Revenge of the Ninja (Sam Firstenberg, 1983)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
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When a Japanese ninja master’s family is slain by rogue ninjas with red headbands, he decides to take his son and relocate to America where nothing bad ever happens to anybody. When he is betrayed by his best friend involving a drug deal with the mafia, he breaks his vow of pacifism in order to exact… the REVENGE OF THE NINJA! 
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After the aforementioned slaughter of his family (Including a kid getting a shuriken to the forehead… dead kids are ALWAYS a win!) Cho Osaki relocates with his infant son and aging mother to America, at the behest of his sleazy white friend. Six years later Cho is taken advantage of for being the most naïve guy on the planet and soon finds himself in the middle of a drug feud between the mob and a mysterious silver masked ninja. Shit gets real, his retarded kid is kidnapped by the slut Cho’s banging, Cho’s mother is killed by the evil master of the mask and he needs to finally kick ass and take names. If cinema has taught me anything, it’s don’t piss off the mob (especially if it’s being led by an ineffectual little imp of a man with a bad temper). Cho manages to mistakenly interfere with the mafia’s plans, and ends up a target of wiseguy goons and their Native American enforcer (who comes complete with tomahawks) – and needs to work his way through local tough guys (including a group at a playground that look like The Village People on steroids) with the aid of his karate cop friend (I swear… EVERYONE is a fucking ninja in this) – in order to get his irritating kid back.

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This is 80s awesomeness at its finest. Who doesn’t love ninja movies? Communists and fools, that’s who! Packed full of campy ninja action, every possible variety of ninja weapon utilized to murderous intent, a sweet 80s keyboard soundtrack and back to back fight scenes; Sam Firstenberg’s (Ninja III: The Domination, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo) delightful little slab of 80s Ninjasploitation was terribly influential on my childhood ninja career. The second entry in a very loose-knit trilogy of unrelated films (the others being Enter the Ninja and the almost-too-awesome-for-words Ninja III: The Domination), Revenge of the Ninja is a thinly-veiled attempt to showcase lead Ninja Shô Kosugi’s (Enter the Ninja, Pray For Death) then school-age son Kane’s “talents” (those apparently being spinning things and perpetually sporting a dopy look on his face). The story is weak, it’s rife with plot holes and inconsistencies, but realistically this is all just an excuse to have ninjas killing people and somersaulting off of every conceivable object, so it works.

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Obviously there’s plenty of action here; the fight scenes are heinously choreographed (despite the actors clearly being quite skilled in various fighting arts) but entertaining in their own right, with plenty of variety and at times gruesome finales (the scene with the caltrops to the face I have loved since I was a boy). The ninja scenes are plentiful and utilize any and all manner of weapons and magic (even robot decoys… WTF) that they will leave even the most jaded of viewers satisfied. Also, I learned that before deploying a shuriken at someone, ALWAYS show the shuriken first. This will imbue the projectile with the power to seek out its target with deadly accuracy. These ninja secrets I pass on to you, dear reader.

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Revenge of the Ninja does sport a small amount of gratuitous nudity, including a bizarre attempted rape/murder scene that ends with the evil ninja hypnotizing the poor girl with his glowing green jewel eyes (I’m not sure if that’s a power the mask holds or if it’s all super evil ninja magic…) and a strange scene involving the same girl (the “love interest” so to speak – but she’s passed around like a skinny white boy in prison) practicing her ninja/karate/slapping moves with Cho but refusing to wear pants. Nothing is seen as it’s obvious she’s wearing nylons. I think the scene is supposed to be sexy but it’s just awkward and kind of sad. Also, if you’re into topless Asian dudes in sweatpants we’ve got your hook-up too. Nothing says tough like tatts and sweatpants.

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The whole thing culminates into a cage match/rooftop battle between good ninja and evil ninja that’s as bizarre as it is entertaining. Every conceivable weapon and scenario pops up here (and a couple “WTF” and “yeah, right!” moments) as the two rivals battle it out for ninja supremacy. It appears to me that if one is going to choose ninja as their full time vocation then evil is definitely the path to tread; they clearly have a wider (read: cooler) range of gadgetry, not to mention lingerie sluts. Plus, you get to be a dick.

Revenge of the Ninja is a great time waster that will appeal to fans of low budget action flicks, martial arts and even horror. Check it out, you won’t regret it. And remember: only a ninja can stop a ninja!

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:

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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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