Comics Movie Reviews
Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe Review
By Hervé St-Louis
May 10, 2020 - 22:52

Studios: Bat in the Sun Productions, Valiant Entertainment
Valiant Entertainment
Writer(s): Aaron Schoenke, Matt Kindt, Clay Mann, Mark Moretti, Joe Quesada
Starring: Michael Rowe, John Hennigan, Chantelle Barry, Ciera Foster, Kevin Porter, Alex Meglei, Damion Poitier, Craig Young, Jason David Frank, Derek Theler
Directed by: Aaron Schoenke, Sean Schoenke
Produced by: Gavin Cuneo, Josh Johns, Dinesh Shamdasani, Ryan Stayton
Running Time: 113 minutes
Release Date: March 26, 2020
Distributors: Valiant Entertainment

Introduced as a promotional web series in the summer of 2018, Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe is the story of a British James Bond-like spy coerced by an enemy to betray his allies and friends. He has to steal the Geomancer’s book which contains the history of the world. Battling Bloodshot, X-O-Manowar, LiveWire, Archer, Armstrong and more, Ninjak has to save the world while betraying his friends. Will he achieve this impossible feat?

Valiant released this full movie on YouTube on March 26, 2020, to promote the Bloodshot movie. Unfortunately, the Bloodshot movie arrived in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown. The pandemic crippled the film’s potential. My first impression of Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe was that it felt like a CW super hero show. It was fun, campy and filled with cheap visual effects and the overacting. But it does not matter. If Valiant made a Blu-Ray version with behind-the-scenes extras, I would buy it. were included. Heck, it should have come as bonus material in the Bloodshot movie Blu-Ray release.

I’m a long time Valiant fan. I bought the original Valiant comics as they way back as they came out. I read Harbinger, Archer and Armstrong, X-O-Manowar, Solar Man of the Atom, Eternal Warrior, Magnus Robot Fighter, and Rai. I’m one of those guys who had the Harbinger #0 issue mailed to them by Valiant Comics at the time. So meeting the characters once again in a live format was a blast. The Valiant Universe at the time was the most original in the super hero spinoff universes of the 1990s. It rivalled Marvel and DC Comics in quality and looked better than Image Comics.

The originality of that universe was visible in the movie although Ninjak the main hero. You know the formula. Ninjak had to be able to disable much more powerful foes as the hero of the series. My favourites have always been Archer, Armstrong and the Eternal Warrior. They felt like the real deal. Let me put it clearly, Archer and Armstrong and their buddy antics stole the show. These two could hold a television series or a film together while being as original as can be. Valiant could produce a conspiracy-laden buddy action-comedy film duo with a decent budget.

I felt that X-O-Manowar was smarter and less a party animal than I remembered but it does not matter. I enjoyed his presence in this film.

The special effect and the photography were not the best, I admit. Bloodshot looked grey instead of metallic. The effects on X-O-Manowar’s helmet were not convincing and some shots were quite poor, like the one where a character was falling down with a parachute. It felt like the kind of cheesy effects one would see in a 1970s-action film.

Yet, in Valiant and movie production Bat in the Sun’s defence, many super heroes of the past had to evolve from cheesy action movies before graduating to full-fledged professional films. Have you seen the first Spider-Man television series, or the first Captain America film? What about Shazam or Wonder Woman’s television series in the 1970s?

I am hooked again on Valiant after having abandoned that universe for years. I want to see what this publisher can do now that they’ve got my attention again. I may have to get my super hero fix from Valiant if they are willing to put so much effort to entertain fans.

Rating: 8.5/10

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