I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘white ninjas’

American Ninja

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

tn_americanninjab“You know, loners don’t go too far in this outfit.”

AMERICAN NINJA is a Cannon Films classic starring model-turned-action-star Michael Dudikoff as army-rookie-with-a-mysterious-ninja-past Joe Armstrong. I already reviewed it several years ago and in my opinion it was a well-written review with some points and some jokes that I wouldn’t have thought of now. For example I said that the ninjas in the yellow costumes would be good at hiding in a banana tree or a field of dandelions. You gotta have that youthful eye of the tiger to come up with that one.

But today I am revisiting AMERICAN NINJA for an important new series in which we will compare each installment of Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series to each installment of Golan and Globus’s AMERICAN NINJA series. Why, does the AMERICAN NINJA series follow the same character as he ages? Well, not really, I don’t think so, but I can’t think of a better pairing of quintologies to represent the full spectrum of cinema art from the respected and high brow (“brilliantly and strikingly reveals the explosion of a fresh creative talent… a picture that encourages an exciting refreshment of faith in films” wrote Bosley Crowther in The New York Times) to the… other kind (“Woefully acted, abysmally written… an embarrassment even when held to the low standards of grade C exploitation movies” wrote Candice Russell in The Sun Sentinel). By alternating between them and comparing and contrasting how they approach each chapter I hope we’ll find the true meaning of art or whatever. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

tn_ninjaiiNINJA II: SHADOW OF A TEAR is the kind of action movie I always want more of: a pretty simple story about a badass in a personal conflict, stubbornly entrenched in the distinct values of a warrior subculture, with some absurdity but no joking around, and designed to deliver a whole bunch of great fight scenes done by real martial artists with lots of long takes, the camera always carefully composed and steady, moving in ways that always emphasize action and never obscure it. In other words it’s the long-awaited new Isaac Florentine/Scott Adkins joint. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

There’s gonna be a NINJA 2

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Clint Morris at Moviehole is reporting the great news that Nu Image, Isaac Florentine and Scott Adkins are reuniting for a sequel to NINJA – or NINJ* as I’ve always spelled it (the asterisk is a throwing star) – expected to film early next year.

I know NINJA isn’t as popular as the UNDISPUTEDs, but it’s a favorite of mine. It has many great fights, an excellent villain with good motivations, and a few pulpy touches like a villainous oil company/cult. My favorite thing about it is that the opposing ninjas are fighting over a box of weapons. Not magic weapons, just some old weapons. It’s a matter of honor and tradition, nothing to do with saving the world or saving lives or anything. It’s like a modern Cannon movie, except way better than most Cannon movies like it. Can you name a better movie about a white guy adopted by a ninja clan? There are many white ninja movies, but I can’t think of a better one.

And I know they’re gonna try to take the credit away from him, but Obama can hold his head up proud because NINJA and NINJA 2 happened under his watch.

Here’s my original review from 2009.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Norwegian Ninja

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

tn_norwegianninjaI forget who it was that put this on my radar a while back when it was a big deal in Norway, but they were right, this is an interesting movie. NORWEGIAN NINJA is hard to describe. You’d kind of need to see it for yourself to understand. So I’ll try to explain it enough that you might want to see it for yourself and then understand.

Arne Treholt is apparently a real historical figure in Norway, a former Norwegian Labour Party politician who was photographed with KGB agents and sentenced to 20 years in the country’s biggest espionage case ever. Thomas Cappelen Malling is the author of a popular humorous book that purported to be a ninja field manual written by that guy. Not sure how that works exactly, but sounds intriguing. Now Cappelen Malling has directed this movie which is sort of an alternate history of Norway that argues that Arne was not a spy, he was set up in a conflict between the left-leaning side of the government that he was part of and the rightwingers, called “Stay Behind,” who do anything they can to help America fight the Russians, including faking terrorist attacks to make people fear commies. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Ninj*

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

tn_ninjaAll I wanted for Christmas was NINJ*. But it doesn’t come out in the US until March, so I ordered it from Thailand. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Over the last year or so, while sci-fi nerds all over the world were dreaming of the possibilities of AVATAR, a much smaller, more specialized band of connoisseurs – DTV action fans – were dreaming of NINJ*. It showed promise because of three reasons:

1. Isaac Florentine. The Israeli martial artist turned filmatist is the only reliable DTV auteur I know of. His movies usually have a fun tone and always have great, well-staged fights with energetic camera movements (and sound effects whenever somebody moves their arm or turns their head). He’s made distinctive vehicles for Dolph (BRIDGE OF DRAGONS), Michael Jai White (UNDISPUTED II) and Van Damme (THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL – although he disowned that one. But I liked it.). (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Enter the Ninja

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

This week I followed an anonymous tip to take a look at an individual name Sho Kosugi. This guy starred in a series of ninja movies and was said to be a missing link in my badass studies to date. I looked him up and found that ENTER THE NINJA is also known as NINJA 1 because it begins a series, so I started with that.

The movie opens promisingly with the badass in question, Mr. Sho Kosugi, in full ninja uniform, standing in front of a black void, demonstrating every weapon he knows. Nunchakas, throwing stars, arrows, daggers, grappling hook, blow gun. You name it, he spins it around or shoots it. The guy is obviously good and it’s kind of cool how he is basically doing show and tell for you throughout the opening credits. It might as well be some Ninja How-To video. But then all the sudden a ninja in all white flies onto the screen and “kicks” him in the head (although it doesn’t look like he makes contact at all). (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.