Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

My 1980’s ninja retrospective soldiers on, this time catching up with my main men Menahem and Yorum following up their unintended comedy fest ‘Enter the Ninja’ with a movie that is a little bit more traditional, at least in comparison with that movie, ‘Revenge of the Ninja’.

As our movie begins a Japanese family is minding their own damn business admiring the cherry blossoms when out of nowhere a squad of ninja appear and straight kill everybody. Why did they do this? Well, no reason in particular other than ninja are pretty much assholes and if they hear you might know a ninja or something they automatically feel compelled to slaughter your family. Cho (Sho Kosugi) and his American friend Braden (Arthur Roberts) shows up just as Cho’s wife is moving on to the next world, but these evil ninja are still hanging out waiting around to kill up Cho. Mistake Number One. After pulling a shuriken out of skull of his dead child, Cho quickly dispatches these clowns rudely and violently and the ones he doesn’t kill his buddy Braden finishes off. Honestly I was wondering what kind of weak ass Ninja were these considering that Braden the American beat up a couple of these alleged tough ninja, disarmed and then killed them with their own stuff, but I was seriously underestimating my man Braden’s skill level.

Before Cho’s wife sucked up an arrow through the chest, she safely hid Cho’s infant son and with the child retrieved Braden convinces Cho to take his offer to move to America and open an art gallery with him. Cho’s Moms (Grace Oshita), who’s a ninja too, warned Cho that she didn’t trust that Gaijin but considering hanging out in Japan has gotten Cho’s family all murderized and stuff, it’s off to America.

The next scene shows us a billowing American flag with the words ‘Six Years Later’ under it followed by the words ‘The United States of America’ just in case the billowing American flag wasn’t clue enough. Cho and his young son Kane (Kane Kosugi) are getting along just fine with their gallery with the help of Braden and the blond bimbo Cathy (Ashley Ferrare). Cathy is also one of Cho’s kung fu students, though it looks like she might be angling for a little bit more. As a matter of fact when she shows up for her next kung fu lesson Cho alertly observes that she forgot to put on her pants. I noticed that too. Seriously, I’m like ‘why doesn’t this bitch have any pants on?’ What Cathy doesn’t know is that Asian males in Western martial arts flicks are forbidden to have sex. She really should’ve asked somebody.

As it turns Cho really should’ve listened to his mom because Braden is using Cho’s Asian art to import heroin into the United States. Worst still Braden himself is a super badass silver mask wearing ninja as well and now he’s straight killing folks. Though he thought he left the ninja life behind in Japan, Cho is forced to pick it up the life one more time again… I was going to say he picked it back up to save the life of his son who has been captured by Braden is about to be killed but Cho really doesn’t seem care all that much about that, trusting the six year old can take care of his own damn self, as he instead proceeds to a mano a mano battle as good ninja takes on evil ninja in a fight to the death.

I gotta be honest with you and tell that ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Maybe because I’m comparing the to movie that came before it, or maybe I’m comparing it to the truly putrid Swedish ninja flick ‘The Ninja Mission’ that I saw a few days earlier, but all in all ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ just didn’t seem all that bad. It helps that this time around, instead of being forced to watch Franco Nero try not to hurt himself using a pair nunchucks, we got to view Sho Kosugi, an authentic martial artist as the headline star. This was probably to make up for the tragedy of allowing him to get his ass kicked by the completely unworthy Nero at the end of ‘Enter the Ninja’. Then there was Kosugi’s whirling dervish of a child Kane who has grown up to be quite the accomplished martial artist himself nowadays, but he was really something to see as a little kid in this movie.

Admittedly, while Kosugi is a hell of martial artist he really wasn’t much of an actor at the time. If you see Mr. Kosugi in the new Ninja Assassin movie, we will say that brother man has come a long way in twenty five years, but back in the day, while I’m sure it’s the ninja way to react unemotionally to the slaughter of one’s family, I didn’t know it was the ninja way to act unemotionally to everything. And sure there was a lot of silliness in the movie and the movie was way over the top most of the time, but director Sam Firstenberg of Electric Boogaloo fame sure does know how to make a fun, fast moving stupid ninja movie. See ‘American Ninja’ for the ultimate proof of this.

So while ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ lacks the sheer out and out comedy of ‘American Ninja’ it is way better and way more entertaining and possesses far superior fight scenes that the movie that preceded it in ‘Enter the Ninja’. However, if you are a fan of ridiculous 1980 ninja flicks you’d be a fool to let any of these rare gems of American cinema pass you by.

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