46. American Ninja (1985)

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*The Warlock opens the door to his lair dressed as Reptile from Mortal Kombat*

Warlock: Welcome to my lair….welcome I don’t think so, but enter.Enter my lair if you dare. I’m your host The Warlock.

*Warlock does a spinning wheel kick and enters the lair. Neyzor Blades is sitting in the recliner shaking her head.*

Neyz: You look ridiculous.

Warlock: Nobody asked you. Tonight’s movie is American Ninja starring Michael Dudikoff. Apparently American film companies were hell bent on proving white Americans were the best fighters in the world despite all evidence proving otherwise.

Neyz: You can say that again.

*Warlock takes a seat on the couch*

Warlock: So let’s get this show on the road. Joining us later live via satellite will be the Grand Master of Martial Arts, Jon Blaze to discuss the movie.

 

*Warlock reads the tag-line*

Warlock: “American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines.”

Neyz: Of course single handedly….if he had help he wouldn’t be so bad ass.

 

*Movie opens at an army barracks. Private Joe T Armstrong (Michael Dudikoff) plays with his knife while a bunch of other guys play hackey-sack*

Neyz: Word, I want to play!

Warlock: Heh, wish Mr. America was here. That’s the same guy who played Nick James in Cyberjack.

 

*Private Charley Madison (Philip Brock) shows the others how its done but wants to get Joe involved. Joe just stands there and refuses to play. Charley goes over to give him shit when Rinaldo (John LaMotta), Colonel Hickock (Guich Koock) and his daughter Patricia (Judie Aronson) walk out. The army guys scatter as Charley says hi to her. From a nearby truck a black soldier whistles at her.*

Warlock: Ey where da white women at?

Neyz: Right there numbskull!

Warlock: Hey wait, that’s Samantha!

Neyz: Who?

Warlock: The actress who plays Patricia was Samantha in Friday the 13th part 4. I knew I recognized her.

Neyz: Which one was she?

Warlock: She was the one who took a spear in the middle of the lake. She went nude in that movie, hopefully she will here too.

Neyz: You’re sick.

 

*A convoy of Charley driving Patricia with Joe in one of the trucks motors around the base as the opening credits appear*

Warlock: If only Mr. America was here.

 

*The convoy is stopped by a bulldozer with construction workers carrying guns.*

Warlock: Why would they…

 

*A bulldozer pulls up behind the convoy and suddenly 10 guys appear from the bushes with machine guns. The construction guys draw their weapons and the leader says “freeze!”

Warlock:……Yeah

Neyz: Freeze? They weren’t moving.

 

*Rinaldo calmly exists the car as all the gun wavers pull the truck drivers out of the car and round them up. The guy who rounds up Joe swings his gun but Joe ducks under it and the guy goes flying. Joe walks nonchalantly toward the others*

Warlock: Hahahaha.

 

*The leader throws Charlie’s head through the window of the car. Patricia protests and the leader smacks her and throws her into the car.*

Neyz: That bastard!

 

*Joe can take no more and runs up to the leader. He knocks him down as Patricia drives off. One of the muggers shoots out a tire and she flips the car. Joe starts dropkicking guys around and the rest of the inspired troops start fighting back.*

*Warlock stands on the couch and shouts* CHARGE!!!!

Neyz: Get down, they can’t hear you.

 

*The leader shoots at Joe and he california rolls, picks up a screwdriver and tosses it like a knife at the leader, impaling him in the neck.*

Warlock: Oh come on, that was so cheesy.

 

*Joe then throws two heavy tire irons like they’re lawn darts and take out two muggers*

Warlock: Those things weigh a ton, give me a break!

 

*The Americans get the upper hand as a ninja looks on in the hills. Patricia gets out of the car unscathed and kicks a palm tree. The tree then almost lands on her*

Warlock: This is getting ridiculous.

 

*The troops hop in the trucks and drive off. One of the muggers hijacks one of the trucks. Naturally Joe defies the laws of gravity to take out the driver and crash the truck, exploding in the process.*

Warlock: Just….wow.

 

*All of a sudden a group of ninjas leap from the hills and attack.*

Warlock: Who are these clowns?

 

*Jackson shoots at one of the ninjas who literally jumps 8 feet in the air backwards to avoid the bullets.*

Warlock: Alright, I give up taking this seriously.

 

*An archer shoots a black soldier in the back and the Ninja leader stabs him with the sword. Meanwhile another soldier goes to town on a bunch of ninjas with an M16 until two of them tie him up. One by one the soldiers are killed until just Joe, Charley, Rinaldo and Patricia remain. Joe kicks one of the muggers into a sword. Archers shoot arrows at him and Joe deflects them with a digging shovel.  Charley and Rinaldo are held at sword point while the rest of the ninjas go after Joe and Patricia. The leader of the ninjas asks who Joe is and Rinaldo doesn’t know. Leader “He possess great skills!”

Warlock: The dialogue is as cheesy as the action.

 

*Patricia protests Joe carrying her around until he covers his mouth when trying to hide*

Warlock: Yeah really, shut up!

 

*The ninjas run off as Joe throws her down, rips the heels off her shoes then cuts through her dress, tying it to her thighs.*

Warlock: I see what he’s trying to do but he should have warned her first.

 

*Joe and Patricia dive in the water*

Warlock: Yeah nothing says stealth like a big cannonball….wow Joe.

 

*The ninja gang dress up as the soldiers and drive away as Patricia continues to complain. Joe strips down to his undies as Patricia oohs and aahs at him. He nervously says its going to be dark soon.*

Warlock: Who needs plot development?

 

*Joe awkwardly says they need to go soon as the frame shifts to the bodybags being pulled onto the base. Colonel Hickock is very unhappy and he wants the jungle searched. He says its the third time they’ve been attacked. He asks Rinaldo what happened and Rinaldo blames Joe for going “John Wayne”. Hickock says the SOB is going to be sorry he joined the military. He then calls over Corporal Curtis Jackson (Steve James) and asks what kind of wounds the men suffered. Jackson says ninjas did it*

Neyz: Wow…so corny.

Warlock: You’re not gonna believe it but Steve James was one of the Baseball Furies in The Warriors.

Neyz: The black guy?

Warlock: Yup, he was also the dude in Bloodfist 5.

Neyz: Oh yeah, I thought he looked familiar.

 

*Meanwhile the Ninja leader (Tadashi Yamashita) and Victor Ortega (Don Stewart) lament their mission. The leader says teaching an American is punishable by death but someone must have done it because he’s convinced Joe is an American ninja. Ortega tells him they have a billion dollar deal in the works and to take out Joe before it goes wrong.*

Warlock: The plot revealed!

 

*A flower truck drops off Patricia at her place and she kisses Joe’s cheek. Back at the base, Colonel Hickock gives Joe an earfull and says he’ll be court marshaled for this. They look at his dossier and he’s an orphan. A judge ordered him to either enlist in the military or go to jail, he chose military.*

Warlock: Not even a thank you? What assholes.

 

*Joe walks out of the office where Charley points at him and calls him an asshole to Jackson. Everyone gives him the cold shoulder. They’re mad that 4 guys are dead because he went into hero mode.*

Warlock: I wouldn’t last 5 seconds, I’d kick all their asses or attempt to.

 

*Joe has flashbacks of his ninja training before the scene shifts to Ortega welcoming a Columbian Druglord (Tonny Carreon) and an assistant (Roi Vinzon). Ortega introduces Shinyuki (John Fujioka) the palace’s landscaper. They don’t know it but he was the one who trained Joe in the montage a minute earlier*

Neyz: Mr Miyagi before Mr Miyagi?

Warlock: I think Mr. Miyagi came first.

 

*Ortega and Columbian head to the Black Ninja training center. Ninja leader beats the everloving crap out of his students during training. He snaps the neck of one of them and the other ninjas haul the carcass away*

Warlock: Another one bites the dust.

