It is no secret, I love action films, specifically I love martial arts films. The 80’s and early 90’s gave us some very special ones, they are in a league of their own. I had heard about a series of films called American Ninja, and it has been on the ‘to see list’ for the better half of this year. So finally, decided to sit down and watch 1 through 4 (still need to track down 5). So what did I think? Did they live up to expectations? Yes and no, but I will get to that … lets move on to ….
First off, I enjoyed the heck out of this film, it had all the ingredients I look for in a martial arts film. Over the top and silly storyline, check! Ninjas, check! Hero, check! Questionable acting, check! So whats this about? I don’t even feel like going into it, just know it has Michael Dudikoff as Joe this pretty boy army guy with amnesia who happens to be a ninja to fight the ninjas. That’s basically all you need to know, you don’t go into a film like this for a fantastic plot line and great character development. You go in wanting action, a few laughs and NINJAS! I got all of that and then some.
The only fault with this film is it does take itself a bit too seriously, and you get those moments of unintentional laughs, but it just seems to work anyway. The end show down is legendary, and this film has a high re-watchable value. It isn’t on par with the likes of King of the Kickboxers or No Retreat No Surrender but it is a good fun film and I enjoyed it. And in the end that is all that matters!
American Ninja 2
Joe and his trusty sidekick, black Rambo Curtis Jackson just can not seem to stay away from them Ninjas. New bad guys who employ Ninjas need to be dealt with. The storyline is even more outrageous, but at least this time around it does not take itself as serious and it knows what kind of film it is. Again it is a lot of fun, and the Ninja’s just seem to be more stupid. I sat back and enjoyed them getting their asses handed to them by Joe, he really does kick ass.
Michael Dudikoff really settles into the role and he comes off a lot more natural this time around and Steve James just seems to be having so much fun too. Storyline is really bad, it was better in the first film but it doesn’t stop this from being a fun ride and an enjoyable film.
American Ninja 3
So we have a new hero for the film David Bradley as Sean, who happens to be another american ninja, meets up with our sidekick Curtis Jackson to take on … evil ninjas! Yes, the same old thing again with a wacky storyline, but lots of fun to be had. The ninjas seem to get dumber with each film but then it is fun to see the good guys beat the shit out of them.
David Bradley is as good as a replacement as any for Michael Dudikoff, he wasn’t half bad with his acting and his martial arts skills are fantastic, after all he was a karate champion just like in the film. Again this film doesn’t take itself seriously and it helps the enjoyment of it, because you just take it for what it is.
American Ninja 4
Pretty much the same as above, silly as heck storyline, even dumber ninjas, but we get both David Bradley and Michael Dudikoff in the same film and teaming up towards the end. The beginning we get David Bradley and his adventures and then in the second half we get Michael Dudikoff’s, and then it all comes together right at the end.
Again the storyline is silly beyond belief, but it makes it that much more fun to watch. There’s even a crew of Mad Max extras in the film to add to the craziness. It is hard to write a review of the film without giving too much away, best way to watch these films is to dive in head first.