Ninja III: The Domination (1984)

Ninja III: The Domination

Ninja III: The Domination (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laughable attempt to fuse martial arts and the paranormal with ridiculous results in the final entry of Cannon’s initial series of ninja flicks from the early 80s.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

This review was written 29 years too late

Ninja movies reached a wider audience in the 1980s when budget-movie kings the Cannon Group produced first Enter the Ninja and then Revenge of the Ninja – both starring Sho Kosugi. By the time of this third instalment, the US interpretation of the ninja format seemed to be in place, and Ninja III delivers in poor quality spades.

Fight sequences are typified by reverse footage shots to simulate incredible leaps; sword-play is none too gory; acting abysmal; plot meaningless; logic non-existent – yes, this is what you got with Cannon’s ninja output, but Domination takes it to a whole new height of, at times, enjoyable nonsense.

Lucinda Dickey, she of Breakin’ and Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo, if you recall, is phone engineer Chrissy who spots a stumbling, injured man while up a telephone pole. Climbing down, she finds dying and bloodied the “Black Ninja” assassin whose spirit passes into Chrissy. From then on, a possessed and ninja-powered Chrissy sets out to kill all the people who did the original ninja in.

Standard revenge nonsense, then, given a few degrees of twist by employing the supernatural and a Kunoichi – a female ninja. What hope this plot ever had is underdone almost immediately in the most ridiculous opening fight sequence you’ll ever see. The Black Ninja, hired to kill a scientist on a golf course, rather than use his myriad skills of stealth and secrecy, instead jumps out of a bush where a poorly driven Titleist is buried in the rough and crushes said ball in front of his victim’s bodyguards. Despatching everyone around him, he then simply, er, runs away and gets chased by police cars and helicopters. So much for silent killing and legendary stealth.

The law eventually corner him and shoot him more times than Sean Connery gets it in The Untouchables, but he manages to escape by tossing a smoke bomb to the ground. Hey, Black Ninja, I’m no expert but maybe you could have done that while you were running away from the police instead of once they trapped you? Just saying, is all.

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A possessed Lucinda Dickey – you can tell she’s possessed by the dubious eye makeup

And so it goes on. One poorly executed fight scene after another; a half-arsed seduction by the admittedly lovely Lucinda Dickey and the decidely un-lovely Jordan Bennett as the cop smarming over her; various home appliances including a video game getting possessed and taunting Chrissy forcing her to dance to dreadful 80s pop to blot out the supernatural happenings; the arrival of Sho Kosugi from Japan, wearing an eyepatch the size of a frisbee to sort things out; dreadful, dreadful music – it really does not end.

This film is relentless in its delivery of trash in every form – I’d really urge you to see it.

Watch the trailer to get a sense of what to expect:

 

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