escapes after being scratched and bitten.  During the next full moon, the wolf turns into a man.  The book follows this “man-wolf” on his adventures into an insane asylum, getting shipped to a NY city zoo, being found by a single woman who tries to ignore her feelings towards the mysterious man and helps him find the werewolf that originally turned him.  Through all this the wolf tries to adjust to his changing into a human man and interacting with the human world.

Like I said, it’s a fun and clever story that takes the werewolf tale and turns it on its ear.  The book is short, just barely reaching 200 pages thanks to a page and a half epilogue at the end and it’s funny.  While not being as uproariously good as I remember, it’s definitely worth a read.

However, as for David’s entire oeuvre,  I would still recommend his original novel Sir Apropos of Nothing before this as well as his Star Trek books Q-Squared, Q-In-Law and Imzadi.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.