The Kunoichi: Ninja Girl
Original Title: 女忍
Genre: Action, Martial Arts
Director: Chiba Seiji
A group of women find themselves kidnapped and thrown into a human trafficking scheme, in which they are brought to a village and given to men of low rank. Normally, women are reserved for men of higher standing, so the rest of the men depend on the kidnapping of women from neighboring villages and rival clans.
One of the women in the latest round-up is Kisaragi (Takeda Rina), a ninja who attempts to rescue the hostages. However, standing in her way are two highly skilled male ninjas, who have sworn to carry out their job of transporting the women until the very end. We get to see how much in for a surprise the bad guys are in for.
It may be safe to say that most films by Chiba Seiji are none to take seriously. Fans who have seen Alien vs. Ninja can attest to that. His films are mainly for folks looking for something cheesy to spruce up their evenings. Joining the catalog of his many period pieces is The Kunoichi: Ninja Girl.
The film is short, clocking in at a little bit over an hour (with opening and ending credits included). Many TV shows have episodes longer than this film, so needless to say it’s a quick watch. Whether your willing to sacrifice that hour of your life is entirely up to you.
But, let’s say you do give away that hour to this film. If you are a seeker of low-budget films that don’t bother to resolve their own plots, then this one is for you. The entire story builds upon a generations-old human trafficking circle that, well, still is happening by the film’s end. You’ll be wondering where the rest of the story went. Maybe it decided to hide, like the ninjas in it.
In its short time, it tries to flash plot twist after plot twist. Some of the twists are obvious, while some just seem to appear from thin air, with no build up to get the audience interested.
Kunoichi hypes up a tale of intense action, despite being constrained by its runtime and budget. However, for about half of the film (read: 30 minutes), the screen time is filled with the male actors being hammy and the female actors trying to convince the audience that they’re scared. While it certainly is entertaining to see a guy try to put on the best psychotic villain face he can ever do, the biggest letdown is that the main star is barely in that amount of time.
It’s funny to say the pacing was a bit slow in the beginning and was in need of trimming, as the film could have used more time to flesh out the story. But the incredibly slow first half made us forget for a while why we even decided to press the play button: Takeda Rina.
When Rina finally gets to show her stuff, it certainly is pleasing. Then again, Rina is a pro, having a black belt in Ryukyu Shorin-ryu Karate, so it’s obvious that she knows how to get down. For a low-budget film, the fight choreography definitely shines a bit, but it’s difficult to say if it’s worth enduring through the cheesy acting and dialogue.
As the film’s budget disappeared, so did the ending of the film. Kunoichi ends with less closure than the girl who teases the villains by opening up her legs.
But, we love Takeda Rina, and we await for the day that she can be put into a film that really shows off her skills.
Watch this film…
…if you love low-budget movies and have an hour to kill.