Tuesday, April 28, 2015

SURF NINJAS

This next film is a very different and unusual kids movie that was part of the Ninja craze in the early 90s called...





Two brothers named Johnny (Ernie Reyes Jr.) and Adam (Nicolas Cowan) who loves to Surf with their friend Iggy (Rob Schneider); discover that their Father (John Karlen) has been kidnapped by Ninjas and are aided by a one eyed Ninja Warrior named Zatch (Ernie Reyes Sr) who leads them to a an ancient native Asian country to save their Father from an evil ruler (Leslie Nielsen) who’s body is half robotic after being crushed by an Elephant. Along the way, the kids not only meet new people and get into fights with Ninjas, but they discover that they are actually the rightful heirs to the throne, and must take it back, while freeing the kingdom. As entertaining and interesting as the film sounds despite sounding stupid, it isn't, it's actually really stupid. I mean, just by saying the title "Surf Ninjas" out loud, you can tell that this film was going to be something really stupid, and the film's not stupid as in, it's so stupid that it's good; it's actually so stupid that it's stupid.

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Our two leads are as bland as they come. You got the older Brother who's supposed to be hip, cool, and rebellious, while his little Brother is the cute and curious wise-cracker, and that's all there is to them. There's really nothing else interesting about them, nor is there really that much of a development to the characters either. I guess I wouldn't mind it so much if the actors playing them were good, or were decent enough to make them likable, but sadly they're neither. Their acting is not just as bland as the characters, but they're actually really annoying, especially with the amount of lame and forced jokes and dialogue that they're given (Which I'll get to later). In fact, remember that pizza boy who filled in for Casey Jones' absence in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2" who can fight  well, but has a personality of a bland and unfunny dweeb that's trying to appeal to the cool and hip young crowd; he plays the lead in this movie, and all the qualities that he had in "TMNT 2" is there, only this time it's worse. The development of how he becomes this great Ninja warrior and leader is written so poorly that there's hardly any thought put into it. He trains in only one scene in the movie, and that's it; no montage, no powerful lesson, no advice, just him fighting and using a sword against one guy, in one short scene, done (And I seriously doubt that the character has been training more off-screen)! Even the kid just magically knows how to fight like a Ninja before he's even trained, and fights off a few ninjas as we hear Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" play in the scene (Which feels just as cringe worthy as including a high piece of art in a lame film, as hearing Dean Martin's song "That's Amore" in the disgusting restaurant scene in "White Chicks"!). HOW IS HE ALREADY A SKILLED FIGHTER?! We've never been told or hinted at that he knew how to fight before, all we see him do is Surf, and quickly manage to get a group of boys together to sing a really bad and annoying parody of "Barbara Ann" called "Baba Ram" named after an Asian political figure that watches them and later on in the film sings with them in their ancient Native country that happens to have electrical band equipment, who makes the cover more annoying than it already is. The only kind of explanation that we ever get of how he can fight, is because it’s his destiny. The development of him becoming a great warrior makes just as much sense as him teaching Ninjas how to surf by only telling them to bend their knees and swing their arms, who of course become great surfers in their first try! As for his little Brother's special skill, he can see the future and control people with this magical video game console he plays, but when his game console fails, he later on finds out that the power was inside him all along and that it really wasn't the game console’s magic, and he begins to use his power without the game console at all. However, he uses the game console anyway in the climax to help our lead defeat the villain. Uh yeah, B.S.! If the power is truly in him all along, than I don't think he needs a game console to help him defeat his opponent! By the way, I love that when he sees a pixilated version of himself in the game for the first time without even realizing the magic, he's not amazed or shocked by it.



Image result for rob schneider Surf Ninjas

Our leads are not only lame, but so are the supporting characters. The kidnapped Father that we're supposed to care about really isn't worth caring about, because he's just a typical stern Father, with nothing interesting or likable about him at all. Even when they find him, he's still a jerk, there's no happy, emotional, or corny moment between him and his kids. The one eyed Warrior that helps the kids, has no character to him at all. There's nothing about him that's cool, badass, fun, or interesting. Aside from fighting and shortly training our lead, all he really does is lifelessly tell the kids of what's going on and what they're destined to be. He's really a complete bore. The kids are also accompanied by a Detective played by Tone Loc, and aside from his cool voice, he too is really boring. In fact, I don't really see much of a purpose for this character. He really just hangs around and does nothing that's of any importance to the story. If you think these characters are lifeless, so is Johnny's forced love interest that he's destined to marry played by Kelly Hu. The relationship between them has no conflict at all; the chemistry between them is boring; the character and performance is lifeless; and all those elements result to one of the dullest romance subplots that you'd ever see in a film. I mean Tony and Bridget in "An American Tail" have more chemistry compared to these two! Of course, the worst character and performance in the supporting cast goes to Rob Schneider as the comic relief. Thankfully this is not the racially insensitive Rob Schneider performance. The only thing he does that comes close to that, is when he out of nowhere disguises himself as a cripple Scottish man with a really unfunny and over exaggerated accent, as we hear very loud Bagpipes play in the background, and while annoying, it isn't as racist and insulting as his other performances. This Rob Schneider performance is the overly annoying Rob Schneider performance that won't shut the hell up! I'm serious, every thing he says and does in this movie is far, and I mean FAR away from being funny. Every time he opens his mouth, I just want to hit him with a Surf Board, or shove it right through him. His character doesn't even serve any purpose in the film either; he's just there to annoy the characters! I know Schneider can be funny, but this performance is far from it!

