The seventh annual Another Hole In the Head Film Festival is currently running in San Francisco from July 8th through the 29th. It’s a genre fest featuring domestic and international horror, sci-fi, and exploitation films, and it just may be the first and last chance to see some of these on the big-screen. There are thirty-two films at the fest this year, and we’re trying to see and cover as many as possible. (And by we I mean me…)

Alien vs Ninja – directed by Seija Chiba, Japan; upcoming screenings 7/21 5pm, 7/25 7pm, 7/28 5pm

Synopsis: Ninjas battle in feudal Japan (or at least what appears to be feudal Japan), but a fireball across the sky signals the arrival of a much more dangerous enemy. An alien creature has arrived and he’s hungry… for sushi! See, they’re uncooked Japanese people. Anyway, humanity’s future rests on the skills of the Ultra Ninja gang, but they’ve never faced a foe like this before.

Check out our review after the jump…

Review: Some film titles leave room for mystery and interpretation, while others make it clear what to expect right away. This film falls into that latter category as the entirety of the plot can honestly be summed up as alien and ninjas kicking each others asses. There’s nothing else here, and while that limitation would rightfully be viewed as a negative in most cases here it works to the movie’s advantage.

A brief fight introduces the movie, but then it settles into an extraordinarily dull thirty minute stretch of… I don’t know what. Character development? Not quite, although that could very well have been the intent. It doesn’t help matters that the majority of the movie takes place in a monotonous forest as the ninjas walk and talk and walk some more. It’s all the boring parts of Versus pressed into a bland half hour. Stick with it though as the remaining forty-five minutes or so are a ton of fun.

The aliens initially appear as little more than brief CGI flashes jumping between the trees, but once we get our first look at them up close they are gloriously hilarious… I’m pretty sure the effects team behind the alien’s head used their twenty dollar budget to see how they could combine a dolphin and a bowling ball. As laughable as that effect is you quickly forget about it as the aliens and ninjas start going head to head in some impressively choreographed fights. The swordplay is fast and furious, and there are a few strong set pieces that will have you smiling at the creativity and goofy, action bliss on display. The cave fight between a fine lady ninja and a perverted alien is fantastic fun, and the ass kicking continues with zombified ninjas and a finale filled with slicing, fighting, and flying. It’s a crowd-pleaser… just plan your restroom breaks for the first thirty minutes.

Check out the complete festival schedule here.

And check out the rest of our festival coverage here.


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