 

*Ortega makes a 4 million deal with the Columbians and leave to have a drink. Meanwhile back on the base, Joe is tinkering with a truck when Jackson comes over to give him the business. Charley tells Jackson to teach him a lesson. Jackson keeps goading and goading until Joe complies. Joe: “Don’t push it.”

Neyz: I smell a fight.

 

*Joe walks away and Jackson comes up from behind, and is judo flipped over a potted plant.*

Warlock: That potted plant won best supporting actor.

 

*Joe and Jackson fight and Joe flips him around a few times. He uses a garden hose to restrain him. Someone hands Jackson a stick and Joe puts a bucket of water on his head. Jackson goes to strike him but Joe grabs him and flips him one last time. Joe offers a hand and Jackson takes it. Jackson admits he was wrong and tells everyone watching to lighten up. Naturally they listen.*

Warlock: Oh sure. In real life that’s another court martial.

 

*Jackson asks where Joe studied those moves and Joe says he picked up a few things here and there. Suddenly Rinaldo appears and Jackson then quickly tells the crowd that the self-defense demonstration is over.*

Warlock: Nice recovery.

 

*Rinaldo says to stop covering up, he saw the whole thing. Jackson continues to cover for him anyway and Rinaldo says he’s not worth it. Later on Jackson drives up on a motorcycle and asks him where he learned them. Jackson figures out that Joe is suffering from amnesia and really doesn’t remember where he picked up the ninjitsu. Patricia shows up and Joe locks eyes with her. Jackson says “At least I know you’re human.” Joe cracks his first smile of the movie.*

Neyz: So he’s not the Terminator?

Warlock: Not even close.

 

*Charley is driving Patricia but she asks him for a favor, she wants him to drive her to see Joe. Joe and Jackson share bonding moments. Charley then sets up Joe with Patricia. Joe rides off on Jackson’s bike in his dress uniform.Joe makes a Fonzy type jump out of the base.*

Warlock: Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

 

*Jackson: Let’s talk about your future. You’re going to put on some fatigues and cover for Joe. Charley: What’s that got to do with my future. Joe: Cause if you don’t, you ain’t gonna have a future.”

Warlock: Hahahahaha.

 

*Joe meets up with Patricia and their romantic dinner goes well until Rinaldo spots him. Rinaldo is revealed to be on Ortega’s payroll and he was setting up the ambushes by the ninjas.*

Warlock: I knew there was an inside mole, I figured it was Hickock.

 

*Joe spots Rinaldo with Ortega. Patricia casually  mentions she’s the friendly plantation owner but Joe’s look says it all. Ortega tells Rinaldo to kill him and will tell him how. Next frame shows Patricia and Joe sharing a kiss goodnight.*

Warlock: Awww isn’t that sweet.

 

*Next morning at the barracks Rinaldo barges in and tells Charley he’s on garbage duty and Joe to report to the motor pool. Joe shows up and the Sarge (Eric Hahn) tells him to take the truck to the warehouse down the road*

Warlock: Not that’s fishy or anything.

Neyz: He seemed to be smarter than that.

 

*Joe drives up to Warehouse 5 and sure enough, its a trap. Joe is ambushed by a group of ninjas. Naturally Joe wipes them all out by himself. After that, one of the outside patrons drives off with the truck loaded with supplies. Joe gets on a bike and drives after the truck. The driver runs over the bike but Joe holds on underneath. The truck drives to Ortega’s plantation and into its warehouse. Inside the truck, Ortega’s shit is all there ready to be shipped tomorrow. Joe investigates and finds weapons in the truck. A patrol soldier spots him and fires a warning shot before Joe takes him out, alerting the Ninja Master, Ortega and the ninjas.*

Warlock: Better start running Joe.

 

*Joe hides out on the ceiling as the ninjas search for him. Joe makes it to the roof but Ortega’s men spots him and opens fire. Joe makes it out of the building and stuffs a guard in a trash can*

Warlock: Hahahahha

 

*Joe hightails it to the woods where Shinyuki helps him escape. Shinyuki tells him they will meet again. Ortega calls up Rinaldo and tells him Joe saw the entire operation. Rinaldo says he’ll take care of it.*

Neyz: Something…

Warlock: Is afoot.

