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The Ninja Penguins (01/18/2008)

released: Jan 18, 2008

description: At a base camp in the midst of an Arctic tundra, scientists Pierre Beaunnaire and Gloria Engell weigh their options. Two months have passed without contact from the outside world, and Beaunnairre believes rescue is not coming for them. The scientists are running out of food. Beaunnairre believes their only chance at survival is to eat the animals they have been studying. Engall begs him to reconsider. Beaunnaire feels as leader of the study, it is his decision to make, and leaves to inform the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, a top a frozen mountain, a man clad only in a short silk robe practices his martial arts.

Beaunnaire argues with the rest of the scientists that they cannot survive if they do not eat the animals, and no one is coming for them. The other scientists point out that soon they will run out of animals to eat, and they have a better chance if they journey out to find rescue. Beaunnaire believes that is a recipe for certain death. The argument continues, when they are interrupted by the sudden appearance of the man from the top of the mountain. He introduces himself and his name echos through their lab: Jiatso. Jiatso tells the scientists he can teach them how to survive, if they meet him at the top of one of tallest mountain, and disappears as quickly as he appeared. Although Beaunaire sees this as little better than death, the other scientists believe it is worth a try.

The team sets out the next morning for the tallest mountain. At the base, they find Jiatso. He tells then of the huge polar bear native to the are, and how they will fearlessly kill anything that comes in their way. He further tells them that he is the only one who has ever killed one of these polar bears. If they can make it to the top of the mountain without their equipment, Jiatso will train them to kill the bears as well.

The team, clad only in their protective black and white suits, begin to climb the mountain, despite Beaunnaire's continued doubts. Their trek is suddenly cut when Hunter Crestley is hit in the face with a mysterious snow ball and falls from the chain. Crestley falls down a hole, and slides directly into the den of the giant polar bear, where he finds himself caged. The giant polar bear tears herself away from her nest of cubs to throw Crestley a fish and make sure he is unhurt. Crestley is surprised at the kindness of this supposedly vicious beast.

The rest of the team is horrified, as they do not know if Crestley survived the fall. Beaunnaire insists on going back to see if he is alive. Jiatso appears briefly to advise that the Arctic wolf as the best chance of survival, because he remains with the pack. Beaunnaire refuses to listen and goes back down anyhow. He falls down the same hole, and finds himself in the same cage as Crestley.

Meanwhile, the three women continue their trek up the mountain. There is a tense moment when Engall and Janet fall, leaving only Markson hanging onto the mountain, but they let the gymnastics of the otters inspire them and flip themselves right again. Finally they make it to the top, where they are met with a hamburger set underneath a box propped up by a stick. Janet cannot help herself and takes the hamburger. She is immediately trapped and sent down a similar slide into the bear's cave.

Engall and Markson find themselves alone at the top of the mountain when Jiatso appears. He congratulates them on their successful journey and invites them into his own cave. They cautiously enter, and are met with a huge polar bear -- the stuffed corpse of the bear Jiatso killed. Jiatso informs them they are ready to begin their training.

On top of the mountain, Jiatso first teaches them to surpass the cold conditions using visualization. Once they have mastered that successfully, he begins to train them to kill the bears. The secret, he tells them, is in the throat -- it is the bears' weakness. Soon, Jiatso tells his students they are ready -- and drops them down a passage which leads them into the bear's cave.

They find the other members of the team there, living comfortably despite being held captive. Engall and Markson see that the bear is preparing their team for something more sinister, and begin to train the others to kill the bears using what Jiatso taught them. Soon, the entire team is ready.

They break their way out of the cage. The bear hears, and comes ambling towards them. They automatically go through the motions Jiatso taught -- block, jump on the back, attack throat. They take down the bear almost effortlessly -- only to find her cubs enraged. They each fight off the bear cubs individually, and though Crestley is injured, they are ultimately successful. With Crestley on Beaunnaire's back, they make their way from the cave. They are, however, caged again by falling icicles. Together, they use Jiatso's visualization to surpass the obstacles of climate, and make their way out safely.

They find their way back to their base, where a rescue helicopter is actually awaiting them. Although Crestley opts to get on the helicopter and fly back to civilization, the others decide that their new home is the Arctic, thanks to Jiatso. Together, they continue to learn more under Jiatso's wing.

cast & crew:

Directed by . . . Jason Chin
 
Gloria Engell . . . Colleen Breen
Helicopter Driver . . . Jorin Garguilo
Hunter Crestley . . . Adal Rifai
Janet . . . Amy Verdon
Jiatso . . . Sean Kelley
Maxine Markson . . . Mel Evans
Pierre Beaunnaire . . . Roger Payton
Polar Bear . . . Michael Johnson
Polar Bear Cub #1 . . . Jorin Garguilo
Polar Bear Cub #2 . . . Kristen Studard
Polar Bear Cub #3 . . . Sean Kelley

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