Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 1st, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2012
Director: Kenzo Maihara
Writer: Makoto Ichihouji
Cast: Shinpei Takagi, Manpei Takagi, Kaya Asano, Shunsaku Kudo
DVD released: May 21st, 2013
Approximate running time: 74 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: Non-Removable English
DVD Release: Asian Media Rights
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95
Synopsis: Identical twin ninja’s prepare for their duel that will once and for all decide, who the next leader of their clan is.
This film’s title and cover image used for this DVD release leads one to believe that this film is going to be a balls to the wall action film about dueling ninja’s. At least the latter part is true. The plot does revolve around twin ninja’s, who are equally hell bent on being the most powerful ninja of all. And the film does open with a well executed action set piece between these two aforementioned ninja’s.
Unfortunately what lies between this opening scene and their climatic showdown could easily fall under the false advertisement banner. The bulk of the film is spent with one of the twin ninja’s being nursed back to health by a family of Yakuza. Along the way the daughter of the family nursing him back to health develops a crush on the wounded ninja. This subplot actually serves up some very humorous moments that are just so absurd they have to been seen to believed. Not wanting to let anyone get in his way, the wounded ninja at first refuses help from the Yakuza family that has been taking care of him. After awhile they wear him down and he finally lets them in. This teaching him things he can use in his final showdown with his ninja twin brother. Of course all of this learning / training is done via the all to familiar montage.
As mentioned before the film opens and closes with strong action set pieces. Besides these two scenes, the rest of the action sequences are kind of a mixed bag. Visually the film has a flat look to it that at times makes it look like this film was shot for television. Pacing is just as erratic as the aforementioned action oriented moments that make up the middle section of this film. Performance wise the entire cast do their best, but then what they have to work is not that much. They are at best serviceable performance that propel that action from moment to the next. Ultimately Yakuza Vs. Ninja is a mediocre action film that relies too much on its one note sense of humor.
Asian Media Rights presents Yakuza vs. Ninja is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. Though the source materials used for this transfer are clean and in good shape. There are issues with compression, edge enhancement and interlacing that varies in degree throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese with non removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout.
This release comes with no extra content and a static menu that offers up two options, play movie or chapter selection. Overall Yakuza vs. Ninja gets a lackluster audio / video presentation that leaves a lot room for improvement.