Ninja Cheerleaders (Review)

Ninja Cheerleaders

Directed and written by David Presley

Ninjas and cheerleaders go together like peanut butter and scotch tape, except now I need a new awkward comparison because Ninja Cheerleaders isn’t that bad of a film. There are a few problems, such as pacing, padding, and pointless stuff; but besides the three P’s, it holds together pretty well. It also has George Takei, who is awesome, but fails to give us cheerleader ninja nudity, instead it is just random strippers who look as fake as a Sorny TV. Writer and director David Presley did an okay job for a low-budget picture like this. So pay attention to this film, because it is filled with hot chicks. And stuff happens. But mostly hot chicks with swords and butt being kicked. Because that is what makes movies great.

Courtney (Trishelle Cannatella) – – Age: 19, Sign: Leo, Favorite Band: LA Philharmonic, Favorite Book: Black Holes and Time Warps by Kip Thorne, Favorite Move: Open palmed nose punch. Courtney comes from a bad home but has risen above all of that to become a ninja cheerleader and to make it into an Ivy League school. Guess which one of these actresses you can find naked pictures of on the internet?
April (Ginny Weirick) – – Age: 18, Sign: Aires, Favorite Band: The Killers, Favorite Book: The Art of War, Favorite Move: Throat/groin combo. The most serious of the three girls, and the one most likely to beat you up for being male. Seriously. She’s sneaking up on you right now!
Monica (Maitland McConnell) – – – Age: 18, Sign: Scorpio, Favorite Band: The Strokes, Favorite Book: Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, Favorite Move: spinning side kick. The free spirit who always has a smile on her face. what kind of name is Maitland?
Hiroshi (George Takei) –George Takei is freaking George Takei! George Takei is awesome! Sure, he plays some dude named Hiroshi who is a ninja sensie and a strip club owner, but he’s really George Takei, and that’s all that matters! George Takei was last heard (but not seen) here giving voices for the English dub of Godzilla Raids Again (Gigantis the Fire Monster).
Victor Lazzaro (Michael Paré) –Michael Paré takes a break from starring in the cinematic horror that is Uwe Boll films (BloodRayne for one) and instead flexes his acting talents here as mob boss Victor Lazzaro. Keep on flexing.
Kinji (Natasha Chang) –The evil girl fighter you need for these movies, except it is not really fair, as she is but one against three. Or four, since she ends up fighting George Takei in the end. No one can defeat George Takei.
Detective Harris (Larry Poindexter) – Goateed cop who spends most of the film one step behind the girls, yet isn’t so slow he doesn’t realize they are up to ninja highjinks. Has an unfortunate encounter with Kinji. Is the guy interviewing the girls for the interspersed interview segments.

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Gigantis, the Fire Monster (Review)

Gigantis, the Fire Monster

aka Godzilla Raids Again aka Gojira no gyakushuu


We start out the second March of Godzilla with the second Godzilla movie, Godzilla Raids Again! Or Gigantis, the Fire Monster, as it is known in the US. What a mess the American version of this film is. A complete an utter destruction of cinema. The Japanese version suffering from some of the faults of films of the time, but the American distributors just completely butcher the entire film. Most noticeably, Godzilla is not called Godzilla, but instead Gigantis. Now, he is technically not the original Godzilla, they make reference to the fact Godzilla Number One was disintegrated in Tokyo Bay. This new Godzilla is his brother, Marvin Godzilla, and he is actually the Godzilla that the next several movies in the series follow, as they are loosely connected. But in America, they just called him “Gigantis” because of reasons mentioned later. Joining Godzilla is the first fellow daikaiju, a creature named Anguirus. He’s loosely based on Ankylosaurs, and has a shell armored with many spikes all over his back. Crawling on four legs, Anguirus was stylistically different from Godzilla and made a good contrast for a first foe. Later monsters would get beam weapons, wings, multiple forms, but Anguirus fights with just one thing: guts!

There are some familiar faces in this film as well. Most notably, main character Shoichi Tsukioka is played by Hiroshi Koizumi, who has been previously seen here in Godzilla vs. Mothra and Ghidrah, playing Dr. Miura. I’ve met Hiroshi Koizumi, which I also mention each time he pops up in a Godzilla movie. Another big name is Takashi Shimura, playing Dr. Yemane, who he also played in the original Godzilla. He is probably best known for Seven Samurai or other Kurosawa films. Another Kurosawa veteran is Minoru Chiaki, who was another of the Seven Samurai, and here plays fellow pilot Kobayashi. All Godzilla movies need a girl, and actress Setsuko Wakayama makes her only Godzilla series appearance as Hidemi Yamaji. Directing this time is Motoyoshi Oda, who is also making his only appearance in G-history.

Both the US and Japanese versions will get reviewed simultaneously here. This is made possible because the US version is not chopped out of order, but follows the same pathway. They both deviate from the set path, as the US distributors added and removed footage, sometimes seemingly at random. The most obvious aspect aside from the Gigantis name is that the US version has narration. Lots of narration. The entire film is narrated. Every second someone is not speaking, the narrator has to talk. The Japanese version has no narrator, so is full of long moments of no dialogue, and little to no sound as the score only drops in randomly. We will note that the US version was produced by Paul Schreibman, who has expressed regrets for ruining the movie so badly. He claims responsibility for renaming Godzilla, as it was his desire to make Americans think they were getting a new monster. Other problems we will experience along the way, including the education film that makes me think Paul Schreibman must be insane.
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