There are more zombie ninja movies on Prime Video than you’d probably expect. Just one, however, versus-es them against Black Ops.
The only thing Dillon (Adam T. Perkins) is looking to versus right now is his mortgage. The guy has no problem staring down death on a daily basis for the greater good, but there’s just not much of a payday in shadowy government ops. Meanwhile, Saisei Security offers an extravagant salary, medical, dental, and matches 401K contributions up to 8%. Dillon’s late night interview seems to be going gangbusters too. That is, until it’s interrupted by zombie ninjas and Black Ops.
Thanks to a super-soldier experiment gone predictably wrong, Saisei Security is zombie ninja ground zero. Guess who’s been called in to clean up? You got it: Dillon’s former Black Ops squad. That means, he types with an audible gulp, no witnesses. In one corner, you have Dillon leading The Good Black Ops and trying to keep the body count to a minimum. In the other are The Bad Black Ops, hunting down the reanimation research and gunning down everyone in sight, living and dead. Then there’s a third corner fat-packed with zombie ninjas.
Zombie Ninjas vs. Black Ops knows what you signed up for, and sure enough, there’s a zombie ninja assault in the very first scene. No context. No exposition. Just BAM! – zombie ninjas.
It doesn’t craft some elaborately dense mythology. Characterization doesn’t run much deeper than Good Guy, Bad Guy, or Zombie Ninja. That’s really for the best. Dialogue isn’t this cast’s strong suit overall, and there are times when lines are delivered so excruciatingly slowly that it feels like a ploy to pad out the runtime. If you don’t glance down at your watch seven or eight times during Dillon’s job interview, you’re a better person than I am.
The fight sequences more than make up for it. Needless to say, we’re not talking about dimwitted, shambling Romero zombies here. These undead ninjas retain the agility and martial arts prowess they’d wielded in life. Rotting or not, they still swing a mean katana. The movie’s titular warriors – both living and dead – are a force to be reckoned with. Zombie Ninjas vs. Black Ops doesn’t settle for a quick headshot or a sai to the midsection. These encounters always feel like an epic battle royale, showcasing the speed, power, and physicality of its performers. This is heightened by an emphasis on one-on-one battles, dispensing with the undead hordes typically associated with zombie cinema.
The seams in this Australian indie’s budget can’t help but show. The recording of the dialogue can sound harsh. The movie was apparently lensed on a DSLR, and perhaps that’s why the image is on the soft side and fast motion is prone to ghosting. It doesn’t really take full advantage of the zombie angle. Sure, they have red eyes and growl, but the only way their zombiedom really matters is that they’re basically invincible. They don’t feed on the living, and whatever’s reanimating them is not contagious. You could lose the word “zombie” in the title and have more of the squad’s shots miss, and hardly anything would have to be changed. For what it’s worth, Zombie Ninjas vs. Black Ops is a straight-up action movie and doesn’t really bother with horror at all, without any real gore to speak of. But hey, you wanted zombie ninjas and Black Ops, and the writing/directing team of Kylie and Rody Claude deliver plenty of both.