The cult classic from 1983 ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ with Sho Kosugi is a vivid example of such an experience.
Quite possibly the most celebrated movie in the ninja genre along with ‘American Ninja’ (1985), ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ is a beguiling spectacle that one just can’t forget.
Revisiting the b-movie almost 35 years after its release still brings guilty pleasure and delightful memories.
The crazy mixture of exhilarating martial arts sequences and strong characters combined with the irrational plot and laugh-out-loud funny moments made the movie unforgettable.
I remember the first time I watched it when I was a kid I was petrified by the amount of gruesomeness and to be honest I didn’t realize until now that the flick was so bloody and violence-abundant.
‘Revenge of the Ninja’ was released in 1983 with a budget of $700 000 and made the astonishing $13 168 027 in the domestic box-office.
The movie is the second installment of a so-called ninja trilogy produced by Cannon films – a low-budget production company which existed until 1994.
The other two entries – ‘Enter the Ninja’ (1981) and ‘Ninja III: Domination’ (1984) have nothing to do with each other in terms of storyline but they both include some of the stars in the leading roles.
The production studio has heavily cut the original theatrical release of ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ because of the hardcore scenes involving brutal child death and numerous acts of bloody violence.
Nowadays, the movie is praised as a cult classic in the b-action movie genre and one of the greatest of its type.
Who made the movie such a mind-blowing success?
Let’s find out.
Cast and Crew
The director of ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ is the independent Polish-born filmmaker Sam Firstenberg, the visionary mind responsible for the success of another cult ninja flick – ‘American Ninja’ with Michael Dudikoff.
For the fans of the straight-to-video genre, it is clear that Sam Firstenberg has sympathy for the world of the ninjas.
In fact, the Polish filmmaker has three movies in his filmography revolving around ninjas.
Besides two of the “American Ninja” series, he has directed “Ninja III: The Domination” back in 1984.
‘Revenge of the Ninja’ stars the glorious martial artist, actor and fight choreographer Sho Kosugi (‘Enter the Ninja’, ‘Black Eagle’, ‘Ninja Assassin’) who gained huge fame during the 80’s. He plays master Cho.
Another celebrated name in the martial arts hall of fame – Keith Vitali (‘No Retreat, No Surrender’, American Kickboxer’) stars as Cho’s sidekick Dave Hatcher.
According to the prestigious ‘Black Belt Magazine’, Keith is among the 10 best fighters in the world of all time.
Arthur Roberts plays Braden – their evil opponent.
Sho Kosugi’s son Kane Kosugi portrays his little karate kid Kane and one has to admit that the little Kosugi is one small badass fighter.
In the cast, we can also notice the name of John Lamotta (the guy from ‘ALF’).
The part of the hot chick went to the sexy American model Ashley Ferrare who plays Cathy.
And yes, she also knows Karate. Even the animals and the trees are highly skilled in Ninjutsu in this movie.
What is all about in ‘Revenge of the Ninja’?
The plot tells the story of Cho Osaki – a member of a famous ninja clan, mastering the art of fighting to perfection.
When a group of evil ninjas invades his home in Japan and slaughter almost all of his family members, Cho travels to America with his baby son and his mother to start a brand new life, thus leaving the violent life of a Ninja behind his back.
Cho starts working in the art gallery of his friend Braden and his assistant Kathy.
One day, Cho accidentally breaks a doll that appears to be full of heroin.
In that way, he unwittingly finds out that Braden is using the art shop to smuggle drugs.
When he confronts him, Cho unleashes a series of bloody events and soon he must deal with a powerful crime organization, led by Braden, whose alter ego is known as the ‘Silver Ninja’.
This is a Funny Action Movie Because:
As already mentioned, ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ is one hell of a bloody spectacle that contains plenty of absurd scenes.
While the movie is visually striking (for its time) and the non-stoppable action is the main driving force of the storytelling, the acting is ludicrous and the dialogue is so bad that it ends up being hilarious.
The show starts without mercy, showing us the massacre of Cho’s family.
It is a mass, chaotic assault of dozens of ninjas that emerge suddenly from nowhere and invade Cho’s house by using as weapons shurikens, swords, knives, bows and of course crazy martial art forms.
‘Revenge of the Ninja’ is the only action flick that I can recall of where there is an uncensored killing of a small child.
In the chaos, one of the ninjas stabs brutally on the forehead with a shuriken Cho’s little son who dies in pain and blood and you keep wondering ‘is this meant to be serious?’
The ridiculously dressed ninjas are so many and come so fast that you have the feeling that they are being shot from a machine gun.
At this moment, Master Cho finally shows up and interrupts their killing spree.
At his turn, he starts to kill ninjas so easily that they don’t have the time to respond to his fury and fall one by one like if they are made from paper.
The mad Cho fights frantically and showcases superpowers by catching enemy’s arrows with hands and even with his mouth and legs.(this is not a joke at all).
The fight sound effects are super unrealistic and reminiscent of the noise coming from a whiplash or from an exploding bomb.
The entire scene is so epically ludicrous, that you might have the feeling that you are in the middle of an exotic circus.
It won’t be difficult to guess the outcome of that mass fight but let’s just say that Cho could be held responsible for a little ninja genocide.
