aka Kunoichi Ninja Girl
Directed and written by Seiji Chiba
A woman working the fields and tending to her baby is ganked by a neck rope thrown by an unseen kidnapper. Thus is the world of Kunoichi!
As you probably know by now, TarsTarkas.NET is a fan of martial arts films, particularly female martial artists. And as Rina Takeda is one of the up and coming women taking the films to the new decade, we’ve been following her career closely. From High-Kick Girl! to KG – Karate Girl, Takeda has matured as an actress and martial artist. And Takeda has taken on more and more projects, keeping herself busy. But Kunoichi is a step back in the quality department, and I was disappointed at the final project.
Kunoichi is marketed as a period martial arts piece. We know it won’t be a giant spectacle, and I fully expect a low-budget affair. It’s set in the woods, a familiar place for fans of low budget films, as that way they have an excuse for no extras running around. And permits are easier to get for running around in the middle of nowhere (if they even bothered!) But Kunoichi is surprising in how low budget it looks and feels. It’s a martial arts film with barely any martial arts. That’s not what I signed up for! The only decent fight is around the 40 minute mark, and is over with 10 minutes to go on our hour-long film. Besides a few teases of fighting and some kicking, there is little else, and nothing that is choreographed for more than one move. Disappointing is an understatement.
Stop for me, it’s the CLAW!
Director Seiji Chiba has put out numerous low budget films in recent years. Alien vs Ninja garnered some praise, and probably made funding of Kunoichi easier. But while Alien vs Ninja was a mix of comedy and action, Kunoichi is stoically serious in tone. You don’t get the sense that anyone is having fun here, and that hurts the film as well. I don’t expect Giggles Ninja Girl, but one or two goofy things wouldn’t have hurt.
And once again, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!