Worst. Movie. Ever. Or maybe the best movie ever? All I
know is if I had seen the legendary Manahem Golem’s
classic ‘Enter the Ninja’ when it was released in 1981 I
would’ve been clawing at my eyeballs, but watching it
almost thirty years later I only clawed at one of my
eyeballs because the other one couldn’t take it’s eye
off of this thing.
Our film starts with a ninja of suspect ability dressed in white slaughtering other ninja who seemed to be hunting him down. I always thought Ninja’s dressed in black for a reason, being as how wearing a glowing white uniform kind of ruins that whole ‘stealth’ thing, but I’m not a ninja so what the hell do I know. As it turns out these ninja getting cut up and beat up was just a final testing exercise for Mr. Cole, as played by the legendary Franco Nero. We will say that as Mr. Nero pulled off his glowing white ninja mask he looked more like a migrant Eastern European coal miner than a ninja, but I’m no casting director so what the hell do I know. But there’s always that one guy pissing on everybody’s parade hating on the concept of the white-guy ninja and that would be Hasagawa (Sho Kosugi). I’m thinking they’re gonna meet up a little later and that Hasagawa is gonna die. That’s just a guess though.
Now a full fledged ninja, Cole takes the redeye to the Philippines to meet up with his old friend Frank as played by Alex Courtney. How awesome is Alex Courtney as an actor? Well if you had watched the 8 episodes of ‘The Sword of Justice’ back in 1978, before it got unceremoniously cancelled, you wouldn’t be asking me such stupid questions. And I don’t want to here that tired line ‘Oh, I wasn’t alive in 1978’. Like that’s any kind of excuse. Anyway, instead being greeted by his buddy Frank, Cole is greeted by his gun toting wife Mary Ann (Susan George) who Cole promptly disarms and kicks her hard in the ass. Frank then appears as both men look over the woman lying on the ground with the footprint on her behind laughing their asses off. Probably shouldn’t be kicking your best friends wife in the ass, but I’m not an asshole so what the hell do I know.
Unfortunately Frank is having problems. A local mean rich dude named Venarius (Christopher George) wants his oil rich land, and as bad as that is Frank also has erectile dysfunction issues. Remember this was way before the days of Viagra so a limp dicked mofo was just a limp dicked mofo. Why Frank told this to his main man? I don’t know... but perhaps this justifies why Cole boned his wife a few scenes later. Personally, as an honorable ninja, I wouldn’t bone my best friends wife, in his house, after he’s fed me, housed me, relived those memories of freedom fighting in Belgium or wherever and then poured his heart out to me that he’s a limp dicked bastard. But then, unlike Cole, I’m not dick so what the hell would I know.
Regardless, Cole stops all this land grab nonsense by displaying his massive ninja skills which has Venarius going to Japan to get his own damn ninja. I wonder who he’s gonna get? Apparently shopping for ninja’s isn’t as difficult as you would think. The Ninja master will ask you some questions just to make sure you’re intentions for the ninja that you are renting are honorable and after you’ve sufficiently lied to him about him about your intentions, you got yourself a shiny new sword wielding, shuriken tossing, black clad ninja. You don’t even need a five day waiting period. Outstanding.
As you might imagine the black ninja kills everybody, except the unfaithful whore of a wife, resulting in the white ninja having to kill everything and everybody to get the whore back, with a glorious final showdown between a guy who actually knows martial arts and a guy who looks like a migrant Eastern European coal miner. Outstanding.
Make no mistake about it my friends, ‘Enter the Ninja’ resides firmly on all levels of awful. But we’re not going to talk about why this movie is horrible but instead focus on why it is worth watching. For instance, watch Franco Nero’s nunchuck demonstration. Franco’s main goal during this demo was obviously not hurting himself. Manahem didn’t help sell the illusion of Cole’s non-existent skill by showing Kosugi, obviously a master of the nunchuks, do his thing. Or watch the White Ninja search for his scabbard strapped behind his back. ‘I know it’s back there somewhere’... he would think to himself. Observe while the White Ninja waits for the elevator to get to the 40th floor of some building so he can do some killing. I know he has to get up there some kind of way, but an elevator? He’s a ninja for the love of God! And then Menahem forced us to watch him while he rode up this elevator. Most importantly though, watch Christopher George die. First off, the fact that Christopher George didn’t get an Oscar nomination for his stellar performance as Charles Venarius further proves how invalid this whole Academy nonsense is, but his Death by Shuriken scene is easily one of the ten best death sequences of all time. Easily.
This is the one that started it my friends, the 1980’s white guy ninja craze fueled by the Golem and Globus and killed by Gymkata. As classic as ‘Enter The Ninja’ was it was only precursor to the greatest white guy ninja movie of all time ‘American Ninja’, and while this falls far short of that all-time classic, ‘Enter the Ninja’ is the picture perfect primer on the birth of a genre.