The deadliest art of the Orient is now in the hands of an American. Certain, Michael Dudikoff had been in a handful of motion pictures ahead of this one particular (hey, how can you not keep in mind him from his brilliant turn in Bloody Birthday?) but it was American Ninja that made him the household name of eighties action heroes. Actually, it was American Ninja that produced us all adore and respect him.
For the uninitiated, American Ninja is the story of Joe (a part initially developed for Chuck Norris). He’s a brooding and somber G.I. stationed somewhere in the South Pacific, where he quickly heads off as component of a convoy tasked with escorting Colonel Hickock (Guich Kook) and his daughter, Patricia (Judie Aronson). Once they move off the base, some ninjas and guerilla fighters attack them in hopes of stealing the weapons that are stashed on the convoy. The Colonel has his guys put up no fight and as he doesn’t want any difficulty. That alterations when one particular of the guerillas takes benefit of his generosity and decides he ought to put the moves on Patricia. Joe is certainly not cool with this action, so he grabs himself a tire iron and a screwdriver and begins kicking ass, ninja style.
It turns out that the ninjas are part of a larger terrorist group run by a French arms dealer named Ortega (Don Stewart). He has lately been pillaging the convoys that have been running by way of the area for stock in his illegal weapons trade operation. Ortega is an interesting man, with his phony French accent and on-web site ninja education location, always full of ninjas whooping it up in various colored ninja suits at any provided moment. In addition to Ortega, there is a mysterious and sinister Black Star Ninja (Tadashi Yamashita) running around who seems to have it in for Joe. It seems that Joe, who can not don’t forget his previous, could pose as some sort of threat to the Black Star Ninja, and it really is possibly best for ol’ Black Star to just make positive Joe is not around to interfere in any of his evil plans.
Joe’s not alone in his fight against evil ninjas although. Lucky for him, Curtis Jackson (played with wonderful enthusiasm by Steve James) is on the scene and a lot more than pleased to assist Joe in his battle. They grow to be quick buddies after Joe beats the crap out of him with a bucket on his head. Maybe Joe had to teach Curtis that he was the true deal or something. This is Curtis’ own fault even though. He had the gall to commence the correct in the initial location when he called Joe ‘bad ass Karate boy’ in a really mocking tone. Anyway, they are pals, and it is up to them to save the globe. So we’ve got a rather rotund Black Star Ninja running around and we’ve got Ortega and his cache of illegal weapons and an army of ninjas. Appears like the free of charge world is in quite rough shape, appropriate? Appropriate. So Joe puts on his ninja suit and Curtis dresses up like Rambo and they head off to kill what has to be about 4 hundred ninjas and save the day.
Sure, American Ninja could appear a small convoluted in the plot division, and in many ways, it is, but it is unintentional hilarity and non-cease ninja action make it a single of the ultimate Cannon Films eighties actioners. Dudikoff cannot act his way out of a paper bag but that doesn’t stop the man from trying his damnedest. If he’s flat, at least he’s regularly flat and the guy has some quite strong moves. He’s calm, he’s cool and he’s collected and the former male model does look excellent strutting about here. Dudikoff’s lack of range is far more than compensated for by Steve James, who overacts sufficient to far more than make up for. Together, these guys are really likeable. The supporting cast? Meh, they are fine. Judie Aronson is fairly enough to be crush-worthy and the mighty Guich Koock is fun as the Colonel. Don Stewart in no way succeeds in convincing us of his character’s heritage but he’s entertaining to watch as the negative guy. And Tadashi Yamashita as the Black Star Ninja? He’s just plain awesome.
Director Sam Firstenberg wisely keeps the action moving at a brisk sufficient pace that we by no means bother to stop and feel also significantly about what is actually going on. As such, the logic gaps, questionable acting and such hardly matter. The action scenes are fairly solid, highlighted by some pretty top notch fight choreography and, yes, lots of guys decked out in ninja suits trolling about causing difficulty. The film may not be particularly deep but it is a lot of exciting. It was productive enough to spawn four sequels.
American Ninja arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films in an AVC encoded 1080p higher definition transfer from in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85.1. Colors are reproduced really properly right here and they look regularly all-natural, as do skin tones. Some shots are a tiny softer than other individuals but that would appear to be how the film was shot and the vast majority of the film is pretty tight searching. Detail is solid and a good step up from past DVD editions, even though the image is remarkably clean from begin to finish. You will notice film grain, as you must, but no significant print damage, what ever elements have been utilised had been certainly in good shape. Black levels are quite strong right here and there are no problems at all with any edge enhancement or noise reduction. No complaints here!.
The only audio selection for the feature is an English language Stereo track presented in DTS-HD lossless format. There are no alternate language choices, although English subtitles are provided. There are no issues here, this track is just fine. Balance is great, depth and variety are solid and the dialogue and score each sound quite nice. No troubles with any hiss or distortion to note and there is some sturdy channel separation present in the action scenes.
Extras on this disc start off with a commentary track from director Sam Firstenberg moderated by Elijah Drenner. This is a fairly engaging track as Firstenberg talks about how he would come to direct this image, his thoughts on working with James and Dudikoff as nicely as some of the other cast members, what it was like shooting the film in the Philippines and of course, the action scenes in the film. Firstenberg has a very good memory here, sharing some stories about functioning for Cannon Films, casting the film, his thoughts on the original storyline and very a bit a lot more.
The disc also includes a featurette entitled Rumble In The Jungle: The Producing Of American Ninja. This twenty-3 minute piece is made up mainly of interviews with Firstenberg, Dudikoff, Judie Aronson, stunt coordinator Steve Lambert and Paul De Mielche. This is a fairly fascinating piece that covers the making of the film beginning with how Firstenberg came to director for Cannon Films, his connection with producers Golan and Globus, the places, the fight sequences and far more. There’s also some talk right here about what the late, fantastic Steve James brought to the table, the success of the film and its ongoing popularity.
Outdoors of that we get a trailer for the function, menus and chapter selection.
American Ninja isn’t deep, but it positive is entertaining. The action is plentiful and nicely stage and Dudikoff and James are a lot of fun to watch in the lead roles. Olive Films has carried out proper by the film, presenting it in extremely good shape with excellent quality lossless audio and some fantastic extra functions. Very suggested!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife exactly where he writes for DVD Speak, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is pricey and loud.
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