| Martial Arts thrillers | US | Cannon Films |
The wacky world of Cannon Films kicked off a craze for Ninjas back in the early 80s when martial arts supremo Shôichi Kosugi, a wizard with his weaponry, karate, judo and kendo was discovered by karate legend Mike Stone who pitched him to Cannon producers Golan and Globas. His acting chops and knife chops breathed life into their lacklustre newly-acquired production house with the trilogy that went on to gross $13 million and kick-started their road to fame and fortune.
Although the three films are not connected by a common narrative, Kosugi stars in all three in different roles: ENTER THE NINJA (1981) – directed by Menachem Golan and stars Franco Nero, Susan George as couple whose estate occupies oil-rich land in the Philippines as they find themselves under siege from a ruthless oil magnate.
Sam Firstenberg takes over the helm for REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983) stars Keith Vitali, Virgil Frye, and Kane Kosugi and the action moves to Japan where Chozen “Cho” Osaki (Sho Kosugi) home is attacked and his family slaughtered by an army of Ninjas (is there a collective word for these warriors?). Only his mother (Grace Oshita) and his son, Kane (Kane Kosugi) survive, leaving Cho to revenge the attackers. After a showcase showdown he moves the family to Salt Lake City, where, in a bizarre twist, he runs a doll gallery with the help of his American business partner and friend, Braden (Arthur Roberts) – also a Ninja. But Braden’s gallery as a front for his drug-dealing business and the dolls contain heroin. Cho has another battle on his hands.
The final film NINJA III: THE DOMINATION stars Lucinda Dickey, Jordan Bennett, David Chung and James Hong and moves into the realms of the paranormal when an evil Ninja attempts to avenge his own death by possessing the body of a sexy aerobics teacher.
Fantastic rubbish but well made and performed and addictive to fans of the marshall arts phenomenon. MT
OUT ON DUAL FORMAT DVD\BLU COURTESY OF EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA | 25 JANUARY 2016