Retro-review: New on Special Edition BluRay/DVD from The Shout Factory; help me out and pick it up on Amazon!
NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (1984)
Directed by Sam Firstenberg
Written by James R. Silke
Starring Shô Kosugi, Lucinda Dickey, Jordan Bennett, Dale Ishimoto, James Hong, Bob Craig
From the director of BREAKIN’ and the actual mother lovin’ BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGLOO comes NINJA III: THE DOMINATION. If this film were put in a time capsule and unearthed thousands of years in the future, I’m sure our giant brained ancestors would want to bury their giant brained heads in the sand. Hell, I grew up in the eighties and I’m ashamed of the styles and sights this movie beholds in terms of 80’s culture. In NINJA III: THE DONINATION not only will you see big hair, headbands, and legwarmers, but you also get big moustaches, deep Frenching, giant video games, pouring canned tomato juice down the front off oneself seductively, enormous headphones, and most importantly, aerobics!
Let me get a little tangential here in stating that AEROBICIZE on SHOWTIME was responsible for the awakening of not only my own nether region, but of nether regions across the country in the mid 80’s. Anyone who remembers the show will most likely remember it for the gratuitous fades in and outs of women doing pelvic thrusts over and over and, of course, the song “Bounce! Oooooooh! Shake! Ay-yay-yay-yay-yay!” This type of aerobics is featured prominently in this film and brought back fond memories of pants awakenings.
That said, this is a pretty horrible action film that normally I wouldn’t cover on AICN HORROR if not for a few things. 1. It deals with an evil ninja possessing someone. 2. An exorcism occurs. 3. There are pretty amazing death sequences in here especially the opening sequence set on a golf course as a squad of cops gun down a ninja point blank and still don’t waste him completely.
When I say horrible, I mean the acting mostly as Lucinda Dickey, straight from her successful stint as Amy (an 80’s equivalent of Julia Styles role in SAVE THE LAST DANCE) on BREAKIN’ and the quintessential BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, plays Christie, a cable installer slash aerobics instructor slash video game enthusiast who doesn’t date cops…until one kills a ninja, of course! After finding a nearly dead ninja in the desert (like ya’ do!), Christie experiences blackouts and becomes increasingly violent towards everyone around her. Soon she’s bellowing smoke from her mouth, kicking the shit out of a group of fun loving weightlifters out for a good rape, and killing the police officers who murdered the ninja assassin.
Morally, this story is all over the place. The cops are definitely not good because they show an excessive amount of force by gunning down a single ninja at point blank range. Then again, the ninja is hard to root for because he killed a bunch of cops. And Christie, though not in possession of all of her faculties, not only kills the cops, but any innocent bystanders who happen to get in between her and her target. Still, we have to root for true love to prevail, except the cop Christie falls in love with is one of the ones who gunned the ninja possessing her down in the beginning! GAH! MORAL CONUNDRUM!
You have to see NINJA III: THE DOMINATION for the horribly awesome exorcism scene alone. Here’s the beginning of it;
Now, what you don’t see in that clip is how Dickey then spins around and around head over heels, chained at the sides in a stunt that I have no idea how it was pulled off. So, so horrible, yet so hard to look away!
None of this matters since the best part about this film is the amazing Sho Kosugi, the underappreciated king of late eighties kung fu. This third installment of the NINJA series (the first two being the amazing ENTER THE NINJA and the equally amazing REVENGE OF THE NINJA) is less badass than its predecessors mainly because it’s some white chick instead of an actual martial artist doing the ninja-ing. Still you have to love the hokey way the ninja is highlighted from every projected kung fu move to the precious way the ninja pulls out one of his many weapons and shows it clearly to the audience before using it. All in all, this is some good chop-sockery, even if it is dopey as all get out.
The whole thing ends abruptly but we know the movie’s over because Sho Kosugi says so right there before the credits. NINJA III: THE DOMINATION definitely works fine as a “so bad, it’s good” style movie worth laughing at and with.
If you like what I wrote above, help me out and click on the link to buy it on Amazon here!!!