Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where we’re spending the month of April celebrating Menahem Golan and Yuram Globus, the Israeli whackos behind the glory days of Cannon films! This week, we’re examining their 1981 hit Enter The Ninja
What’s The Plot?
Cole, an American who served in the Angolan Bush War, has just completed his ninja training in Japan. He heads to the Philippines to visit his old war buddy, Frank, and gets drawn into a plot by a corrupt businessman to force Frank off his land. To fight back against Cole’s lethally effective ninja skills, the bad guys hire his hated ninja school rival Hasegawa to kill him. It’s a fight to the finish for the life and livelihood of Cole’s friends and those they care about!
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
This film is not just a Golan-Globus production, no sir. This is Yoram Globus producing a film directed by Menahem Golan! Golan is a surprisingly competent director overall, and this is far from the only movie he directed while running Cannon. Interestingly enough, he was not the original director: he felt the first few scenes filmed were boring and the star couldn’t act, so he fired the director and took over himself.
Five Reasons to See It
- Cole is played by Franco Nero, who starred as the title character in the iconic spaghetti western Django. According to the documentary Electric Boogaloo, he was cast because he was the biggest name actor at the Manilla Film Festival when they had to fire the original star (who stayed on as Nero’s stunt double).
- With a few alterations (and even then, mostly to character names), this could be a halfway decent Snake-Eyes vs. Storm Shadow movie. One wonders if Larry Hama saw it in first run.
- It contains one of the best on-screen deaths ever in an action movie.
- For a movie about an Asian martial art and set in an Asian country, Asians sure aren’t very important to the plot.
- “My friend, a ninja doesn’t kill. He eliminates and only for defensive purposes.” – So…a ninja kills people, then?
Is Enter the Ninja a good movie? Well…not on any technical or story telling level, no. It is. However, an enjoyable movie – a big slice of 80’s action movie cheese served up with earnestness and passable technical skill. It is exactly the sort of film that The Miami Connection was trying unsuccessfully to be, and it is good at it.
NEXT WEEK: We take on the movie with a title so ridiculous that its still the standard, even though many people using it as a punchline probably have no idea where it came from: 1984’s Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo!