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Review Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985): Midgets get thrown in this!

genre: martial arts, action






Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985) was a film I owned on VHS. From time to time I would watch it and enjoy it. However I was young and would go totally crazy for the mere fact ninja's were in it. So yes, it is safe to say I remember this film quite differently. Although I was always aware it was pretty bad.

Now I a bit surprised that this film is less out there than I remember. That being said it's still incredibly over the top and ridiculous. None of the events connect well or make that much sense on their own. For one thing, it seems pretty serious to me if a bus full of kids, women and other innocent people get taken hostage. Wouldn't that instill some sense of urgency? Main characters Spike Shinobi (Sho Kosugi) and Steve Gordon (Brent Huff) don't seem in a hurry. They take their sweet time enjoying a luxurious stay at the hotel and having fun with women. I read somewhere that Nine Deaths of the Ninja is intended as a parody and that them not rushing to the rescue is meant as a joke. I don't know about that. Some scenes are actually played out like you should take them seriously even when the overall result is comedic.

I have to mention Regina Richardson and Blackie Dammett. Because they do seem to be the only actors in on the joke. As they play their roles seriously but with a sense of humour. They actually stand out with their over the top performances. Especially Regina Richardson was hilarious and showed real potential for greatness. I am therefore dismayed that she only had 4 roles in total. I can't find any information about her and what she did after. I will try to dig a little deeper since I really want to know why she stopped acting.

I am sure by now you are wondering if there is good action to be enjoyed. In general the action is adequate. Only without the sense of urgency, tension or some kind of dramatic impact it feels very cartoonish. The best bits were the action sequences where Spike is being a ninja and has to battle other ninja's. Before you get all excited though. There aren't that many ninja's in this film. And when they do appear they are gone before you know it. They are just there as part of Spike's arc. BTW Spike is the only one who has one. Every other character have very little to no background. Granted who cares about them anyway? But I can't help but feel it would have made this film more complete especially as a parody. 

Can I recommend this film? Of course I can. But just for the sheer badness you will get to experience. I mean they even have a scene where midgets fight with Sho and get thrown by him. To be fair though, they deserved it. They were constantly punching and kicking him in the balls.





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