After his family is killed in Japan by ninjas, Cho and his son Kane come to America to start a new life. He opens a doll shop but is unwittingly importing heroin in the dolls. When he finds... See full summary »
After just completing his training at a ninja school, an army vet travels to the Phillippines and finds himself battling a land grabber who wants his war-buddy's property. He must also ... See full summary »
Jason Stillwell, a Bruce Lee fan, is beaten numerous times and trains from the ghost of Lee. Jason then must use his newly acquired skills to save Seattle from a crime syndicate, whose top ... See full summary »
Jean-Claude Van Damme,
NYPD detectives Shepard and Powell are working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder. Meanwhile, something big is attacking people of New York and only greedy small time crook Jimmy Quinn knows where its lair is.
College sophomore Randy Bodek is unfocused. The only thing he knows is that he loves his roommate, Jenny Gordon, who feels unappreciated as other things in his life seem to take precedence ... See full summary »
Joan Micklin Silver
John Peter Macallister was a Korean veteran who, after serving, decided to live in Japan, and, while there, he studied Ninjitsu and became a Ninja. Thirty years later, he learned that he has a daughter, so left to find her. Apparently, though, he can't leave the sect that he is with, because it means that he is now marked for death. He manages to escape, and, upon arriving in the States, he meets Max Keller, a drifter who has a penchant for getting involved with other people's problems and helping them out if he can. Max and Macallister hook up, with Max helping Macallister find his daughter, and Macallister teaching him the ways of the ninja. At the same time, evading Okasa, one of Macallister's students, who is now sworn to kill him. Written by
When Okasa throws a shuriken to the Master, a guard is clearly standing behind him with a gun pointed at him. After the shot of Okasa ducking away, we cut back to the Master but the guard is no longer there. See more »
For fans of Van Clief and indiscriminate fans of anything 'ninja-oriented'
I thought that the first couple of episodes of "The Master" (later released as "Master Ninja I') had some nice moments. Lee Van Clief may have been far too old, flabby, and frail to physically convince the audience that he could be a ninja master (amazing how "he" lost his gut whenever the stunt double stood in for him in the black ninja costume) but he did project a certain old school machismo and he could always deliver a good line. Yes, Demi Moore stuck out like a sore thumb in episode 1, and the wheelchair chick and the dancer from episode two delivered some of the worst lines in the history of television, but still...There were some decent stunts (for a TV series) and some energetic sword fights and a few decent attempts at wry East-meets-West humor. It was never 'great' the way "The Fugitive" was great, but it didn't actively suck...at first. And episode 2 had one great line (even though Van Patten flubbed it): "I knew the Master would find a way to get me up on a tightrope sooner or later." Given the situation, it was pretty funny.
The problem lay in the fact that a) the producers rapidly ran out of ideas after the first few episodes, reducing the show to a buddy version of "Then Came Bronson", and b) Timothy Van Patten's mush-mouthed delivery and frozen faced acting got old quick and c) there was very little chemistry between the two lead actors. Anyone who wasn't a male adolescent with an obsession with martial arts would find very little to interest them, especially since the series producers watered down the 'ninja' content extensively - they seemed to be trying to increase the series' appeal to American audiences, but they only alienated that core element who was only watching the show for the ninja action in the first place.
Especially annoying was the fact that Van Patten was supposed to be some kind of "Tiger Beat" teen-idol and had a different love interest in every episode, but the lack of chemistry between him and his female of the week was apparent even to a blind man. To be fair to Van Patten, the writers put him in some incredibly contrived situations and gave him some very dopey dialog to convey his hipness...I'm not sure Cary Grant could have pulled off some of those scenes.
Although I spend a lot of time thinking about and practicing martial arts, I gave up on this series by episode 4, and every time I checked in on it for a minute or two (as the season wore on) I found even less to keep me going back. It looks like everyone else agreed, and the show sank without a trace. Too bad...but the series was a day late (to cash in on Bruce Lee) and a dollar short (wasn't willing to live up to the potential of its concept).
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