Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review: Revenge of the Ninja (1983)

Well, posting the trailer for "Ninja Destroyer" really got me craving some hardcore ninja action. So... what did I need to satisfy that craving? Nope, not even a Snickers® could handle that. I had to go for the throat, pull out the big guns, reach for the pinnacle of ninja films.... REVENGE OF THE NINJA! This was the movie that we watched many times over many summers, and made us want to become ninjas ourselves. In fact, it was our training film! So how did it stand up to the test of time? Let's find out...

The story begins in Tokyo, with a happy Japanese family strolling through their garden, feeding the koi fish, and admiring a new baby boy. Out of the shadows appears a gang of ninjas and they just start tearin' shit up. A man takes 5 blades to the back, a woman gets her throat slit, and a young boy takes a BRUTAL shuriken to the face. SWEET! The young mother escapes long enough to hide her newborn baby in the bushes, and promptly runs back and gets skewered by an arrow. The ninjas hear someone coming and disappear back into the shadows. Along comes Cho (Shô Kosugi) and his American friend Braden. Braden is trying to talk Cho into coming to America to run some art galleries specializing in Japanese Dolls. They happen upon the scene of NINJA DESTRUCTION, and back out come the ninjas. Cho and Braden make short work of them. We find out that Cho's wife and son were among those sliced up by the ninjas, and the baby hidden in the bushes is Cho's youngest son Kane. Now that there's nothing left in Tokyo, Cho decides to take his mother and Kane to the States to start a new life....

So... jump ahead six years. Cho is in the States and he's given up fighting. He's sealed his sword forever. He's opening up a Japanese doll gallery for Braden.... Well it turns out, unbeknownst to Cho, the gallery is a front for Braden's heroin smuggling operation. The first shipment of heroin is for Chifano, the local mafia boss, and he ain't paying. Braden's pissed and we also find out... he's a NINJA (who wears a bad-ass silver mask)! He starts knocking off Chifano's thugs one by one. Chifano calls Braden and says he has his money, and they agree to meet at the art gallery in three hours. In an attempt to double cross Braden, Chifano sends out some thugs (including a Native American named "Chief," complete with tomahawks..) to steal the heroin filled dolls from Cho's gallery. Cho happens to walk into the gallery during the robbery and confronts the thugs, and then gets dragged around town hanging off the back of their Dodge van. After the dolls are already gone, Braden sneaks into the gallery in his ninja gear hoping to finish Chifano, and realizes he's been duped. Cho's mother sees Braden, they fight, and he kills her. Kane also sees Braden when he unmasks. Braden chases Kane out onto the rooftop and Kane manages to escape from the evil ninja. Meanwhile Cho returns to the gallery bruised and bloodied and finds his dead mother. Next, trying to get a lead on who robbed the gallery, Cho and his cop friend get into a fight with the Village People at the local playground. (Check out the gay cowboy!) After takin' care of business there, Cho goes back to the gallery and finds out Kane has been kidnapped. Time to unseal the sword! Braden heads off to put an end to Chifano, and Cho heads off to put an end to Braden! Braden infiltrates Chifano's headquarters, and this leads to the climactic battle of Cho vs Braden on top of the building!

So how does it stand up to the test of time? It's even better now! Aside from the awesome ninja ass-kicking and some pretty good gore, this movie is so bad it's good, which is something you don't notice when you're 10 years old and watching it. It's got amazingly bad acting, unintentionally funny dialog, and hilariously horrible characters. I can't recommend this one enough, it's a must see. And I still want to be a ninja!


"If you want to work out, you forgot your pants."
"What the fuck is this, Halloween? Get outta here!"
"You guys celebrate downtown every time one of us gets the clap!"
"Only a NEENJA can stop a NEENJA!"
"Hey look! Superman!"
"Son of a bitch ninja!"


5 out of 5 Venoms

Final battle of "Revenge of the Ninja"

"400 years of training in the art of sudden death... unleashed on 20th century America..."


Anonymous said...

The time line was great except you left out the second best fight scene where Cho tries to stop the thiefs,While this fight was goin on his mother was killed and son runs away.After all this does he head out to fight the village people.

Kung Fu Manchu said...

You're right, thanks. Corrected!

venoms5 said...

This is one of my favorite martial arts films and one of the best 80's action pictures period. That scene where Sho chases the villains on foot while they speed away in a van is reason enough to watch this one. The MGM DVD apparently has additional gore the old VHS tape didn't have. No if only the long rumored uncut DVD release of PRAY FOR DEATH would become a reality...

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