Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Oh I wanted to like this movie so much, I really did. A movie with a title like that, one that features three very attractive, albeit incredibly thin young ladies and also features the unique thespian stylings of Eddie and the Cruiser himself Michael Pare, not even to mention the legendary George Takei, who we might add as of this writing has applied for his California marriage license and will be marrying some dude shortly. Congrats on the love Sulu! But unfortunately despite my hopes and dreams that Ninja Cheerleaders would become that all time camp classic that I was so hoping that it would become, it was not be.

Our film opens as three skinny people dressed in black stealthily descend upon some army base and grab this sacred sword and replace it with a replica. Then they find some army guards and proceed to beat the hell out of them. My question of course is why go through all the trouble of replacing the sword with a fake when you were going to make a whole lot of noise and kick a whole lot of ass anyway? Regardless this was apparently a test as our three ninjas in training, Courtney (Trishelle Cannatella), April (Ginny Weirick) and Monica (Matiland McConnell) present this sword to their sensei Hirosi (Takei) and are now full fledged Ninja. Is the plural of Ninja Ninjas, Ninji, or just Ninja? I’m gonna have to look that up.

In addition to being Ninjas our three heroines are also junior college geniuses who study hard when they are not on the cheerleading team in an effort to transfer to a high quality Ivy League school. But to get into one of these schools, Brown is the one they have their eyes on, you need a good bit of loot and to supplement their income these freshly minted eighteen year olds dance at Sensei Hiroshi’s strip club. Yes, they are Ninja stripper cheerleaders these young ladies. Or I guess I should call them go-go dancers since they don’t actually get naked. This is actually not a bad thing because though these girls are really good looking, they are so incredibly thin that one would be prompted to run out and get them a sausage biscuit with egg and cheese if we actually did see them naked.

Now I’m kinda sitting waiting around for the actual movie to start, like the plot and what-not, and finally it kicks in as we’re introduced to newly released mobster Victor Lazarro who kidnaps Sensei Horoshi because Hiroshi brought his strip club while Lazarro is in jail and he wants it back. He’s also stolen the girls safe where they had all of their strip money saved up that they were going to use to go to Brown. Bastard. Now our girls have the challenges of challenges for in a single day they have to take their final exams to insure that can go Ivy League, they have a game to cheerlead at, they have a fifty thousand dollar strip-off competition they have to compete at AND they have to break into a brutal mobsters hideout, beat up his legion of armed thugs, fight his hired hand Dark Samurai – who is even skinnier than these three - and in the process free their Sensei who is currently being tortured. Seriously.

I think it’s pretty easy to pinpoint, at least initially, where ‘Ninja Cheerleaders’ went wrong and this reason would be that this is a movie that made the severe misstep in taking itself way to seriously. This is a film about 85 pound Cheerleading stripping ninja teenage girls, none of which are exactly the second coming of Michelle Yeoh when it comes to their martial arts skills, and though the movie teeters on the edge of being silly or being a parody, it is filled with so much angst and worry from our ninja girls that the film stops being cute and funny and instead becomes a Ninja Cheerleading Stripping melodrama, and who in the hell wants to see that?

Because this flick ended up being so melodramatic, it placed a lot emphasis on our young ladies having the ability to act. Now had ‘Ninja Cheerleaders’ stayed in the realm of campy silly fun, we could’ve easily forgiven the fact that we weren’t watching Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchette and Judi Dench at work here, but since this movie had so many long, drawn out and extended scenes, there were times were it almost became painful to watch. The same applies to the rather loose narrative as it was so fractured and nonsensical, which wouldn’t have been so bad if the movie had remained in the camp of the campy, but again it took itself far to serious which only exacerbated the stories myriad of flaws.

Another thing that was slightly peculiar was director David Pressley’s use of the ‘titty transition’. Since our three leads refused to get naked, which we have already determined was a good thing, there was a transition from scene to scene which featured a montage of a Ninja and a considerably healthier looking topless woman on a pole. Far be it from me to chastise a man for feeling the need stick a large pair of tits in his movie, but even for me this might have stretched the boundaries of gratuitousness a bit too far. A simple wipe or a dissolve might have been a bit more appropriate.

Yes, ‘Ninja Cheerleaders’, despite the ripe fertile ground for campy fun it held was ultimately a fairly large disappointment for me. But never one to give up as I put this movie back into its Netflix envelope, I see that there is a movie called ‘Cheerleader Ninjas’ that is available for Instant Viewing as my search for the ultimate Cheerleader / Ninja movie continues onward.

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