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Enter the Ninja - Kino Lorber Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Richard Taylor   
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
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AKA: Ninja I, Посвещение в нинджа, Ninja - A Máquina Assassina, Ninja - drćberen, La justicia del ninja, L'implacable ninja, Ninja: I mihani pou skotonei, A nindzsa színre lép, L'invincibile ninja, Wejscie ninja, Ninja, o Imbatível, Ninja, Die Rache des Ninja, Ninja, die Killermaschine

Directed by:
Menahem Golan
Written by:
Dick Desmond, Mike Stone
Produced by:
Judd Bernard, Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan
Cinematography by:
David Gurfinkel
Editing by:
Michael Duthie, Mark Goldblatt
Special Effects by:
Ben Otico
Music by: W.
Michael Lewis, Laurin Rinder
Franco Nero, Susan George, Shô Kosugi, Christopher George, Alex Courtney
1h 39min

Studio: Cannon
Distributor: Kino Lorber,
MGM Studios

Almost every kid growing up wanted to be a ninja at some point during their childhood. Ninja's looked cool in their black hoods, knew how to jump around and fight and had the best weapons, like swords, nunchucks and ninja throwing stars. The intro to Enter the Ninja is every ninja fans dream. It’s not exactly material for kids, but it’s not the most violent compared to stuff being churned out these days. We see our hero played by Franco Nero (Hitch-Hike) sporting the traditional white ninja garments, fighting his way through an endless gauntlet of ninja foes, welding a kick ass ninja arsenal of weapons. After all the bloodshed, the viewer then realizes it was all just a test and this viewer realized what kind of cheesy and campy movie he has gotten himself into from the start.

The first of a three part series Enter the Ninja is not related to the other films in any visible way except by title, production company Cannon, with producers Menaham Golan and Yoram Globus. The all-star Sho Kosugi, who in this one plays a rather minor role as a ninja villain, but later becomes the lead character in the sequel Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja 3: Domination.
Enter the Ninja was originally intended to be directed by Emmett Alston but duties were later taken over by producer Menaham Golan who was booted from directing Death Wish 2 at the time, as requested by Charles Bronson.

There were also some other strange occurrences in the film such as the dubbing of Italian lead actor Franco Nero's voice to make it sound like an American voice. It was said that in the original versions of
Enter the Ninja, Nero's voice was not dubbed and you could hear his original Italian accent. I've also read that Nero was chosen for this role on short notice. Another martial artist named Mike Stone was in the role but supposedly could not act. Nero happened to be in the right place at the right time in Manilla, The Philippines and was approached by director Golan, even though Nero had no idea about how a ninja was supposed to act. When you watch the movie Nero does look a bit awkward to me; an unlikely candidate for the role in my opinion.

The plot for
Enter the Ninja involves Nero's character Cole, a war vet who has just completed his ninjitsu training. Despite negative attitudes towards him from rival Hasegawa (Sho Kosugi) the sensei passes Cole with flying colors and welcomes him back at any time with open arms. Cole then visits his war buddies farm in the Philippines but all is not well with them -- a corporation lead by a man named Venarious (Christopher George, Pieces) wants the farm land to develop the untapped oil resource it is sitting on. There is lots of kung fu chop-socky action as Nero defeats all of Venarious's goons without batting an eyelash or breaking a sweat. It’s all pretty goofy to watch actually. Finally, Venarious sends for Nero's old rival Hasegawa for the final showdown of ninja versus ninja.

Not to be taken seriously,
Enter the Ninja is not a bad time waster. It’s pretty light material, very cartoonish and campy and not to be taken seriously. One thing I did notice in the movie is actor William Hare, playing the role as Dollars. If any exploitation fans remember Hare played the crazy off the rocker grandfather in the original Silent Night, Deadly Night. "You see Santa Claus tonight boy, you better run! Run for your life!" I also can't figure out what the writers of Enter the Ninja were thinking when they included in the plot for Cole to sleep with his best friend’s wife played by Susan George. I know the dude said he was impotent but he didn't tell him to pork his wife because he couldn't!



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