Geisha vs Ninjas
aka Geisha Assassin
Directed by Go Ohara
Having read Memoirs of a Geisha years before it became a terrible film, I am an expert on the Geisha and their generational war with the ninja, and am glad a film finally sheds some light on this dark mark on Japanese culture. The geisha has been underrepresented in movie culture because of the firm grip of ninja clans in the film producing world. Ninja master Godfrey Ho has spammed countless video rental businesses with ninja propaganda, to the point where the geisha are all but forgotten. Only in recent years have they made a move on mass culture, and now the Geisha/Ninja war gets it due on the big screen. And by big screen I mean your DVD player.
Do you like ninjas fighting geishas? Then you will like the first twenty minutes or so. after that, the ninjas are no more and the film becomes Geisha vs. _______, with “_______” being each new opponent she faces. Instead of one big film, just view it as a bunch of fighting shorts tied together by a loose narrative. That does mean the Geisha vs. Ninja title is misleading, thus probably why it was changed by the American distributor. The film looks like it should be a cheaply produced junkpile with terrible fights, but the action sequences have a lot of work put into them and are entertaining. I was impressed. Geisha vs. Ninja certainly wasn’t highly financed, but they wisely threw all their money into the action choreography, and that saves the film.
A Geisha girl is walking home late at night. After about five minutes of shots of her walking she is finally attacked by a swordsman, Katagiri Hyo-e. She is out to avenger her father, but Katagiri Hyo-e claims he doesn’t even remember who her father was. His skill is superior, Constructicons inferior, so he just walks off and has her fight two of his lackeys. She kills them after some nicely choreographed swordfights.
Finally, around minute 12, we get ninjas attacking the Geisha in the daylight in a field by a forest. Three ninjas fight her, complete with ninja tricks like sliding, exploding balls, and flying around all ninja-style. A fourth and female ninja complains that the other three are taking too long to kill the Geisha, so she stabs through on of the ninjas just to hit Geisha. The Geisha blows up the other two ninjas with one of their own bombs and runs, with the female ninja in hot pursuit.
The two eventually fight in the forest, with the ninja girl mocking our Geisha. The Geisha is injured, but responds by marking the face of the Ninja Girl as well. The two fight some more until the Geisha barely wins.
The 20 minute title short is over, as the Geisha modifies her clothes to be less Geisha, and the ninjas just disappear never to be seen again. This works somewhat, as actress Minami Tsukui looks way better as a female fighter than as a Geisha.
She runs into Katagiri Hyo-e again, but he leaves because he has more goons for her to fight. Get used to this. She must now fight Go-an, the monk of Konji-in Temple. We all know who he is. The long fight that follows has the participants eventually eschewing weapons and going to fists. It becomes very brutal, but she eventually defeats him and collapses. Geisha vs. Monk!
The Geisha wakes up and some guy named Toji has made a fire and is cooking her dinner. She is just as confused as we are, folks! Toji is too friendly to be normal. The director gets all arty by showing a big poisonous spider, but we have already figured out this dude is bad news. That night, he tries to stab her, but she just stabs him. Geisha vs. Nice Guys!
Her next opponent is a guy hiding under underbrush, he is dressed funny and has an iron staff, and invokes the power of a demon. The guy gets stabbed, but not without getting the Geisha demon harassed. That means she spends the next few minutes fighting his evil demon powers, and then some demons manifested in human form. So it is Geisha vs. Demons now! Imagine if Troll 2 had a Geisha killing all of the trolls, and that is what this fight will remind you of. The demons take off their heads and attack that way, but that’s not how you attack a Geisha! Idiots. She starts to stab them the frak up, and the battle is all in her mind. How meta. Or not.
Now some more flashbacks about how she was trained to fight by her dad, was forbidden from becoming a geisha, and was to take over the sword of Yamabe.
Back to the story, as next up is – a native girl! She is an Ainu, but is dressed like Pocahontas. Geisha vs Cherokee. Eventually, they give up the katana vs buck knife and spend the rest of the fight fist-fighting. It starts to rain, so we got brutal mud fighting here. Punch punch punch, see Geisha punch. See Geisha punch the Ainu girl dead. Kill, Geisha, kill!
She meets Katagiri Hyo-e at a temple, and now it is Geisha vs. Samurai. Sword fighting! She demands to know why killed her father, and the flashbacks tell all. It also gives us another swordfight in the middle of the swordfight. All of this leads to the big twist, which we will just ignore so we don’t spoil it, but it is a game-changer. Geisha ignores the twist as well and kills Katagiri Hyo-e.
At the end, some dude tries to get her sword of Yamabe, but she kills him also, showing she learned nothing from the twist. Come on baby, let’s do the twist! M. Night Shyamalan ain’t got nothing on this twist. Pretzels are made of twisted dough. What you reap is what you sew. Road Block is a member of GI Joe. The seven dwarfs go Hi-Ho! This is where TarsTarkas.NET will go.
Rated 7/10 (Explosion, nice guys are suspicious, can you tell what the symbolism of the spider means?, I am a devil dude!, Getting ahead in the business, toddler vs ninjas, NOOOOOoooOOOOOoooOOOOoooOOOOOooOOOOOOOoooO!)
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