American Ninja

release year: 1985
genre: action/martial arts
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/22/03

synopsis: Young American GI with amnesia possesses mysterious ninja training, which he must use to stop a weapons-dealing plot.

impressions: Not bad, but not spectacular. That summation could be applied to pretty much any Cannon (Golan-Globus) martial arts movie from the 1980s. The plot was ok, the action decent enough, the acting varied. I will say that the evil ninja arsenal got more and more unbelievable as the movie progressed, culminating in the ultimate retardation: ninja glove firing laser beam to blow up target. Aaaaaargh. Still, if you like to see lots of hand-to-hand and weapons combat, plus some guns and heavy artillery thrown in for kicks, this movie will entertain you.

things to watch for: Joe's sparring with Steve James, or the final ninja duel.

acting: Michael Dudikoff is wooden as the lead, Joe. Steve James is much better as the sympathetic corporal who knows some martial arts himself. The colonel's daughter was cute and perky, despite some corny dialogue.

final word: Worth seeing for cheap action thrills, though only die-hard fans of ninja movies may need to see it more than once.

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