If there’s one thing that online entertainment has given us (and it’s given us a lot!), it’s a revival of old genres and art forms in an electronic medium, from silent films to serialized novels.
And then there’s the really obscure stuff like Godfrey Ho ninja movies. And who else dared to take on that field than Ed Glaser, Brad Jones, and the other good folk at Dark Maze Studios with their very own web series, Ninja The Mission Force.
Using both original camerawork and edited clips from other movies, Ninja The Mission Force is a tongue-in-cheek take on the old Hong Kong ninja films. Two ninjas named Gordon (played by Ed Glaser) and Bruce (played by Brad Jones) engage in a rivalry to collect six “Avian Ninja Warrior” statues (and don’t let the fact that they look like ordinary rubber duckies fool you!). Their story is told in segue ways and “flashbacks” using edited and re-dubbed footage from such films starring John Travolta and Orson Welles. Ninja duels are also commonplace, involving lots of quick edits and deliberately flashy moves. It’s basically a more modern version of Woody Allen’s famous redubbed film What’s Up, Tiger Lily?
I’ll be the first to admit that some of the comedy is subtle and the acting is deliberately bad, so for some viewers, it might not seem too substantial. But for the rest of us, it’s a treat: corny puns and jokes mixed with bizarre fight scenes and painfully obvious stock footage. Brad Jones is wonderfully hammy as Evil Ninja Bruce and Ed Glaser has a great deadpan delivery as Gordon. It takes a certain kind of skill to make something look like it’s low-quality material (as opposed to just being naturally lousy and making actual low-quality material). Dark Maze Studios has pulled it off and this series deserves all the love it can get.
Bibliography: Ninja The Mission Force. Directed by Ed Glaser. Produced by Ed Glaser. Written by Meagan Rachelle. Perf. Ed Glaser, Brad Jones, Jillian Zurawski, and Sarah Lewis. Dark Maze Studios, 2012 – present.