Starring: Shô Kosugi, Christie Ryder, Jordan Bennett, David Chung, James Hong
Written by: James R. Silke
Directed by: Sam Firstenberg
Original Year of Release: 1984
Studio: Cannon Films
Distributor: Scream Factory
Run Time: 1h 32minutes
Full disclosure, I cannot remember if I had ever seen Enter the Ninja or its sequel, Revenge of the Ninja, before. With that being said, when Shout! Factory’s Scream Factory label releases a Collector’s Edition, it is always worth the watch. Having viewed the film, now, I can honestly say it took 52 minutes of watching to realize that the Ninja at the beginning was actually a bad guy. So watching the previous two films might have helped. Then again, when you have a movie that is the third installment of a Ninja franchise, with a lot of things stolen from the film Flashdance (1983) and a pinch of Poltergeist (1982), how could you go wrong?
Cannon Films regular Lucinda Dickey (Breakin', Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo) plays Christie Ryder, an aerobics instructor/ telephone poll line worker who stumbles across a dying Ninja (David Chung). How and why the Ninja is dying is revealed in the first 15 minutes of the film where he kills a few people playing golf (you read that right) and then gets surrounded and gunned down by the police department. The Ninja, wanting revenge on the cops who did him in, transfers his spirit into Christie. Unaware that a deadly Ninja now resides inside her, Christie starts to lose days and has strange bruises whenever she wakes up. What’s happening to her? Thankfully, her new boyfriend, Billy (Jordan Bennett), just happens to be a police officer.
Oh… wait, Billy just also just happens to be one of the police officers who killed the Ninja.
Ninja III: The Domination starts off fine. We see that Christie is a strong independent woman who could handle herself before the Ninja powers and now only more so. What is strange is that Billy starts off as this creeper/ stalker cop who keeps harassing Christie for a date. Before you know it, Christie jumps his bones with a strange V8 (yes, the tomato juice drink) sex scene and they then become a couple. One could say, being that the film is from 1984, that the writer and director were making her a strong female hero and turning the genre on its ear. However, being that Christie is clearly stealing a lot from Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, it's not really anything new.
Another issue, for me, was that I did not know the Ninja at the beginning was a bad guy. So when he wants revenge on the cops for killing him, I was naturally sympathetic to Christie and her dark passenger. It also hurts the film that the two cops, besides creeper Billy, are sleazy in their home lives. So, you root for Christie and the Ninja even more. When the hero of the first two films, Yamada (Shô Kosugi), arrives and we get that flashback, we now have to switch gears on who we are rooting for.
If all this sounds likes a huge mess, I promise you it is. However, your mouth will drop a few times in the first ten minutes with several of the Ninja’s kills on the golf course. At one point, he even throws a Ninja Star with his foot while holding onto a flying helicopter. If that doesn’t get you in front of your TV, how about a video game console that summons a possessed sword to bring forth an evil Ninja spirt? Perhaps a garbage disposal that emits electric blue light as the door to the netherworld opens? Okay, what about a sword that takes out a stereo as the female protagonist jazzercises to extradite the twisted spirit within? Yeah, that did it.
Again, Shout! Factory’s Scream Factory label delivers the goods. Despite this being a 4K Scan, I found the film print to be very of the time. In short, it didn’t look like it was short yesterday, so perhaps the film stock Cannon used preserved a time and a place. Whatever the reason, you won’t see another film like this, again. It is a quintessential Eighties movie where anything goes, including your money (right out the door), but damn it, you'll
love like it for what it is.
Order the film HERE on Shout! Factory.
- NEW 4K Scan From The Original Film Elements
- NEW Interview With Actress Lucinda Dickey
- NEW Interview With Actor Jordan Bennett
- NEW Interview With Producer And Stuntman Alan Amiel
- NEW Audio Interviews With Production Designer Elliot Ellentuck And Co-Composer Misha Segal Featuring Isolated Tracks From The Original Score
- Theatrical Trailer (In HD) With Optional Trailers From Hell Commentary With Screenwriter Josh Olson
- Audio Commentary By Director Sam Firstenberg And Stunt Coordinator Steve Lambert