HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  9 Deaths of the Ninja What's it all about, Alby?Buy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Emmett Alston
Stars: Shô Kosugi, Brent Huff, Emilia Crow, Blackie Dammett, Regina Richardson, Vijay Amritraj, Lisa Friedman, Kane Kosugi, Shane Kosugi, Bruce Fanger, Sonny Erang, Aiko Cownden, Judy Wilson, Jennifer Crumrine, Helen McNeely, Protacio Dee
Genre: Action, Martial Arts, Trash, Weirdo, Adventure
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Having earned a degree of cult stardom with his Cannon trilogy of ninja films, Enter the Ninja (1981), Revenge of the Ninja (1983) and Ninja III: The Domination (1984), real-life ninjitsu master Shô Kosugi slipped up with this slapdash effort, widely derided as the Plan 9 from Outer Space of ninja movies. Which, to be honest, makes it well nigh essential viewing. Somewhere in the Philippines, where life is cheap and stuntmen are expendable, lollipop-loving ninja hero Spike Shinobi (our boy Shô) and his gun-toting dimwit commando sidekick Steve Gordon (Brent Huff) hone their killing skills in a training exercise supervised by lovely Lt. Jennifer Barnes (Emilia Crow), the third member of this counter-terrorist taskforce.

The call goes out for our heroes when an American tour bus is hijacked by ridiculously-monickered rant-happy hairspray casualty, Honey Hump (Regina Richardson) and her squadron of hotpants-clad girl commandos who sneak aboard disguised as a wedding party in full bridal wear! Honey and her vixens work for Alby the Cruel (Blackie Dammett), a crazy-accented, wheelchair-bound, monkey-fondling former Nazi-turned-drug smuggler-cum-terrorist, who demands the release of Rahji Mohammed (Sonny Erang), his cackling terrorist cohort and gay lover (!), and that those American pigs back off from their war on the drugs trade. If not, then bang goes the Filipino tourist trade. NOOOOO!! Anything but that! You bastard! How will First Lady Imelda Marcos afford her next gazillion pairs of shoes? Oh wait, weren’t she and President Marcos overthrown in a coup the following year?

Anyway, while Steve is busy playing grab-ass with Jennifer and local American embassy liaison Marissa Lee (Aiko Crownden), Spike springs into action. In rapid “I can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing” succession, Spike gets ambushed in an art gallery by a trio of kung fu midgets dressed as The Blues Brothers (no, I’m not making this up. I wish I was, but I’m not...), disguises himself as an elderly cripple (for no good reason) and battles assassins at the restaurant where Steve is on date (for fuck’s sake, Steve, get your mind out off your pants and back on the job! There are lives at stake!), then infiltrates not one, but two brothels run by machinegun-wielding Madame Woo Wee and her twin sister, Madame Whoopee (both played by soap actress Judy Wilson, wisely hiding under an alias) who describes her girls as “sterilised, sanitised and lobotomised.” Between misadventures, Spike makes time for regular lollipop breaks (what is he, Kojak’s Japanese cousin?) and flashbacks to his jungle training days with the Iga ninja clan. As was the case with Shô Kosugi’s Cannon movies, the filmmakers seem to believe that beyond Tokyo, Japan has not changed much since the feudal days, with ninjas romping around the woods.

Meanwhile, Alby’s terrorists prove how gosh darn evil they are by swiping a little girl’s medication, dancing to German brass band music, and attacking their hostages’ self-esteem. “You are ze most pathetic hostages I haff ever zeen!” rants Alby. Ouch. Oh yeah, and there is a comedy subplot where rape-happy Dr. Wolf (Bruce Fanger) attempts to molest the comely tour guide (Lisa Friedman) but is repeatedly foiled by karate skilled child hostages Kane and Shane (Shô’s real-life offspring, Kane Kosugi and Shane Kosugi). Hil-fucking-larious, as only the combination of attempted rape and juvenile antics can be. Evidently unwilling to leave their lives in the hands of a candy-addicted ninja, a walking collection of S.T.D.’s, and a third-rate Ellen Barkin-wannabe (sorry, Ms. Crow, but face facts), the boys grab their nunchakus and set out to free their fellow hostages. Thus proving themselves the most mature and capable characters in the film. And they’re both under ten!

Ye, gods. If you gave a bunch of eight year old Martian visitors a movie camera along with a vague description of what an action movie was like, the end result might be something like 9 Deaths of the Ninja, a film so stupefying in its ineptitude it borders on the surreal. Except, this was not made by Martians but co-produced by famed Indian tennis pro and bit-part player Vijay Amritraj (who cameos as an ambassador here, and does not let the side down, delivering a performance every bit as godawful as his co-stars) along with his movie mogul brother, Ashok Amritraj who went on to produce a host of Hollywood films held in slightly higher regard. At the time, Vijay had just come off a supporting turn in the James Bond film Octopussy (1983) and seems to have set out to make something in a similarly campy-but-action-packed vein. Yet somewhere along the way, the idea went wildly off the rails.

Ineptly directed by exploitation veteran Emmett Alston, working from his own admittedly tongue-in-cheek script, the film veers uneasily from self-conscious spoof into gung-ho action too straightlaced to be taken as satire. No-one in this film behaves like a real human being, least of all Blackie Dammett (father of Red Hot Chilli Peppers frontman, Anthony Kiedis!), styled like a New Wave rocker but channelling Dr. Strangelove as a comedy Nazi, amidst a cast that were seemingly selected so that Shô comes off like Laurence Olivier by comparison. Former male model Brent Huff went on to carve a niche for himself as a director of straight-to-video action films and land the occasional solid acting gig. You might have seen him on Mad Men or The West Wing.

Despite choreography from Shô himself, the action is largely lacklustre although the last third of the film when Spike, Steve, Jennifer and the kids (!) go into jungle warfare mode is silly comic book fun. There is an inexplicable plot twist that goes unexplained wherein Spike uncovers a nest of ninjas in league with Alby’s terrorists along with cinema’s first death-by-polo-match. Happy endings and lollipops all round, but by far the most memorable aspect are the jaw-dropping opening credits featuring a well-oiled, katana wielding Shô performing an interpretive dance number alongside the lycra-clad Hotlegs Dancers. Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2954 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: