Critic Reviews



Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Boston Globe
3 Ninjas is a skilled balancing act, a throwback to Disney's old live-action family films, starring and targeted to pre-teens. [07 Aug 1992, p.30]
Chicago Sun-Times
Despite the obvious rip-offs of other films, the cartoony, slapstick humor does generate enough charm to pull chuckles from a young audience. But too much of the action - the sword-fighting and basketball stunt scenes, especially - looks distractingly fake. [08 Aug 1992, p.26]
A lively, good-looking kiddie action comedy best left to those under 10. Although their attention may wander, parents can be grateful that there's some substance as well as fun in this Disney release, for martial arts is presented as a matter of defense rather than aggression, emphasizing that it is a matter of mind and spirit as well as body and requiring resourcefulness and discipline.
Miami Herald
The fight sequences are well handled, the three leads are pleasant (and quite good, it seems, at the martial arts) and the violence is bloodless and amusing, with all kinds of cartoon sound effects thrown in to soften the chop-socky violence. If the audience at a sold-out Saturday afternoon showing I attended is any indication, 3 Ninjas delivers the promised action-packed, empty-headed goods. As long as your age is still in the single digits, that is. [10 Aug 1992, p.C6]
San Francisco Chronicle
3 Ninjas is shoddy, violent and numbingly pointless, an action comedy in which three brothers spend their summer practicing martial arts under their grandfather's tutelage. [07 Aug 1992, p.C4]
Brazenly exploitative stuff, stirring in anything which has done the business in kids' movies previously, this, of course, should have its target audience laughing like drains.
The film can't seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be a comedy, a fantasy or an adventure film. Mr. Kingsley's villain gnashes his teeth and snorts, I love being the bad guy. Those who displease him are threatened with the tearing out of a heart or liver. The character ends up being neither scary nor funny, while the boys are so busy demonstrating their superhuman skills that no personalities emerge.
3 Ninjas is basically harmless, but it's not entertaining enough to fully engage adults or the under-12 set -- especially once the popcorn and sodas have been polished-off.
A miserable ripoff of The Karate Kid with three whitebread young-uns taking lessons from their Chinese grandfather on how to be upright and horizontal ninja warriors. They get their kicks trying to knock off a Steven Seagal imitation who is running drugs.
The director, Jon Turtletaub, completely misses the character-driven appeal of the Karate Kid series, and there's no Macauley Culkin in this cast. The movie is saddled with a junky visual style, haphazard editing and occasional out-of-focus shots. Much of it looks like very bad television, although the toilet jokes and a running gag about laxatives and instant diarrhea may be a little raw for the Disney Channel.

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