Stars: Rob Baard, Roger Neave, Danny Glover, John Balazs, Blaze Broadway, Cassandra Gava, Aliante Youngdino, Jacob Fyfe, Vivian Langham, Jennifer Rose, Christopher Bunworth, Melinda Di Natale | Written by Rob Baard | Directed by John Balazs, Rob Baard
Ninjas, Danny Glover and a man wearing a terrible spandex suit – it’s like the 1980s never went away! Resolutely refusing to be trendy, Ninja: Immovable Heart blunders on head first into a story so niche you almost have to admire writer/director/star Rob Baard. For all its faults, there’s no doubting that this is a real labour of love for its multi-talented leading man, even if very little of it sticks.
No-one is more confused than sole famous name Danny Glover, who looks utterly perplexed for every moment he appears on screen. Locked in a small room (against an obvious CGI backdrop), Glover spends the whole time on his phone, demanding to know where he is and what is going on. For all we know, he could be talking to his agent. There’s no Ninjitsu for the erstwhile Roger Murtaugh – being, after all, too old for this shit (sorry). Reeve (Baard) is responsible for the majority of the film’s action, shirtlessly beating his way through the government he once worked for in search of answers. Old mentor John Carpenter (really) may hold the answers – and Reeve sets about attempting to find out why he was captured and what the government want with him. What this translates to in reality is a series of surprisingly effective fight sequences and unsurprisingly ineffective CGI.
There’s no denying that there’s (immovable) heart here, but so much of it feels self-indulgent and silly, like the sort of thing you’d find on the Syfy channel or Channel 5, back during its inception. Baard doesn’t exactly help matters here, casting himself as the hero in spite of his lack of leading man charisma. He knows his way around a punch (the Ninjitsu is, apparently, authentic) but his is the too-serious Steven Seagal school of acting, rarely recognising the inherent ridiculousness.
Ninja: Immovable Heart cares deeply about what it does, and does so with higher production values and more style than one might expect. Still, it can’t hide the waft of self-important macho silliness. There’s a reason there aren’t so many ninja movies about these days. The boys toys are cool and all, but there comes a point you need to grow up, put a shirt on and, well, not make films about ninja. We’re all too old for this shit.
Ninja: Immovable Heart is out now on DVD from Gilt Edge Media