Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jason versus Enter the Ninja

Enter the Ninja was the first R-rated movie my parents let me watch. It also started my lifelong fascination with ninjas and made Sho Kosugi one of the biggest martial arts stars of the 80s. That's a lot of baggage for one movie to carry. How does it hold up 33 years on? Stick with me!

After completing his training in the ways of the ninja, an army vet travels to the Phillippines and finds himself battling a land grabber who wants his war buddy's property.

That's right, this is a plot we've seen and heard a thousand times, only with ninjas, which makes it kinda silly when you stop and think about it too much. But this is an early Cannon film, and most Cannon films were kind silly when you stopped to think about them.

Silly and awesome!

Enter the Ninja is my kind of exploitation movie; it was made on the cheap, features B-grade actors, and a can't-lose concept. This is the kind of movie that's made to entertain and make money, and it knows it. It entertained me when I was nine, and it entertained me today. Given all the other ninja movies that followed, it made money too.

Sure, Susan George should never have been a leading lady and Franco Nero isn't much of a ninja, but none of that matters. And it's easy to see how Kosugi became a star. Aside from one scene where he cackles evilly, the man kicks serious ass.

I'm glad I caught up with Enter the Ninja. I'll revisit it and the other 80s ninja movies again soon! A Good.
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