Rob Bricken's blog Topless Robot, first announcing the title and showing the poster and then showing off the trailer. And well, I have been a bit excited about the idea ever since.
I am not a big believer in grading films on a curve, but there is something to be said about looking at what the Director was trying to achieve. In this case, it was pretty obvious that the Director was looking to make a fun, slightly cheesy action movie where rubber-suited Aliens fought leather-suited Ninjas, spilling tons of fake blood in the process. And in that respect, Seiji Chiba succeeds and then some.
But the film manages to succeed even a bit more through its attention to detail and the way that the Director scavenges bits of pop culture from everywhere he can. The film is set in a very specific time in Japanese history. The Ninjas are from the Iga clan, paranoid that the ball of fire that they witness (the crashing Alien spaceship) is some kind of weapon created by the Koga clan of Ninjas. Since the Iga clan still lives in their villages and they are still arguing whether they should support Oda or Tokugawa, the film must take place before 1581 when Oda Nobunaga invaded the Iga province and destroyed the villages where the Iga clan trained and raised their families.
I am willing to bet real money that the girl ninja gets raped by aliens.Monty Prime would be wrong. Mika remains unmolested, although not from lack of trying on the Alien's part. Mind you, in this case "rape" is more like "cop a feel of Mika's incredible breasts", because even non-mammalian Aliens are breast obsessed. Mika's strategy for fighting off gropers is pretty awesome though since it involves brass knuckles and a moment designed to reference The Monster Squad.
-Monty Prime from Topless Robot
And I suppose, now would be a good time to give a warning that here there be spoilers lurking.
The Ninjas' motto for the film is "Anything that bleeds, Ninjas can kill." Fortunately for the Ninjas, the Alien blood is not acid. The Aliens do have a few other unpleasant quirks that make them harder to kill though.
Rather than eggs, the Aliens have a series of holes from their head from which the first cycle of Alien life emerges. I have no idea if all the Aliens in the film have these or if just the Queen does - all the Aliens appeared identical to me - but there is clearly an alpha-dog Alien leader of the pack. What emerges from the holes is not a face-hugger but a... well, the best description is a nose shrimp.
In case you were wondering about who is better Alien or Ninja, the Aliens throw in the towel about 2/3 of the way through the film when the pink-bunny throat Aliens animate a group of dead and dying Koga clan Ninjas to fight off the remaining Iga clan Ninjas. If you have to create Zombie Ninjas to fight live Ninjas, you are conceding the supremacy of Ninjas over Aliens. (Admittedly, the Aliens are piloting the Zombie Ninja bodies.)
Not that the Aliens have anything to apologize for when it comes to their fighting skills. They don't fight much like Aliens though. They are fast as hell and fight more like a weird mutant combination of the Predators, the burrowers from Tremors, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario (the Gooba Stomp is a move used by both sides in the conflict), a boxing kangaroo and a female Gelfling from The Dark Crystal.
Ultimately, AvN is a great hoot and holler exploitation action comedy that succeeds at being the low-brow entertainment that it aspires to be.