Kung Fury. When a mercenary visits his ole war buddy at his farm in the Philippines, he finds himself in the middle of a feud involving greedy corporate types after the land and a squad of assassins more than willing to help them.

 

Enter the Ninja (1981)

The plot is a berserk mix of Shane, Dr. No and Lady Chatterley’s Lover(! )with lots of Ninja action thrown in. Italian superstar Franco Nero heads a surprisingly decent (and decent acting) cast that includes the usually classier Susan George and tv star Christopher George. Nero is charismatic in the lead and handles the stunts well in spite of being dubbed with a Texan accent and being named “Cole”. Alex Courtney as the besieged friend seems to be doing a low rent Hamlet in a subplot that includes an astonishing revelation of his sexual impotence. Even more shocking is Cole’s willingness to help his friend and, specifically, his friend’s sexy, repressed wife in overcoming the sexual drought. As the wife, Susan George game fully plays a woman caught in a crumbling marriage. All this while Cole investigates who the bad guys are and why they want the piece of land.

The script by Mike Stone, Dick Desmond, and director Menahem Golan cheerfully adds a comical villain with a hook for a hand and a German accent as well others who feel like they wandered off a James Bond set. Chris George is threatening as the main a-hole. Even with the overly extravagant name of Charles Venarius. The movie is stolen by real-life martial artist Sho Kusogi as The Black Ninja and Cole’s lifelong nemesis.

The script leaves holes. Like Cole somehow training to be a ninja in addition to his other abilities (they probably accept late admissions). And questions. Like, why do the bad guys enlist ninjas through a talent agency? How, at the climax, does Black Ninja know Cole and the wife enough to kidnap her for him to rescue? Also, how of all the ninjas in the world, did they miraculously find the one who hates Cole the most?

 

 

Director Menahem Golan keeps the pace steady and fairly suspenseful. The cinematography by David Gurfinkel, locations and sets are colorful. The film looks good on a low budget. Golan, stunt co-ordinator Stone and Kusogi stage several excellent fights with good showmanship at the finale.

Enter The Ninja Enter The Ninja was a hit in 1981, leading to squads of ninja-themed films and tv series. It is, despite some crapness, a rewatchable 80’s B-movie schlock classic.

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