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Another performance that was really painful to watch was Leslie Nielsen as the villain. We all know that Nielsen can be funny; some of us also know that he can be intimidating like his performance in "Creep Show" for example; however, we all know that the 90s for the most part was hardly good to his career, and this film is one of those movies. First of all, casting Leslie Nielsen as a samurai Emperor didn't seem like the proper casting choice since he's American, while the character he's playing is supposed to be Asian. That would of course be overlooked if his performance was great, but it isn't. When we see him in the flashback as a powerful Samurai warrior before he lost half of his body, he looks and acts so silly that it isn't funny and he's supposed to be this great and evil leader. I know he's also meant to be humorous, but looking at his actions and character, I never ever would have guessed that this guy is a skilled and powerful evil ruler. That low angle shot of him posing to look cool, that's not cool, it looks forced, and with his chest Amour sticking out in that shot, it almost looks like he's posing for a porn Magazine for old Ladies. When he does lose half of his body, it not only looks stupid instead of funny, but the editing makes it look like that he wants to lose half of his body, much like the editing for when a Warrior keeps rolling a down a large flight of stairs which looks like the character is doing it on purpose. When we see Nielsen in his half-human and half-robot form, the effect is far away from cool, it looks ridiculous. It doesn't even look like it's a part of him; it seriously looks like Nielsen is wearing a cheap mask from a party store.

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Not only is the characters in this movie bland, obnoxious, cliche, and unfunny, but the humor that the actors are given to work is seriously poor! Not a single joke in this movie worked, they all feel forced and very half-assed. The running jokes that the characters get aren't smart and clever, they're irritating, especially from the delivery that the actors bring. Schneider for example, has more than one running gag. He keeps blabbering to others as well as trying to convince others that he's the true king and that the kids are just decoys; and whenever he says "What If", his predictions are usually true, as well as constantly telling everyone that. That's not funny, that's annoying as hell! Nielsen also gets a running joke of him rushing towards the phone, which is just as pointless, dull, and stupid as Dennis Hopper's Pizza running gag in "The Super Mario Bros" movie". The film also has Pop Culture references that really feel painfully forced into the film, like the scene when one of the kids finds a secret cave and says that he has "Found Waldo", which results with one of the characters thinking that he really means it. The joke and delivery didn't just feel forced and was just there to make the reference, but who the hell would actually think that a children's book character is actually real? If you think that's stupid, forced, and out of nowhere, two random guys that we never see again, just randomly go to the restaurant that the Father owns; look at the destruction and Cop Cars parked in front of place, and ask if it's opened? How forced and desperate can this film get?! The film even has dialogue that's just there to be stupid, like Tone Loc telling the kids that he likes to swallow his cuff key every week, that's not cool, that's weird. The film even gets really perverted at points for a kid’s film! Like how Schneider flashes a Playboy Magazine; or when a young teenage girl seduces herself towards older men! If you think that's perverted, Nielsen's robotic hand malfunctions which cause him to jerk off for a few seconds, THIS IS A KIDS MOVIE? As for the fight scenes in this movie, while the stunts are decent at times, they're still boring and unexciting. The choreography is lame; the jokes are just as stupid as the film's humor; the slapstick is just there to get a cheap laugh; and the fighting doesn't have anything tense or kickass about it. I know it's a kids movie, but comparing it to fight scenes in Ninja films for kids during that era like the first two "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" films for example, they really lack everything that made the fighting in those two films fun and kickass.

I know that there are people out there who enjoy this film for being so stupid that it's entertaining, and while I can understand that since I enjoy a few stupid films too, this film is so bad that it’s really hard for me to grasp that aspect. The characters are bland and annoying with very poor development; the story has no thought put into it; the humor is obnoxious and desperate; the villain is awful; and the fighting is dull with nothing fun and exciting about it.

RATING 0/5

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