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American Ninja (1985)

5.2
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 7,992 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 46 critic

American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines.

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(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: American Ninja (1985)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Guich Koock ...
...
Don Stewart ...
Victor Ortega
John LaMotta ...
MSgt. Rinaldo
Tadashi Yamashita ...
...
Pvt. Charley Madison (as Phil Brock)
Tony Carreon ...
Older Colombian
Roi Vinzon ...
Younger Colombian
Manolet Escudero ...
Bodyguard
Greg Rocero ...
Bodyguard (as Gregg Rocero)
Berto Spoor ...
Bodyguard
Michael Hackbart ...
Bodyguard
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Storyline

Joe Armstrong, an orphaned drifter will little respect for much other than martial arts, finds himself on an American Army base in The Philippines after a judge gives him a choice of enlistment or prison. On one of his first missions driving a convoy, his platoon is attacked by a group of rebels who try to steal the weapons the platoon is transporting and kidnap Patricia, the base colonel's daughter, who happens to be along for the ride. Joe rescues Patricia and gets her safely back to the base, but everyone else in the platoon is killed, leading his superiors to conclude that Joe is guilty of cowardice, collaboration or simple incompetence. At the same time, the rebel leader vows revenge against the serviceman who disrupted his plans, and sends an army of ninjas to assassinate him and bring back Patricia. If he wants to survive and save the girl, Joe's going to have to draw on every last ounce of his training. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Orient created the world's deadliest art.Now there's an American master! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Warrior  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All three major cast members of the "American Ninja" franchise starred in three entries of the series. They all starred with each other at least once but NEVER all three in the same film. Michael Dudikoff starred with Steve James in this film and American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987) and with David Bradley in American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990). Bradley starred with James in American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989) and by himself in American Ninja V (1993). See more »

Goofs

The pick ax that a man falls upon during the roadside ambush scene is clearly made of rubber. See more »

Quotes

Shinyuki: The Black Star Ninja has betrayed the code.
Joe: Then... he must die.
See more »

Connections

Followed by American Ninja V (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Mildly diverting '80s action
13 March 2004 | by (Victoria, BC) – See all my reviews

Most people today have forgotten, or just don't know, that AMERICAN NINJA did quite well (for an independent film, at least) when released to theaters, grossing 35 times its 1 million dollar budget. The sequels (that were released to theaters) didn't do as well, the chief reason probably being of Dudikoff's performance. For his first starring role, Dudikoff is pretty underwhelming in the lead. He has a blank expression in his eyes a lot of the time, and other times he seems plain nervous, as if he doesn't seem to know what to do. And it's clear that he was far from an expert in martial arts, seeing that the choreography has him doing pretty simple moves much of the time, and that for the most part he does only one or two moves before the editing cuts to another angle.

Most of the action (with or without Dudikoff) isn't terribly spectacular, and many viewers will probably get a little impatient between action scenes, since the movie isn't wall-to-wall action. Still, the movie never gets to be seriously boring; there are a few decent action scenes, and the goofiness of ninjas bouncing the story around does give the movie an entertaining cheesiness. Plus, there is the presence of Steve James, who (despite his limited time) really gives a likable and entertaining performance, and gets to show his genuine martial arts skills. He got to show more of all this in the sequel, which unsuprisingly is a significant improvement over this entry.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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