Bruce (Brad Jones), villainous ninja from the first season of "Ninja: The Mission Force", is not as dead as he ought to be. Rising from the grave with a desire for vengeance, he once again sets out in his quest for take over the world. This time, his master scheme involves "emo-dub-country," a vile mixture of everyone's least favorite musical genres, guaranteed to drive people mad. Luckily for the world, beautiful secret agent Cheetah Lee (Allison Pregler) is on hand to stop him, and she's not alone. Comrades include long-distance ninja mentor and Bruce's former nemesis Gordon (Ed Glaser), who provides her with tips via TV set, and Henry, a talking hamster.
The thing about bad filmmaking is that the humor derived from it is so specific, rising up out of a very particular brand of sincerity and ineptitude. I'm sure Rachelle's cast are funny people, but the performances they give here all have a fatal air of winking at the audience with every pause, bizarre line, and physical stumble. Ninja the Protector is presumably funny because it tries to be serious despite its limitations and eccentricities, and so it's a shame to find that missing from "Ninja: The Mission Force", both in the writing and in the performances. I also could've done without the "dubbing" of the show's new footage, the one B-movie joke I would say is simply played out. It's probably done to help "match" with the vintage material, but I doubt the audience would mind much if that aspect of the show wasn't consistent.
The use of the public domain material sounds like it should be the best part of the show, but it ends up being a crutch. Sadly, the main gags in these sections are goofy voices and over-stating the obvious, humor that becomes pretty one-note after awhile. Not to make Kung Pow! out to be some sort of benchmark of comedy, but "Ninja: The Mission Force" could use more of Oedekerk's eye and / or ear for non-sequiturs and total silliness. Adding insult to injury, some of these sections are written with such an awkward bent toward the gags that the story these pieces are supposed to be telling becomes hard to follow. It's one thing to rewind a complicated conversation in a dense thriller for more information; it's a little weird to have to do that for a goofy comedy.
Humor is pretty subjective, so I won't insist that this show is terrible. It's possible that the first season was funnier, and I'm conscious of the fact that pushing myself through episodes I would not have normally watched in order to try and review the show will unfairly affect my opinion. I'm also all about the idea that this genre riff was created by a woman, which is cool. For those with a different comic sensibility than mine, this will be a light, kitschy romp through B-films. For me, though, it's a miss, ultimately mocking the B-movies Rachelle uses instead of honoring their heartfelt brand of cheesiness.
The Video and Audio
The complete feature film Ninja the Protector (1:07:56) is also included. Presented with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this slice of '80s cheese should really sweeten the pot for those considering picking this release up. "The Outlaw Script" rounds out the extras, via DVD-ROM.