 

*Joe makes it back to base where the MP (Joey Galvez) places him under arrest. Next frame shows Joe being put in jail. Jackson walks into the jail and tells the MP (Richard Norton) behind the desk that Joe is innocent.*

Warlock: Hey that’s Richard Norton.

Neyz: Who?

Warlock: The Prime Imperator from Mad Max: Fury Road.

Neyz: How do you know all this stuff?

Warlock: Don’t ask.

 

*Rinaldo tells Jackson that Joe is the rat, Jackson isn’t buying it.

Neyz: Jackson is no fool.

 

*Jackson runs to Patricia and tells him Joe is in trouble. They go to Colonel Hickock who tells them both to stick it and Joe will be court martialed. Next frame shows Ortega pissed with Ninja Master. Ninja says his men underestimated him, he won’t. Ortega tells him to get rid of him once and for all.*

Warlock: Setting the one on one fight up perfectly.

 

*That night Ninja Master storms the barracks and wipes out a bunch of soldiers. Ninja Master takes out Richard Norton*

Warlock: Wow, who saw that coming?

 

*Joe escapes his cell and has the one on one fight with Ninja Master at the motor pool. Just before Ninja Master finishes him off, reinforcements arrive and he flees.  Joe runs into Jackson who says he was set up by Rinaldo, Jackson believes him. Meanwhile the MP’s find one of the dead soldiers with a throwing star in his head, further leading them to believe Joe is the traitor. Meanwhile Joe confides with Jackson and Patricia and joins them. They confront Colonel Hickock who gets the base on the phone. Patricia thinks the Colonel is going to investigate Rinaldo and she celebrates.*

Neyz: This is too easy.

 

*Sure enough, MP’s bust in with Rinaldo and Colonel wants Joe arrested. He tries to turn Patricia against him but Joe dives out a window before he could be arrested. Joe runs for it, hijacks a jeep and takes off. One of the MP’s goes to shoot him but Jackson kicks the gun out of his hand. Rinaldo takes off in hot pursuit and opens fire. Rinaldo then commandeers the jeep and they play bumper cars for a bit until Joe runs Rinaldo off the road, killing him when his truck explodes.*

Warlock: One down, two to go.

 

*Next frame shows Ortega going to Hickock’s house and its revealed the Colonel is also on his payroll*

Warlock: See! I knew it all along….make it one down, three to go.

 

*As Ortega and Colonel talk, Ninja Master sneaks around. Colonel is freaking out but Ortega calms him down. Meanwhile Ninja Master kidnaps Patricia.*

Neyz: Oh snap.

 

*Hickock is having second thoughts and Ortega tells him to stick to the plan. Ortega laughs and says if Hickock doesn’t play along, he’ll squeal about him. Hickock belts him and says the deal is off. Ortega leaves with Ninja Master holding Patricia hostage*

Warlock: Insurance policy.

 

*Next frame shows Joe infiltrating Ortega’s palace. He’s met by Shinyuki who finally lets us in on Joe’s past. When Joe was a child, Shinyuki unofficially adopted him and trained him in the art of ninjitsu. We’re shown a montage of young Joe training. An explosion separated the two which is why they thought the other dead. Now its time for them to complete training.*

Warlock: Picked a fine time for a training montage with 17 minutes left in the movie.

 

*Instead of a montage, Shinyuki hands Joe a sword and tells him to go get the bastards. The next morning Joe walks out dressed as a black ninja. Ninja Master and Ortega await the arrival of a helicopter featuring the Columbians. Ortega leads the Columbians to the truck where Joe stands on top and fires an arrow, caught by Master. Ninja says to hold on, he has an idea. He brings out Patricia. Ortega threatens him with her death unless he surrenders. Joe refuses and Ortega says to kill him. Suddenly Shinyuki appears in full gear behind him. The duo wipe out most of the ninjas before Shinyuki literally disappears*

Warlock: I can suspend disbelief but good god what was THAT?

