Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I saw ‘American Ninja’, and based on the sheer genius and hilarity of that movie I made it point to acquire all five American Ninja epics. But after watching the first America Ninja, it became clear that these aren’t movies you can string together and watch in succession. No sir, you have decompress after watching an America Ninja movie and get yourself together, reorganize yourself, get your mind right. I figure maybe a year in between watching these movies should suffice, and since sufficient time has passed I figured it was time to attempt to tackle ‘American Ninja II: The Confrontation’. I figured there was no way that world’s most incompetent martial arts film director Sam Firstenberg, the world’s least emotive actor Michael Dudikoff and the world’s most glistening Black Man the late Steve James could catch magic in a bottle two times in a row. I would be incorrect. This sequel isn’t quite as funny as the first, but damn… I need still to decompress. It may be two years before I feel I am capable of attacking ‘American Ninja III: Blood Hunt’

Dateline… Tropical Location. They might’ve told us where, but I don’t remember. Karl (Adrian Waldron) and a couple of his marine buddies are at a bar, trying to have a good time, when a team of thugs ambush them, beat them up and then some ninja appear and take them away, except Karl. Apparently Karl has lured his marine buddies into some kind of trap. Um… do U.S. Marines need to be lured into a bar? Really?

Apparently missing marines are a problem on this island so the government has dispatched two of its top soldiers in Army Rangers Joe Armstrong (Dudikoff) and Curtis Jackson (James) to investigate. The base commander Capt. ‘Wild Bill’ Woodward (Jeff Celentano) is none too happy to have these rangers on his plush tropical marine base, but he needs to get to the bottom of what is going down.

Now the magic begins. It starts when Joe and Curtis are on a beach and find themselves attacked by a horde of ninja. Worst. Ninja. Ever. Even worse than the ninja in the first movie… but there’s a reason for this. More on that in a minute, but

Curtis and Joe decimates these worthless ninja and since there’s a beach that means there’s water and that means that Curtis and his muscles will glisten like crazy. One ninja however sits atop a mountain, observing his charges getting slaughtered and observes that the American fights like a tiger. The white American, not the black guy. They both seemed pretty good at killing ninja, so I don’t how he could tell that one was a ninja and one was just an ass kicker. Regardless, this guy known as Tojo Ken (Mike Stone) and his drug dealing boss The Lion (Gerry Conway) have decided this guy must die. Not the black guy though. Either way, it’s a horrible decision.

But what’s going on? Why are these marines being kidnapped? Well, that’s really complicated and involves a hot chick (Michelle Botes), her dead mother and her father’s cancer research, but these missing marines are being turned into Biologically Enhanced Ninja Monsters. Yep. Gotta say… I didn’t see that coming. The Lion, whose first name is Leo… Leo the Lion… needs the super ninja to protect his drug running. Joe can’t have this. Joe will descend upon The Lion’s lair and face off against these enhanced Ninja, who suck, and eventually face off against Tojo Ken in an epic ninja battle which features one of them pulling out a shotgun from heaven only knows where. That’s not very ninja like. Oh look, Steve James has lost his shirt and is glistening. Roll credits.

When Tojo Ken pulled out his shotgun during the lopsided ninja fight, a shotgun that matched his costume, I lost it. It was one of those laughing fits where you can’t breathe and think you might actually die. ‘American Ninja II’ almost killed me. I can’t begin to describe the insanity of this film, such as the cutaway shot of Joe and Curtis getting chewed out by Wild Bill and then showing them leave the room, but observing that Joe is being played by another actor. What could’ve Michael Dudikoff have been doing that he couldn’t be in that completely mundane scene? Or when Joe threw the guy who was supposed to land against barrel, but he fell a few feet short, but just rolled into the barrel and then did his post barrel convulsion as if on cue. Another great scene was when the hot chick’s stunt double had to jump out of the moving car, but I don’t think they factored in that small hill that the stunt double violently jammed his shoulder and neck into. It was ugly.

Another staple of this series seems to be when the ninja master murders his ninja pupils. The Lion has this fancy ninja dance routine all setup where the ninjas show their awesome moves so he can sell these clowns on his awesome ninja bioengineering tech, then he sends Tojo Ken down to the dance floor to completely murder these poor biologically enhanced ninja. Before Tojo did this, I was ready order a couple dozen for my fledgling criminal enterprise, but now?

Michael Dudikoff did have more lines in this one than the first one, though it still looked as if Steve James had to do the heavy lifting when it came the ‘acting’, the action was fast and furious and almost non-stop… if not completely suspect. Hello? Sam Firstenberg? And at no point… and we mean never… does the movie ever try to make sense.

I tell you, if Steve James were still with us I’d dig up Michael Dudikoff from wherever he is hiding out, locate Sam Firstenberg who is also on the run and make ‘American Ninja 2011’. But it just can’t be done without Steve James. Thank you Menahem and Yorum for making my day with another timeless classic.

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