5.4/10
12,121
77 user 67 critic

American Ninja (1985)

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

Director:

Sam Firstenberg

Writers:

Paul De Mielche (screenplay), Avi Kleinberger (story) | 1 more credit »
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4,918 ( 1,445)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Dudikoff ... Pvt. Joe T. Armstrong
Steve James ... Cpl. Curtis Jackson
Judie Aronson ... Patricia Hickock
Guich Koock Guich Koock ... Col. William T. Hickock
John Fujioka ... Shinyuki
Don Stewart ... Victor Ortega
John LaMotta John LaMotta ... Rinaldo (as John La Motta)
Tadashi Yamashita ... Black Star Ninja
Phillip Brock ... Pvt. Charley Madison (as Phil Brock)
Tony Carreon Tony Carreon ... Older Colombian
Roi Vinzon ... Younger Colombian
Manolet Escudero Manolet Escudero ... Bodyguard
Greg Rocero Greg Rocero ... Bodyguard (as Gregg Rocero)
Berto Spoor Berto Spoor ... Bodyguard
Michael Hackbart 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Philippines

Language:

English | Spanish | Japanese

Release Date:

30 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Warrior See more »

Filming Locations:

Philippines

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,234,837, 2 September 1985, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$10,499,694
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview in the late 1980s, Steve James said that when he signed on to do this film, he wanted to change a lot of the dialogue, like "no problems, whatever you say, partner." See more »

Goofs

During the roadside ambush, a man falls on a pickax that is clearly made of rubber. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pvt. Charley Madison: Hey! I'm great at that game. Back home in California, I'm like deadly. Hold on, I'll teach you girls how to play.
First Soldier: Yeah. Yeah.
Pvt. Charley Madison: Hey, Buddy, come on. We need an extra guy to even up the sides. Hey, come on.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Scenes that were cut from the theatrical release in order to prevent time restraints are.
  • A scene where Joe enters his room and one of the troopers calls Joe a loser and then shoves him.
  • Jackson asks Joe if he wants to shoot some pool but Joe declines.
  • A scene of the Black Star Ninja and Ortega discussing whether or not the Colonel will change his mind about shipping the weapons.
  • Joe finds a dead corpse in the barracks the same day he gets blackmailed.
  • Black Star Ninja asks Ortega if Joe has any other relatives that's been trained the way of the ninja.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: The Alternate (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Firmly in the "so bad it's good" category
5 November 2015 | by SpoffdarkoSee all my reviews

The title of my review aside, I adore this film.

When American Ninja was released on VHS back in 1986 Ninja fever was rampant. Even in the sleepy little village where I lived in England, every single boy of my age dreamed of being a ninja. The school playground was rampant with us wannabe assassins in duffel coats!

In the aforementioned little village we only had one video shop, I spent weeks and weeks in a state of despair on Saturday afternoons, as we would go there only to see the dreaded "Film on loan" tab attached to the box.

Eventually we finally turned up one afternoon and it was there...With no "Film on loan" tab on it! my life was finally complete and we took it home. My parents were never really into the whole "film ratings exist for a reason" thing. Incidentally, neither were the parents of pretty much all my friends, ahhh...The 80's, these young un's today don't know what they missed.

Saturday evening finally came and American Ninja was inserted into the top-loader...As I sat eating my Vesta curry, My life literally changed in the following 90 minutes, I learned more than any teacher could ever show me at school, Joe was literally a god! This guy could do anything...Beat anyone! Most of my friends had already seen it and we were all finally on the same Ninja wavelength! We practiced Joe's moves, disappeared in a "cloud of smoke" (England gets a lot of fog in Autumn/ Winter) behind the school canteen, jumped over the tyres in the playground as part of our "ninja training school".

Watching it back a couple of weeks ago (now I am 38) It is total crap, but total crap of the highest order. I thought ninja's were actually, you know, supposed to be elite assassins. Here they seem to get away with being pretty mediocre to be fair, they miss the easiest targets, and are usually knocked out by a punch or kick that does not seem to really connect (or even come close in some cases). Joe comes across like he has something stuck up his backside most of the film (maybe constipation?)and the whole thing is just laughable.

But laughable in the best possible way.

Thank you Golan Globus and Cannon films, thank you Michael Dudikoff and Steve James, thank you the guy who did the music.

I am indebted to you all for this slice of my childhood that I can also enjoy now I am a grown-up, albeit in a different but still entirely satisfying way!


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