Ninjas, Nunchucks and Ghosts.
Eureka Entertainment bring us a slice of 1980’s hack, slice and kick trilogy. Covering the early 80’s cinema, now brought into the 21st Century in a great 5 disc set. From Cannon Films, this trilogy is the less serious side of the ninja trade as they are mainly set outside of Japan and featuring taglines such as,
“Hired Assassins… Human Killing Machines”.
“400 years of training in the art of sudden death…unleashed on 20th century America”.
“He’s the ultimate killer. She’s the perfect weapon”.
So slap on your Gi Ninja suit, sit back and enjoy 282 mins of nunchucks, death stars, flash-bangs and disappearing ninjas.
Enter the Ninja is a tale of friendship and an honour debt and ultimately revenge, a common tale in the Ninja trilogy.
We see a man in white being chased by a black ninja and his red minions. They are trying to stop him getting to their leader but they fail and the white ninja takes the leader’s head. The man in white is Cole (Franco Nero, Django Unchained) and he has just passed his intensive ninja training. All are pleased for him except for the black ninja Hasegawa (Shô Kosugi, Pray for Death) who says that Cole is no ninja as he is American and ninjas should come from Japan and have a linage like his own. Afterwards Cole decides to head to the Philippines to see his old army buddy Frank (Alex Courtney, Death House) who has a coconut plantation, which his wife Mary Ann (Susan George, Straw Dogs) runs passionately. But Cole and Mary Ann’s first meeting doesn’t go well.
With introductions over we soon find out that Frank has turned to the booze because he is fighting a large company for his estate and they fight dirty.
Cole steps in and takes on the Hook (Zachi Noy, Lemon Popsicle) and his goons but the Hook is just a lackey of the corporate boss Venarius (Christopher George, The Exterminator).
What will it take to make Cole don his ninja suit?
Wait and See.
Revenge of the Ninja is not connected in any way to the first film apart from Shô Kosugi being in it. He plays Cho Osaki, who lives in Japan and is in talks with his American friend Braden (Arthur Roberts, Not of this Earth) who wants him to come to America and open a gallery with him. He is unsure, but back at his home a host of ninjas have turned up and slaughtered his family, all bar his grandmother (Grace Oshita) and his newborn son who was hidden.
This tips the balance and six years later, we see a young Kane Osaki (Kane Kosugi, DOA: Dead on Arrival) outside school waiting for his grandmother to walk him home but on the way back Kane is picked upon by a group of boys. Kane fights back and sees them off, his father sees this and chastises him but grandma steps in and tells Cho that Kane must be trained as a ninja as is the family’s way.
He learns quickly, Cho is a master teacher and the gallery is almost ready to open as the building is now full of very expensive dolls. Braden is keen to get the gallery open and seal some deals, as he is living a lie. He is a drug dealer using the gallery as the front and he is doing it through the local Mafia family. They have fallen out due to money issues and Braden swears to get the boss Chifano (Mario Gallo, Raging Bull). Suddenly family members are getting bumped off by a silver masked ninja. When Cho finds out he is betrayed what will get him to unsheathe his sword?
Shô Kosugi makes another appearance in Ninja III: Total Domination. This is a step away from the previous films as it is set totally in the US and it is now 1984, so you can expect leotards, big hair and leg-warmers, and you won’t be disappointed.
Picture a golf course and a man and women and his bodyguards, what could go wrong? Ninja, that’s what, he leaps out from the ruff, slices up the bodyguards and turns his attention to the fleeing golf-cart. The ninja shows incredible strength by stopping the cart and picking up the back-end and before the pair flee, the ninja dispatches them. Before he can make his escape the police turn up which sets off a lot of car, motorbike and helicopter stunts. Death stars fly and cops die as they are sliced up, more and more cops turn up and bullets fly but the ninja refuses to go down and stay down. The dying ninja manages to do a disappearing trick in amongst all the flying bullets.
The ninja is more feisty than expected given that he is full of lead. He manages to hypnotise Chris and he passes her his sword. Afterwards she is at the police station giving her statement and officer Billy Secord (Jordan Bennett, The Waltons) has taken quite a shine to her, obsessive really. But she says she would never date a cop. then she spots a cop and has a flashback through the camera’s eye of the shooting of the mysterious ninja. Now this is where the film departs from the normal premise of a ninja film and becomes more like Poltergeist (1982).
Later Chris is getting ready to do an aerobics class when her friend spots the sword and inspects it. She questions Chris about it but she just fobs her off and puts it in her wardrobe. At the aerobics class Secord is there as well and is soon worn out. After the session she spots three men that had been letching over them whilst they pumped iron, they were pushing around one of the girls. Chris steps in and shows some impressive martial art moves and knocks the guys about, afterwards Secord steps in and takes Chris away saying she could be arrested for assault, but they end up in bed. While Secord is asleep the Poltergeist stuff starts. By the morning a cop has died and Chris has lost time. Is someone taking revenge from beyond the grave?
See trailers below.