I love shitty movies when they know exactly how shitty they are and don't pretend otherwise. I secretly hope that all the Steven Seagal movies are filmed with the knowledge of how silly they are but I not-so-secretly know they aren't. I get a lot of flack from certain people (on this website... ahem... Patrick...) for my sheer enjoyment of shitty films. I hold a lot of films like both Crank movies, The Wicker Man along with every Nic Cage film I've seen, and basically every Roland Emmerich film in the highest regard because I love being able to turn off the brain for a couple hours and simply enjoy something without having to think, feel, or do. It might be too high a regard, but it's on the internet and we all know people don't lie on the internet.
This brings me to my review of the Tongan Ninja. I'm an unabashed fan of Jermaine Clement and apparently the whole Kiwi film movement that him and his crew have going on but this film is so much more than just another film in which he's involved. In the vein of parody movies and specifically Kung Pow: Enter The Fist, Tongan Ninja is a parody of kung-fu action movies. Just like Kung Pow, Tongan Ninja goes so far as to dub the dialogue like kung-fu movies coming out of Asia have been known to do for American audiences. As such, some of the humour found in both movies comes from how the dialogue is actually delivered. It's impossible to do the humour any justice in the written word, so I'll simply state that it's very funny to me.
The basic premise of the story is that a Tongan Ninja has to defend the honour of a lady by protecting her and her family restaurant from a group of thugs. The movie provides an origin for both the protagonist and antagonist in that both the former and latter are in a plane crash in the Tongan jungle and are found by a clan of ninjas. They are raised by said ninjas and taught the ways of the ninja. That's pretty much all you need to know and should be sufficient information to have you foaming at the mouth with excitement over this movie.With it being a parody, you should not be expecting things you'd traditionally find in a kung-fu movie. The dialogue is somehow worse and more cheesy. The action is definitely not up-to-par. Basically, nothing is sacred when it comes to the parodying. As I've stated time and time again, I love shitty movies that know they're shit. Tongan Ninja manages to be an absolutely shitty movie while simultaneously being a great parody. The added bonus of a song here or there (written by one of the Flight Of The Conchords members!) only sweetens the deal. Actually, I find that Bret McKenzie is doing a lot of soundtrack work and our ears all win as a result. If you're looking for a laugh and want to kill an hour and a half, watch Tongan Ninja. If you're offended by the thought of the sacred filming style of kung-fu action being desecrated, it might be better for you to avoid this and instead watch Ong-Bak or something similar.