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Enter the Ninja

USA 1981
produced by
Judd Bernard, Yoram Globus for First City Films, Cannon
directed by Menahem Golan
starring Franco Nero, Sho Kosugi, Susan George, Christopher George, Alex Courtney, Will Hare, Zachi Noy, Constantine Gregory, Dale Ishimoto, Joonee Gamboa, Leo Martinez, Ken Metcalfe, Subas Herrero, Alan Amiel, Douglas Ivan, Bob Jones, Jack Turner, Derek Webster, Konrad Waalkes, Jim Gaines, Don Gordon Bell, Isolde Winter, Lucy Bush
story by Mike Stone, screenplay by Dick Desmond, stunt choreography by Mike Stone, music by W.Michael Lewis, Laurin Rinder

Cannon's Ninja-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In Africa, Cole (Franco Nero) and Frank (Alex Courtney) were warbuddies, and Frank even saved Cole's life once. But when the war was over, Frank got married to Mary Ann (Susan George), bought a farm in the Philippines and settled down, while Cole went to Japan to study Ninjitsu.

Now though, landgrabber Venarius (Christopher George) wants to take Frank's farm away from him, and he's not one to shy away from a bit of violence to get what he wants - heck, he's not even shying away from much violence - and thus Frank has a) turned into an alcoholic, and b) called his old warbuddy to Manila to help out.

Soon enough, Cole has taken care of Venarius' henchmen (including Zachi Noy, who hams it up as a sleazy gangster with a hook) and has turned his private army into a bunch of incompetent, whimpering idiots (and has on the side also bedded Frank's wife Mary Ann), which in turn causes Cole's right hand man Parker (Constantine Gregory) to travel to Japan, to fetch an evil Ninja to fight Cole, the good Ninja - and as fate may have it, the evil Ninja turns out to be Hasegawa (Sho Kosugi), Cole's old enemy from Ninja-school.

Soon enough, Hasegawa has killed Frank and taken Mary Ann prisoner, just to lure Cole to the site of the final showdown, a boxing arena, where Cole kills all of Venarius' men and finally Venarius himself before Hasegawa shows himself and lets Mary Ann go in exchange for a final fight - which, wouldn't you know it, Cole ultimately wins, and at the end of which he decapitates Hasegawa upon Hasegawa's request (he wants to die with honour) ... and once again the day is saved, but at the end, Cole and Mary Ann still bid farewell to each other because ... I have no idea, I thought they were lovers.

 

Rather weak and very routine American-produced martial arts flick lensed in the Philippines, with for the most part of the film rather weak fighting going on. It is only in the finale that good martial arts - between martial artists Sho Kosugi and Mike Stone, Franco Nero's double - can actually be seen, but then they are way too short and over way too soon. And even the usually dependable Franco Nero can't save teh film this time around, and he seems to actually turn in one of his laziest performances.

Interestingly enough, the plot of this film does not too much resemble an Asian martial arts flick and has more to do with the B-Westerns of old, some of John Wayne's Monogram flicks readily come to mind. Only the stunts in Enter the Ninja are mostly inferior to what Yakima Canutt used to do ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD