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American Ninja Blu-ray Review

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“American Ninja” hasn’t aged well.

In “American Ninja,” a not so talkative Army soldier (Joe) with a mysterious past finds himself getting caught up in a dastardly plot involving corrupt military officials, a kidnapped daughter (Patricia) of a Colonel, an arms dealer (Ortega), and Ortega’s private ninja army (yes, you read that right).

Along the way, viewers can expect to see other key subplots involving Jackson (Joe’s army pal), Joe’s martial arts training as a child, and a romance between Patricia and Joe.

When I first saw “American Ninja” years ago, I remember it being a fun slice of 80’s cheese. Rewatching it now, however, the movie isn’t nearly as entertaining as I remembered. The film (which clearly tries to capitalize on the 80’s ninja craze) certainly has no shortage of action as there is a plethora of punching, kicking, gunfire, tire iron throwing, truck chases, explosions, ninja action, hose-fu, motorcycle action, sword fights, testicle hitting, ninja star throwing, and helicopter action. And yet, even with all of that, the movie is largely dull (especially during the middle act). Not only is the action exhausting after awhile, but it’s also rather slow paced. Just observe the chase scenes and see how slow the cars are going.

It doesn’t help that the movie has a rather dull lead in Michael Dudikoff. His character may be a somewhat reckless bad-ass who is not to be trifled with, but Dudikoff has zero personality. Sure, he can pull off the action scenes well enough, but he has very little screen presence.  The only real highlight from the entire cast is the personable late actor Steve James who played Jackson.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The print is a tad grainy, but it’s certainly an upgrade from past releases. The colors definitely look sharper on this release.

Audio Track: DTS Mono. How does it sound? Truthfully, this is a very flat track.

* “American Ninja” trailer.
* “A Rumble In The Jungle”- A great 23 minute making of that contains film clips, in-depth cast and crew interviews, and discussions about Menahem Golan, ninja films, and “American Ninja.”
* Commentary by Sam Firstenberg and Elijah Drenner. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes stories here, but truthfully, the making of is a much more interesting extra.

Overall Thoughts: If you like brainless action movies or have nostalgic memories of this franchise by all means pick this title up. Otherwise, I’d recommend picking up a fun bad action movie like “Deadly Prey” instead.


August 15, 2016 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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