Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The first two 'American Ninja' movies were classic craptastic epics of historic proportions and as such they have a very special place in my heart.  But, as I've mentioned before, as awesome as those movies were, you have to space them apart when watching them because attempting to watch that level awesomeness back to back is not recommended.  So another year has passed and I figured it is nigh time to load up the third in the series, 'American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt'.  But where American Ninja's I & II where craptastic… this one was simply crap.  I mean it was awful.  I mean it was completely terrible virtually from beginning end.  But here's the best part:  It's almost like the people behind this movie saw it, determined it was terrible and then asked themselves… 'Whoa… that was awful, but what could we possibly do to make it worse?'   And to complete this mission of theirs, which I wouldn't have thought possible, we are treated to arguably the worst closing credits song ever created in 'When the Cobra Strikes'  That, my friends, was the dookey cherry on top. 

Back in '79, which still looks a lot like '89, a group of evil people led by The Cobra (Marjoe Gortner) need a bunch of money to build a tropical biogenetics lab.  I know, let's rob a local karate tournament because local karate tournaments are flush with cash.  Who knew?  So these dudes bust in, shoot some people, grab the cash but little Sean Davidson got caught in the crossfire and would've been murdered by the super evil General Andreas (Yehuda Efroni) had Sean's dad not intervened and took that murder for him.  Now Sean is sad, but he will be raised by his dad's trainer Izumo (Calvin Chung) and learn the ways of the ninja. 

Now in the present, Sean (David Bradley), is a kung fu master on a tropical island for a kung fu tournament where he makes the acquaintance of the legendary Curtis Jackson (the late Steve James) and some other goofy dude that reminded us here at the FCU of Richie Cunningham's best friend Ralph Malph.  But the tournament is just a ruse set up by
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The Cobra and his ninja assistant Chan Lee (Michelle B. Chan) to do something or another, hell if we know what exactly.  The movie is terrible, no doubt, but the one thing that might've made it slightly less terrible is if the plot was semi-coherent.  Apparently The Cobra wants the strongest guy available, from what I was able to glean, so they can inject him with a poison virus to prove it worked and then spread it across the world as a form of terrorism.  I think.  It seemed like a lot of expense to go through just to do this stupid thing, especially when any dude walking down the street would've sufficed, but whatever.   

So most of the movie is The Cobra and Chan Lee trying to capture Sean so they can inject him with the virus, via sending hordes of worthless ninja after Sean, Curtis and Ralph Malph.  Curtis had to do most of the ass kicking, again while steadily losing his shirt but lacking the heaping amounts of glisten from the first two movies that we are accustomed to.  The last part of the movie is rescuing Sean, who has fallen into the clutches of The Cobra and has been injected, but this time with the help of Chan Lee who has learned that The Cobra's research isn't to save lives like she initially was told.  Chan Lee is a plum idiot.  The man's name is 'The Cobra' which means he's bad.  I'm no kunoichi, but even I figured that out.  Lame action will ensue, only to get worse when the final credits roll. 

You know… the closing credits of a crap movie are usually an island of peace and serenity but 'American Ninja 3' couldn't even give us that.  AN3 is so bloody gawdawful there's really no where to start but we'll just go ahead and mention how lame it is compared to the movies that came before it.  Michael Dudikoff was no master thespian, though the word is he turned down the opportunity to do this movie to attempt to be a thespian… probably not the best move in retrospect… but David Bradley has Mikey D. looking like Marlon Brando by comparison.  He's pretty fit, that's for sure, he just lacks the confused wonder that Michael Dudikoff brought to the role as Joe.  The bad part about David Bradley's existence, at least for me, is that I see he made a bunch of awful movies back in the 90's and now I have to track them all down and watch them.  Damn You David Bradley!

Then we have the change in director's, and while we might've been semi-critical of director Sam Firstenberg as a martial arts director in the past, we now must formally apologize to the man.  Better the devil you know.  AN3 director Cedric Sundstrom, at least this time out, has Firstenberg looking like the second coming of Yuen Woo-ping.  It's not just that the action is lame, but the pacing is off with this action movie feeling like its moving with cement shoes on.  And lest we forget Marjoe as 'The Cobra'.  We love Marjoe Gortner here at the FCU and 'Starcrash' pretty much secures him a spot in our virtual Hall of Fame forever, but here he was just a guy in a silver suit wearing golf shoes that had a bunch of naked men in his lab pretending to be medical dummies.  That was weird.  Regardless, he was like the worst villain ever.  Chan Lee, worst ninja ever, got us a little excited when she told Sean 'They don't call him The Cobra for nothing', which had us thinking that maybe Marjoe took a few lessons for the battle to come.  But the truth of the matter is that they do call him The Cobra for nothing.  No reason at all.  The Cobra does not strike in this movie, no matter what that putrid song has to say. 

Oh well, what can you do?  Next year I will gather up the courage to 'American Ninja 4: Annihilation' though Bradley and Sundstrom are still in charge with Steve James nowhere around.  Enthusiasm… non-existent.  But Michael Dudikoff does return.  Enthusiasm… slightly elevated.
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