Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Super Awesome North Shore Ninjas

Before I moved to Texas, I sometimes made extra money pet sitting. One of my regular clients was a very nice Danish lady with a psychotic cat. She did know, though. The cat’s name was Hissy.

Anyway, one of the last times I watched her place it turned out she’d downgraded her cable package and among the few channels she still got was the one run by the local high school. This was mostly a continuous loop of informational videos on their sports teams, little movies showing the school mascot (Tommy the Titan) crushing enemies of school spirit, and telecomm projects.

What’s most amazing of all is some of them were even worth watching.

After our opening credits (and a sound byte that probably came from the old Ninja Turtles arcade game) the movie opens on hotshot reporter May O’Reilly reporting on a series of thefts thought to be run by some evilnik calling himself “the Dicer.” Her boss comes in looking for someone in the newsroom willing to look more closely into the thefts, and over the objections of her cameraman, May volunteers. Is that a picture of Ernie Kovacs over the boss’s door?

At the mall where the next robbery’s supposed to be going down, the camera’s still grousing over May having to volunteer for dangerous assignments. As she’s telling him not to be such a wimp, they run into a couple of toughs who see them, grab wiffle bats and chase May around the building.

She runs into an air conditioner and knocks herself out. As she’s fading in and out of consciousness, suddenly action music plays and four brightly-colored blobs beat up the thugs.

May comes around in a basement where four weirdoes in colorful pajamas are sitting around playing Goldeneye. They’re the Super Awesome North Shore Ninjas, it turns out (the North Shore meaning the north suburbs of Chicago), mentored by Master Sliver, who appears to be somebody’s kid brother.

He explains their origin from the beginning as we cut away to a darkened room where a guy with a distorted voice finds out a bunch of weirdoes in pajamas beat up his underlings. Gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised when our villain didn’t break into a coughing fit after his evil laugh.

We return to the basement, having missed the story of the ninjas’ secret origin. When May tries to leave, the red guy stops her, prompting an argument with the blue guy, prompting the red guy to declare he’s had enough and storm out. I love how they play this thing. The hothead storming out’s played exactly like the cliché it is, with almost laughably underplayed anger on the red guy’s part.

However, then the movie commits its only real stumble, in my opinion. As the remaining ninjas swear May to secrecy, Sliver hits a button that makes the old Ninja Turtles theme song play. Yeah, thanks, we got it.

The movie bounces back fast, though. After that we goofy little profiles of each of the ninjas. And for a high school telecomm project, the blue guy’s staff-twirling before his was actually pretty good.

After the ninjas drop May off at her place, she apologizes for freaking out on them. They shrug it off. “Yeah, I mean, look at us.”

As soon as they’re out of sight one of Dicer’s thugs shows up and grabs May, and the blue guy senses something’s wrong…he forgot to tell May when they’d be showing up so she could interview them. They find a note from the thugs, but realize it’s in Japanese and they don’t know Japanese, until the orange guy shows them it’s just in a cartoony Asian font. The thugs taped it upside down. Probably to troll the ninjas.

Anyway, the Dicer challenges them to a battle to the death on the parking garage of a mall. The blue guy tells the others to be ready for anything (“yes, anything!”) as they head up, and come face-to-face (or…mask) with the Dicer himself. And about a gabillion of his thugs.

Including a black-clad girl with a whip.

The battle begins, but blue guy’s staff doesn’t work on Dicer and the thugs’ superior numbers soon wear down the other two ninjas. All seems lost…until the red guy shows up to make a timely rescue, taking down the bad guys with his CD throwing stars.

Except for the femme fatale. She bats aside their projectiles with her whip, but she runs for her life when the orange guy uses the ancient ninja art of turning girls off.

Dicer breaks the blue guy’s staff, who flashes back to his mom warning him that if he breaks he’s ground, Grounded, GROUNDED!!! This proves to be his Super Saiyan moment, and his hair goes neon blue.

When Dicer refuses to surrender even in the face of this corny special effect, the blue guy shoots an energy ball at him that turns Dicer into a fire extinguisher.

And yeah, that’s pretty much it. They save May and we cruise out to the strains of Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap”.

Watch the silly spectacle yourself here.

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