Afro Ninja: Destiny (DVD)
As former Republican senator Ted Stevens once said, the internet is not a big truck, but rather a series of tubes—and the greatest tube of all is undoubtedly YouTube. Most of us have watched a lot of clips on that website, ranging from freshly uploaded content to ten-minute chunks of Capitol Critters. YouTube has also become the default site for viral videos (suck it, Ebaumsworld!). While a lot of these tend to come from the “it’s pointless, therefore it’s inherently funny” school of humour, some of them are absolutely hilarious and few more so than the video labeled “Afro Ninja” or “Afro Ninja 2”.
To recap the video for those who haven’t seen it, we are presented with a group of men who are auditioning for a Nike commercial. The theme of the commercial seems to simply be “men bursting with enough macho-ness that they would put Randy Savage to shame,” and what the “Afro Ninja” video shows us are the outtakes of said theme.
I don’t know about you, but that’s obviously comedic gold. You are watching one minute and thirty-two seconds of hulking (and sometimes not-so-hulking) people who think they are awesomely powerful discover that they are, in fact, not so awesome. Schadenfreude at its finest comes from the titular “Afro Ninja”—stunt man Mark Hicks—who falls flat on his face after a backflip, then flails about with nunchaku. Hicks believed the popularity of the video was damaging to his career, so he attempted to “take back the Afro Ninja” as it were, by writing, directing and starring in Afro Ninja: Destiny.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of a YouTube-inspired movie is not very promising, especially given that the movie’s first third is devoted entirely to given the video a kind of origin story before having anything remotely funny or interesting happen. Describing the plot of this film—man finds magic nunchaku and fights crime even though his one super power is that he can’t backflip effectively—you’d think it’d be really funny, but you would be wrong.
Look, any of us can write silly plots like this, especially if we had a viral video to base it on. How about a soldier who is near-fatally wounded by a brush fire, but the military thought they could repair him by building a banana-shaped life support system in Banana Fire: Inferno. A movie made by a stuntman should have put the stunt-work in Death Proof to shame, but instead we have sub-Xena stunt work in a film that manages to make Jim Kelly seem boring.
However, if any producers interested in my script for Dramatic Prairie Dog: Revelation can reach me via The Scope offices. Serious inquiries only.