Archive for December, 2010

Ninja Day 2010: Revenge of the Ninja (1983) melts my brain with awesomeness

Posted in 80s, movies, ninjas, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , on December 6, 2010 by Paxton

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I’m continuing my celebration of Ninja Day all this week with reviews of ninja movies. Today I look at one of the greatest ninja movies of all time, Revenge of the Ninja starring Sho Kosugi.

Revenge of the Ninja poster

Revenge of the Ninja is the second in an unofficial “trilogy” of ninja movies by The Cannon Group in the mid-80s. The first movie in that trilogy was Enter the Ninja (1981) and the third movie was Ninja III: The Domination (1984). All of them starred Sho Kosugi.  However neither of those movies were anywhere near as good as the middle movie, 1983’s Revenge of the Ninja. Let’s take a walk through this movie’s plot and see all the unbelievably awesome and ridiculous moments contained within.

So, the movie starts in Japan. Sho is there with his wife, young son and parents. Sho is off talking to his friend, Braden, an old white dude, when a group of like 6 ninjas show up and slaughter the family. I’m not sure why the family died, some old ninja master must be jealous of Sho’s bad ass awesomeness and sent his army to kill them all. The movie doesn’t really do a good job of explaining it.
ineffective ninjas Sho teeth
So this group of ninjas come in and kill everyone and then lay in wait for Sho to show up. When he does arrive, they pop out of the bushes and try to kill him by shooting arrows at him.  However, these are the worst ninjas ever and they underestimated his grim determination to kick ass and Sho catches two of the arrows in his hand and then catches the third arrow IN HIS MOUTH. Surprisingly, watching Sho catch a ninja arrow in his teeth didn’t cause the ninjas to crap their gi’s and run.  However, they must have been out of arrows after this display because they stop shooting and jump out of the bushes to surround Sho instead of just shooting him with his hands and mouth full (like I said, WORST NINJAS EVER). All the better for him to ninja kick some ass.

And Sho does kick their ass rather handily. Afterwards, Sho decides to follow his friend Braden back to America and start over with his young son (who wasn’t killed) and his mother (also survived).

Braden Evil Ninja 1
By the way, this is Braden. The old white guy who is also, apparently, a ninja. I guess he lived with Sho’s family for 20 years in Japan and learned their ninjitsu. However, Sho doesn’t realize that Braden is evil and is using Sho to smuggle drugs into the country. Notice Braden’s ninja outfit.  It looks like it’s made of silk and he wears a mask underneath his ninja mask.  Awesome.  And evil.

gangsters
Braden is working with these also ridiculous gangsters to smuggle heroin into the country through Sho’s Japanese art museum. Obviously, they try to double cross Braden and steal the heroin themselves.  What kind of gangster doesn’t use a scantily clad or topless woman as a masseuse?  The gay kind.

Kane vs Bullies Kane vs Bullies 2
Anyway, it’s six years after the ninja attack in Japan. Sho’s son, Kane (actual real son Kane Kosugi) is in elementary school. There is a ridiculous but awesome scene in which adorable little Kane in his pink Izod sweater kicks a bunch of older bullies’ asses. I don’t know why it’s in there, but I love that it is.

Sho vs Blondie
This is Kathy. She’s the typical 80s blonde. She works at Sho’s museum. And she’s also working for Braden to smuggle the heroin. In her first scene, she shows up in Sho’s family dojo without pants and tries to seduce him. This is the first of many times we see Kathy in skimpy outfits.  However Sho turns it into a lesson and begins to spar with her and pretty easily kicks her ass. Of course she holds her own for a bit because everyone in this movie knows some form of martial art.

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Ninja Day 2010: Behind the scenes of Cannon’s American Ninja

Posted in 80s, movies, ninjas, pop culture with tags , , , on December 5, 2010 by Paxton

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And so dawns another Ninja Day.  Take this time to reflect on the awesomeness of a bad ass ninja.  Every year this blog celebrates Ninja Day and has done so since 2006.  Click here to see all my Ninja Day articles.

While today is officially Ninja Day, next week will be Ninja Week on the Cavalcade.  I’ll be reviewing ninja movies next week.  All having to do with the ridiculously deadly ninja, and all are vintage, from the 80s and awesome.  As a matter of fact, at least two of them star one Sho Kosugi.  He was THE 80s icon for the ninja who recently (last year) starred as the bad ass villain in Ninja Assassin.  I’ll be reviewing at least two of the movies in the Sho Kosugi 80s ninja “unofficial” trilogy I discussed in my Unofficial Movie Trilogies article a few months ago.  Want to see what they are?  Tune back in next week; same ninja time, same ninja blog.

Today, though, for Ninja Day, I want to discuss the 1985 movie, American Ninja starring Michael Dudikoff.

American Ninja poster

Specifically, I want to talk about the trouble The Cannon Group had getting it to the big screen.  The movie has an interesting history that I think will make a good tale for Ninja Day.

Cannon Films

The production company, The Cannon Group, made many of the ninja movies back in the day during the big 80s ninja boom.  Their main ninja star was Sho Kosugi.  During post production on Ninja III: The Domination Cannon started pre-production on a movie called American Ninja.  Of course, it was going to star their main ninja, Sho Kosugi, as the villain.  At the time, I don’t think they had cast the title character. Here’s some early promotional art for the Sho Kosugi American Ninja.

Sho Kosugi in American Ninja
(Via VintageNinja.net)

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Ninja Day 2010 is stealthily creeping up on us…

Posted in 80s, movies, ninjas, pop culture with tags , , , on December 3, 2010 by Paxton

Ninja Day Banner

That’s right. Ninja Day 2010 is three days away on Sunday, Dec 5, 2010.  Are you ready?  If you keep turning around thinking you’re hearing something behind you, don’t be scared.  It’s just Ninja Day creeping up ninja-style ready to gut you like a rainbow trout.  Just go with it.

What do I have planned?  Well, on Ninja Day I’ll discuss a popular 80s ninja movie and some of the behind the scenes drama that almost led to it not being released.  Next week, I’ll continue Ninja Day with a bunch of reviews of ninja movies.  Most are vintage 80s, but one was released last year.

So come back on Sunday and next week, sit back, relax and let the explosive awesomeness of badass ninjas fighting fill your heart with warmth and love…and death.

Shark vs Ninja