 

*Ninja Master chucks a dagger and Shinyuki appears in front of Joe, taking it to save his life. Shinyuki dies in his arms*

Warlock: *Fake death* Ehhhhhh

 

*Suddenly reinforcements arrive. A jeep driven by Charley with a machine gun toting Jackson starts shooting the place up. Hickock arrives with more troops in tanks and they storm the plantation.*

Warlock: Talk about a face turn.

 

*Jackson and Hickock go to town on Ortega’s men as Joe chases Ninja Master. Eventually Ninja shoots fire from his wrist to set a rope Joe was climbing ablaze*

Warlock: Who does he think he is, me?

Neyz: Give me a break.

 

*Jackson fights it out with a muscle headed ninja as Ninja Master and Joe go one on one, finally. Jackson grabs the guy by the hair*

Warlock: Wait….Jackson…Jax….grabs a guy.  “Gotcha!” Heh…so this is where Jax from Mortal Kombat was inspired.

 

*Ortega’s men are wiped out and the Columbians say thanks but no thanks.They head for their chopper but Ortega shoots them both dead. Hickock’s men wipe out the rest of Ortega’s men and the ninjas until its just Ortega holding Patricia hostage. Jackson beats the crap out of someone else.*

Warlock: The irony is that Jackson wasn’t supposed to be as good as Joe but he’s ten times the fighter in real life.

 

*Hickock has Ortega cornered by the chopper. Ortega says all he wants is the moolah. Hickock holsters his gun but Ortega shoves her in the chopper anyway. Hickock foolishly rushes the chopper where he’s shot dead by Ortega*

Warlock: At least he went down fighting for the right side.

 

*Rather than escape, Ortega wants to remain grounded to watch the big fight between Master and Joe*

Warlock: Why doesn’t Hickock’s men storm the chopper? He’s hanging out, they can get a clean shot. Didn’t they bring a sniper? Ughhhhh

 

*Joe finally kills Ninja Master and Ortega says to take off. Joe hops up on the chopper and Ortega climbs out to shoot at him*

Warlock: Oh my god, Patricia…WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Ortega is barely hanging on, KICK HIM OFF!

Neyz: Settle down, its only a movie.

 

*Jackson pops open one of the crates on the truck and pulls out a bazooka. Joe punches out Ortega and hops off the chopper with Patricia. Jackson wastes no time and blows away Ortega*

Warlock: Yayyyyy, about time.

 

*Joe pulls his mask off after dropping Patricia in Jackson’s arms. He stands there as the credits roll*

Warlock’s assessment: Cheesy as fuck. It felt like one of those pre-Bruce Lee fighting movies where it was totally unrealistic and corny. I spent more time facepalming than cheering. I give it a 5.5 out of 10.

Neyz assessment: I’ll give it a 4.5, Patricia pissed me off, she was super annoying.

Final Grade: 5 out of 10: Average

 

*Warlock rises from the couch*

Warlock: Well that was cheesy, now joining us live via satellite is the Grand Master of Martial Arts, Jon Blaze. Jon can you hear me?

*The dvd menu fades and a figure dressed as a black ninja appears in a pagoda with double swords on his back*

Jon: Yes, Warlock….thanks for having me.

Warlock: As you know I just watched American Ninja, what are your thoughts on the fighting scenes?

Jon: Absolute crap in my opinion. Steve Jones would absolutely annihilate Michael Dudikoff in a straight up fight. Its a shame that even by the 1980’s he was playing the sidekick. As for the Ninja Master, his problem was swinging the sword instead of zigging it.

Warlock: What do you mean?

*Jon pulls out one of his swords*

Jon: I mean he did this

*He swings the sword like a baseball bat*

Jon: Instead of this

*He thrusts the sword forward, backward and side to side before twirling it in his hands*

Warlock: Well there wouldn’t have been much of a movie if Ninja Master won, right?

Jon: True.

Warlock: Thanks for your technique tips, I’ll try to remember that next time I’m in a fight with Mr. America.

Jon: Why would you fight….

*Warlock shuts the TV off and turns to the camera*

Warlock: That about wraps up another evening of excitement, have a pleasant evening.

 

 

 

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