Only a few minutes later the cold-blooded Cho acts as if nothing happened and looks calm as a cucumber while discussing the recent events with his mother.
The famous idiom “The apple doesn’t fall away from the tree” applies best in the case with Cho’s son.
The tiny 6 or 7 years old kid is also a highly skilled fighter who can ashame not only his mighty father but can easily make Bruce Lee look like an amateur.
There is a scene in which the innocently looking child beats up some other kids of his age in a park, who dare to make fool of him.
It is pretty difficult and weird to describe how a scene involving a little kid performing complicated karate techniques looks like but the last definition to use is ‘serious’.
There is no need to mention that this one will make you laugh to tears.
Now, pay attention to the next scene which is more likely to be cut from an adult movie and pasted into ‘Revenge of the Ninja’: Cho trains his deadly son how to be even more deadly at home, when Barden’s assistant Cathy enters the room, half-naked, wearing only a short red kimono.
She approaches Cho and starts flirting with him. With the agreement of both actors, the scene can be easily put in a porn movie and win an AVN award.
The dialogue is as dumb. Cathy says to Cho how strong he is and when he tells her that she has forgotten her pants, she answers-‘Oh, do you really think I forgot them?’
After that, she leaves nothing to the imagination while they start training karate.
The absurdity continues with the next scene, so hold on.
How would you feel when while you are peeing in a public toilet, a guy with a sword appears from the corner, wearing a ninja outfit in broad daylight with a shining silver mask seemingly bought from the Rio de Janeiro carnival?
Yes, it is a nonsensical question. Probably you would be like ‘WTF, is it Halloween or something?’
This is the exact reaction of John Lamotta’s character Joe, who for sure knows the feeling because this happens to him in a very funny scene in which Braden kills him atrociously and without any logic.
Moments later we understand that the ninja blood runs in the whole family because not only Kane, the small kid, is a born fighter but his grandmother too.(Still, I’m not kidding)
The old lady is quick and nimble like a gazelle while fighting the Silver Ninja Braden in a desperate attempt to save her own life.
Old, clumsy and quite possibly with severe rheumatism, she manages to perform some impressive karate moves while confronting the hilariously looking Braden.
At this point already, I didn’t have the power to laugh so I watched the whole circus with amazement.
Speaking of fights involving unusual opponents, it is necessary to describe the fight between the sexy Cathy and the tiny lovely Kane.
Yes, a fight intended to be serious and to fit in the plot. Can you imagine that?!
Make no mistake that it is crazy to see how a sexy hot woman and a short 6-year-old Japanese kid perform martial arts sequences and stunts that can rival even ‘Boone: The Bounty Hunter’.
If you are wondering why the good Cathy dares to attack the innocent Kane, there is a logical (I know it is hard to believe) reason for that.
The Silver Ninja Braden has the ability to hypnotize people by using his ridiculous flashing electronic eyes that make him look like a pathetic cartoon character.
Cho himself, besides the fact that he can catch arrows with his mouth, ears, teeth, and other parts of his body is also able to catch glasses of coffee without spilling it, milliseconds before the glass touches the floor. Seriously?!
Abra Cadabra…. Another ninja superpower that he is gifted with is the skill to spit nails in the faces of his enemies.
Let me repeat that in italics: He can spit nails in the faces of his opponents.
Yes, to spit them with the intention to kill.
Perhaps, this skill is somehow related to the fact that he is wearing eyeliner, which makes him disturbingly look like Cleopatra.
One of the main wise quotations from the movie is Cho’s words to his partner Dave stating that only a ninja can stop a ninja. It is one of the laws of the universe. Period.
Meanwhile, Cho’s little son Kane continues to amaze everybody with his strength and stamina by beating up till death a big, tall and fat Japanese with a Ninjago who is probably twelve times his size.
Isn’t that hilarious?
If you already think that every ounce of logic has been destroyed many scenes ago, then wait for the final one on one fight scene between the two ninjas Cho and Braden.
It is epic and legendary.
Based on the movie facts, it took two weeks to shoot because of its complexity, many pyrotechnics, and special effects.
There is so much to say about this one that I may have to write three or four articles to describe how wildly unreasonable it is.
I’ll just mention that the scene is a participant in a fan contest for the worst fight scenes ever and it can be found on Youtube.
Both men fight on the top of a skyscraper using their unlimited amount of hidden weapons, which they hide in their ninja outfits.
Braden even possesses some kind of a burner weapon that shots fire.
At the very end, the blood literally spills like from a fountain, giving this action-packed circus a brutally surrealistic end, thus nailing also the last nail in the coffin where the logic lies dead from a long time ago.
The unrated release of ‘Revenge of the Ninja’ includes a major goof – a scene in which Braden heavily bleeds and it is visible that the blood splatters from a rubber tube.
That is also why, this version is much more popular – because it is even more absurd and as we can see this is somehow possible after all.
‘Revenge of the Ninja’ with Sho Kosugi and Keith Vitali is a triumph.
It is a legendary achievement in the b-action genre and it is the last movie on earth that one could miss.
It delivers unparalleled fun with its generic execution and yet it amazes with the quality of the martial arts sequences, skillfully performed by the likable characters.
If you want to laugh as hard as I did, then just go ahead and watch it. It’s a no-brainer.
Did you laugh as hard as I did while watching this flick? Leave a comment below!