Enter the Ninja (1981) brings new meaning to “all white meat,” of the turkey variety.
First, I have to say that after watching this film I have a new theory about Hong Kong Theater films made between 1980 and 1990: they on average have something happening to a live chicken in them. Like the ninja star close-up, films of this genre from this decade, for the most part, include something happening to a live chicken. Which makes the Live-Chicken as much of a staple to Hong Kong Theater as the Ninja Star Close-up. Think about it? Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind had a chicken decapitation scene! Enter the Ninja is no exception to the rule.
Several times throughout the film, the local Manilaians–people who live in Manila, which is the capital of the Philippines, which I didn’t know until I “Googled It,” (damn you socialization!)–start a cock fight.
Now, if you don’t know where Manila is then this film can be more entertaining than it really should be–due to the mere fact that several times throughout the film you will find yourself scream “WHERE ARE YOU” to the television screen and laugh. That’s what I found myself doing after the film lost me in the first transition from Japan to what looked like Mexico. Yet, then all of the sudden the head bad guy–Mr. Venarius complete with gay lisp, synchronized swimmers, all white suited henchmen and lead henchman Mr. Parker who when order slaps people on command–is introduced and now it looks like they are in Miami. Then, meanwhile in another film happening in Vietnam or “Africa” as they call it, two US Marines dressed in Army Infantry fatigues are running from one guy with a semiautomatic and b-rate explosions.
Thus, the confusion lasts for several minutes until the old guy–now officially dubbed Pappy–45 minutes into the 101-minute film says that they are in Manila.Chuck Norris takes a shit, he does shit like you and I. But when Chuck Norris takes a good hard shit after taco night at the local El Taco, out comes “mini-Chucks.” Yes, “mini-Chucks”–the fun-sized versions of Chuck Norris. You know them, and we love them. In the case of Enter the Ninja our mini-Chuck is none other than Franco Nero. The blue-eyed handle mustache wearing Italian ninja in all white that we love to make fun of. If you don’t know who I am talking about just picture Glenn M. Hughes (the biker from The Village People) dressed as a white ninja and you get the point.
“Mini-Chucks” are the only explanation that I can come up with for this movie being any good. Well, that–and the endless hours of yelling out “Mr. Parker” to a friend who then slaps another friend–make this film slightly entertaining. Granted, the ass kicking Sho Kosugi is as always badass, but once again we have a film where the bad guys are cooler then the lead character. It is like Phantom Menace all over again. Oh, yes I went there! Between Mr. Venarius, Mr. Parker, the black ninja, and the German Henchmen with a hook for a hand this films brings a plethora of awesome bad guys. Yet, they can’t even help this film be better than “Good.”
If you really want to see the Mini-Chuck that Chuck Norris shat out in the late 70s then check the film out on Comcast OnDemand (since it’s not available on a Region 1 DVD, anyway) after a good drinking binge. Otherwise, don’t bother going out of your way to see this film, unless you are bored with your friends who need a good laugh. Just make sure to continue with the four jokes to make this film funny:
(1) Ask several times throughout the film: “WHERE ARE YOU”
(2) Yell out “MR. PARKER” and have a friend slap another friend
(3) Make reference to Franco Nero being a Mini-Chuck
(4) Make a reference to Gilligan’s Island every time the white ninja calls out “Mary Ann”; I’ve found saying “and the Skipper too” works best.
Directed by: Menahem Golan (Over the Top, The Apple, and The Delta Force)
Written by: Dick Desmond
Cast: Franco Nero (Bathory, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, and Die Hard 2), Sho Kosugi (Ninja Badass), Susan George (EastEnders and Mandingo), Christopher George (Delta Factor and Chisum), Will “Pappy” Hare (Back to the Future, Heaven Can Wait, and Pennies From Heaven), Zachi Noy (Various German and Russian Films), Constantine Gregory (Spooks, Flawless, Shanghai Knights, The Sum of All Fears, Diamonds are Forever and Goldeneye), Michael Dudikoff (Who was a Masked Ninja in the film), Alex Courtney (Zombie Death House (w00t!) and Programmed to Kill), and more.
MPAA Rating: R (for the lack of a bra wearing Susan George)
Running Time: 101 minutes (too long)
Average Film Rating: 4.4 out of 10 stars
Bad B-Movie Rating: Not listed on badmovies.org
Bob-o-Meter Rating: My Eyes!!!… Why!?… Mehâ€¦ Goodâ€¦ Greatâ€¦ Yes!â€¦ Badassâ€¦ Awesomeâ€¦ Holy Shit, Man!