Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I knew I had to watch ‘Ninja III: The Domination’ eventually but I was holding off as long as humanly possible. I had polished off the first two parts of the Canon Group Ninja Trilogy with ‘Enter the Ninja’ and ‘Revenge of the Ninja’, with none of these movies having jack to do with each other, but the deal is I had actually seen ‘Ninja III’ back in the day, and though I don’t remember a damn thing about it, I do recall that an 18-year old Kung Fu movie snob hated it. But it had to be done and what a difference 27 years makes. No sir, ‘Ninja III’ hasn’t gotten any better in the time that has passed, but where watching a Flash Dancer transform into a possessed Ninja in 1984 was cringe worthy, today that same scenario is sublime ridiculousness bordering on the ingenious.

This little article is far less a ‘review’ and more of a description of the glorious events that transpire in this poorly produced epic film.

We open with a scientist and his little hottie playing golf when Black Ninja (the late David Chung) assassinates him and his girl. Why did Black Ninja do this thing? That is sooooo not important in this movie so we will move on. So Black Ninja kills this guy, and you would think being a ninja and all that he would’ve had plenty of time to get away but this realities version of the LAPD has to the concept of ‘quick response’ down to an art form. It’s just that when they get there they suck. Observe as one Black Ninja kills hordes and hordes and hordes of lousy cops, despite the fact the cops have motorcycles, helicopters, Grand Marquis, shotguns, machine guns and hand guns. Black Ninja has blow darts and throwing stars. Finally they kill this guy, right? Let’s go check on him and makes sure he’s dead but please cops, don’t fall for that old ‘I’m shot to death and I’m pretending to be dead routine’… don’t fall for it! They fell for it. Another hundred or so cops get killed. Finally they kill this guy. Please cops, don’t fall for that old ‘I’m shot to death and I’m pretending to be dead routine’ again… don’t fall for it! They fell for it. Again.  A hundred more cops die.

That’s like the longest opening action sequence to any movie ever. Jumping ahead a bit, Black Ninja gets past these horrible cops but he is mortally wounded and stumbles upon a pretty phone pole worker named Christie (Lucinda Dickey) who he first tries to choke to death, but failing that he decides to go ahead and possess her soul with his big black sword. Read into that what you will.

The resulting dead ninja will introduce Christie to one of the more annoying characters in movie history in police officer Billy Secord (Jordan Bennett) who will mercilessly stalk this woman into falling in love with him, a technique that I’ve personally found ineffective. Plus he’s not a very good cop. For instance, after an afternoon Flash Dancing, Christie sees some muscle bound ruffians harassing some poor woman outside the studio. Christie intervenes which causes these ruffians to turn their rape intentions towards her. It’s broad daylight, there’s people everywhere including officer Secord but nobody tries to stop this. Christie calls on her newly acquired ninja skills and kicks their collective asses which then prompts Secord to arrest Christie, the charge we assume is trying to stop these clowns from raping her which is apparently against the law in this realities version of Los Angeles. Actually this was yet another one of Secord’s methods to get closer to Christie and when Christie goes off on him, Secord gets all pissy. NOW Christie is ready to give up the panties. This dude doing nothing while five guys try to rape her didn’t bother her, but this cat going off because she protests being mercilessly stalked touched her somewhere special causing the girl to pour V8 energy drink all over her body. It’s complicated. Christie needs to reevaluate her priorities.

Note we haven’t mention this movies headliner, Sho Kosugi, because he’s not in this movie all that much. His character of Yamada has a really bad history with the Black Ninja, but more time was spent watching Christie pour V8 down her shirt than this back story so we will not worry about this all that much either. Regardless Yamada somehow knows that Christie is possessed and has to stop her from killing the four or five cops that Black Ninja didn’t kill during the super long opening sequence. We aren’t quite sure why Black Ninja is so dead set on killing these cops since they didn’t do anything except try to stop a guy who just brutally murdered six thousand of their colleagues but Black Ninja is, if nothing else, an asshole. More nonsense will follow until we get the big showdown between Yamada and Black Ninja. Hopefully Yamada has the good sense not to fall for that old ‘I’m pretending to be dead but I’m really not’ routine.

No doubt, ‘Ninja III: The Domination’ is a damned awful kung fu movie, but it does have some high level entertainment value. Director Sam Firstenberg, who Manahem and Yoram entrusted with the majority of their kung fu comedies for whatever reason, focused on what was important in this movie, that primarily being Lucinda Dickey’s ass. Lots and lots of loving shots of Ms. Dickey’s finely formed behind in a various Flash Dance outfits, and these shots were plentiful considering the only defense poor Christie had against Black Ninja’s possession was Flash Dancing. Though Black Ninja was a certified asshole, when he mystically wielded his sword and sliced Christie’s boom box in half bringing an end to arguably the worst 80’s synth pop song you would ever want to hear, I had to give my man a virtual five on the back on the back hand side for his mercy. And while Lucinda Dickey might not have been the second coming of Cynthia Rothrock, oddly enough she did make for a better ninja than Franco Nero did in ‘Enter the Ninja’.

Was ‘Ninja III: The Domination’ terrible movie? Perhaps. But where else are you going to find possessed Flash Dancers doing kung fu? Only in the 1980’s my friends. Somebody give me a director’s cut.

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