|9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA
|Copyright 1985 Crown International Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 6 June 2001
- Spike Shinobi - The ninja to call if your country is ever under attack by watermelons.
- Steve Gordan - A manly man indeed. His impressive collection of toys causes envy in soldiers of fortune the world over.
- Jennifer Barnes - Since she is the team's female member her job is communications and control. She is also the last chance garage for Steve's wiener wagon.
- Dr. Wolf - One of the drug runners who has a rotten streak of luck. First kids set his underwear on fire when he's raping a hostage, then Spike steals his clothes. In the middle of a Filipino jungle, where everything wants to bite or sting you, is no place for a big man wearing little bikini briefs.
- The Midget Attack Squad - Hehehehe!
- Mohammed Rahji - Enormous bad guy with a strange habit of chuckling constantly. He is nigh invulnerable until finding out the hard way that grenades are not food.
- Honey Hump - Female leader of the mercenaries blessed with a full afro. Trying to shoot her in the brain would be difficult, but I suggest aiming twelve inches below her hair.
- Albert Brant - (Alby to his friends) Drug cartels always need a German mastermind to head the operation. Getting one who has a pet monkey is just icing on the cake. Killed by polo players. Yes, you heard me right, polo players.
|I've long been at a loss to present a solid theory about why some atrocious movies are barrels of fun and others are pure pain. So, with great pleasure, I'm going to present this as my thesis. There are, quite honestly, a ton of scenes in this movie that make no sense, but had me dumbfounded. Over and over I was laughing and saying, "No way that just happened." Finally I gave up and just watched the film with a bemused demeanor, because it hadn't a care in the world for my reality. It's like watching a baseball game and suddenly seeing a football player (fully equipped with pads) run across center and tackle the fielder.
The first few minutes are nothing more than standard action drivel and can lull you into a state of complacency, then the opening credits roll. Watch in amazement as three women perform some insane jazz/modern dance around Sho Kosugi (who is swinging his sword and "fighting" their choreographed attack). Meanwhile, a very energetic singer is belting out "Keep On Dancing." That has to be the name of the song. Why? Every other stanza she sings is that specific phrase. That's why. Rewind and watch the opening credits sequence in disbelief all you want, but it's real.
Just so you understand, the three main good guys (Spike, Steve, and Jennifer) are members of an elite international anti terrorist team. There are no others, just these three. Alby and his drug runners have taken a number of hostages, intent on forcing authorities to release Rahji from prison and cut back on drug interdiction efforts in the Philippines. To say that the criminals are ludicrous is an understatement. They display a devotion to the cause expected of freedom fighters or religious fanatics.
Albert is played to his Fascist hilt; just imagine a young and energetic Dr. Strangelove. He sputters, spits, and is prone to uncontrolled outbursts that render his words nearly indecipherable under all the accent. One advantage he does have is a 4X4 wheelchair, which is pretty much a must have for disabled guerrilla leaders fighting a jungle conflict. Out of control characters really make this a fun experience. Undoubtedly the actors knew how absurd this all was, they just said "screw it" and went to town.
Unsurprisingly, the bad guys are soon aware of the international task force. This could be due to some double agents in the Filipino government. It could also be due to Spike and company running around in jumpsuits befitting of NASA astronauts. Your choice. Perhaps we're reading too much into this though; earlier Jennifer was wearing a negligee at the swimming pool when a swimsuit should have been the obvious choice. Clueing off the wardrobe might be a fatal mistake in retrospect.
Identifying your enemy is only a small part of battle. The most important facet is neutralizing them. You don't always have to destroy their fighting forces; attacking manufacturing and support facilities can be plenty effective (just ask Germany why we kept bombing ball bearing factories during WWII). In this case the drug runners have it easy, because their enemy is three people. Who cares about strategy? Just kill those three! And here is where the crack midget assault squad comes into play. Spike and Steve get jumped while investigating a lead at the museum. The ninja easily defeats the female assassin, but then she sics four midgets on him. HAHAHAHA! Poor Spike actually scratches his head and considers the little guys with a wonderful "What in the Hell?" look on his face before things get ugly. The little people are, quite unfortunately, prone to throwing punches in line with their shoulders. Coincidence places Spike's testicles at that height and those react poorly to physical blows, but he eventually wins the fight.
With time running out and Alby shooting hostages (hey, he's an excitable German - what do you expect) the government releases Rahji. Of course they try following him back to the hideout, though that goes poorly. The ninja is briefly taken prisoner and his helicopter used as a private taxi for the massive terrorist. When Spike turns the tables and brandishes a pistol you might think that it's curtains for Rahji. You are still several shadows away from the world where this movie is taking place. In fact, "9 Deaths of the Ninja" is probably what drove Dworkin insane (not spilling blood on the Pattern). Rahji puts his hand over the barrel and catches the round, then a fight right out of the Three Stooges Handbook ensues.
Beset by a deadly phantom and Steve's gatling gun, the Albert & Hump pharmaceutical company is trapped (sorta) in a cave. They make a last ditch effort to kill the capitalist pigs, but between Spike's sword having a hinged grip that swivels to act like a baton and two little hostages kicking butt with their nunchaku it goes badly. Mysteriously a number of evil ninja show up to be slaughtered, but there still are not nine of them. The title remains a mystery.
By now I should know better, but this has been bugging me the whole movie: where did all the beer come from? The drug runners and Steve seem to produce bottles of beer on command, especially during the jungle conflict. Besides being heavy, the fact that refrigeration was unavailable kept cropping up. That had to be warm beer. So, after sacking the center fielder, would the football player drink that warm beer or steal the little kid's Coke?
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Flak vests provide good protection against throwing stars.
- Jumping from a second story balcony and landing on your feet will kill you.
- Never investigate piles of clothes that you find in the hallway of a massage parlor.
- Ninja know how to apply the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
- Deny your first instinct after being splashed in the face with industrial superglue.
- Being an attractive female hostage has a number of drawbacks, namely the number of male terrorists.
- Ninja do not use broadhead arrows.
- 4 mins - Good thing that they had infiltrated the enemy camp earlier and set up all those remote charges.
- 8 mins - Hehehe! Okay, whoever thought up this credit sequence is a genius!
- 11 mins - Dude, trying to be inconspicuous with that radio is a lost cause.
- 26 mins - Bleeped? They bleeped the dialog?
- 33 mins - It is a very mean thing to do, but maybe you shouldn't be eating those. In ten minutes you'll be sweating profusely and have a racing pulse.
- 48 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST BALLOONS!
- 58 mins - Whores already know what love is about, Steve. It is your standard capital for services business model.
- 87 mins - Your sexual habits have not been discussed, but they worry me, Spike.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Master: "A ninja does not allow himself to be swayed by emotion. You are not worthy!"
||Alby: "If you fail to comply with these demands, all hostages will be executed!"
||Spike: "I want a clean girl." |
Madame: "Are you kidding? My girls are sterilized, sanitized, and lobotomized."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Is he under attack by this powerful trio of modern dancers? Is this the unknown secret of ninja training? What madman thought this crazy scene up?
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