After passing a ninja master test in Japan, Cole visits a war buddy in the Philippines. He helps him fight men, who want his buddy's plantation.After passing a ninja master test in Japan, Cole visits a war buddy in the Philippines. He helps him fight men, who want his buddy's plantation.After passing a ninja master test in Japan, Cole visits a war buddy in the Philippines. He helps him fight men, who want his buddy's plantation.
In addition this also happens to be the film that propelled its REAL star (an actor who was actually playing the role of the movies main villain!) to super stardom literally overnight (if only for a modest while) and made him forever synonymous with such roles. Who was this actor? Well it was of course the legendary Sho Kosugi!
While ninja had previously reared their heads on a number of occasions in western cinema, (probably most famously in the classic James Bond outing 'You Only Live Twice') THIS was the film that really catapulted them into the movie going publics eye. Such was the demand for ninja themed shenanigans following this films initial release that producers Golan-Globus were sagaciously swift to rush two sequels into production, namely The Revenge Of the Ninja (probably THE seminal 1980's ninja flick) and the sadly embarrassing Ninja 3: The Domination, again, both starring Kosugi (albeit in the more welcome role of the good guy)
But enough of the history lesson ..what of the quality of the film being reviewed here I hear you cry? Well as it happens, it's rather solidly entertaining stuff!
Franco Nero plays Cole, a westerner who through hard work and determination has against all odds (not to mention certain persons wishes) ascended to the top ranks of his ninja clan. Traveling to the Philippines to visit an old friend Cole finds that his deadly skills come in mighty handy when he is forced to stand against some local hoodlums. (In a morally ambiguous subplot he also manages to sleep with his best friend's wife but we won't go there ..!!!)
In fact these hoodlums are merely puppets belonging to a much larger crime syndicate headed by a particularly ruthless boss (the always fun to watch Christopher George hamming it up wonderfully!)
Seeing that Cole is laying waste to his plans, the crime lord takes drastic measures and hires Cole's old nemesis from Japan (Kosugi) to take care of him.
Inevitably the two ninja must square off at the films climax with only one left alive by the final credits but which one shall be triumphant? Well you can probably guess ..
Aside from the odd casting of Nero in the lead (a great actor in his own right but woefully miscast here owing to the fact that he has blatantly no martial arts skills whatsoever) it has to be said that this is a great movie and is intrinsic viewing for fans of the genre.
Of course the main attraction here though, is undoubtedly Kosugi himself, who succeeds in carrying a wonderful silent air of extreme menace in every single scene he appears in, in addition to entertaining us with some excellent martial arts demonstrations.
- May 2, 2006