I Dream of Ninja
Like most other kids, when I was asked what I wanted be when I grew up I never hesitated with my answer. Ninja. (Much like Robin and Renee, I’m sure.) And, bless their hearts, my parents inexplicably supported this dream. Otherwise normal and caring people, they approved of their 11 year-old son’s obsession with throwing stars (shurikens, for those in the know), a blow gun, grappling hook, hand and foot claws (to climb the side of the house), tabi socks (the ones with the split toe) and nunchucks (foam, since one tends to smack oneself in the face – a lot - while practicing). An 11-year old’s nominee for parents of the year? Yes. Competent caregivers in the eyes of the law? No. Honestly, one trip to the house from Child Protective Services and I would have been shipped off to some Mormon family in Utah.
Ultimately, though, the ninja career didn’t pan out, and I, like most abortive ninjas, went to law school. No longer a faithful servant to the ancient art of assassination, I now get my fix through the woefully underappreciated genre of ninja movies. (Frankly, I believe the ninja movie should have its own Academy Awards category, although, I’m quite certain that Dame Judy Dench would, somehow, still manage to snag a nomination each year). Hence, for the uninitiated, I’d like to profile two of the all-time greatest. Enjoy with someone you love.
“American Ninja” – For those who prefer their ninjas to have a vaguely surfer quality, this is the movie for you. Starring Michael Dudikoff, it tells the gripping tale of Joe Armstrong, a young felon turned soldier who singlehandedly fights off a small army of ninjas who have kidnapped the general’s daughter. I’d explain more but there isn’t much point. The draw here is simply Dudikoff. Picture James Dean with crazy martial arts skills and you’ve pretty much got it. (For those needing more Dudikoff, I highly recommend “American Ninja 2: The Confrontation” which features a mad scientist who engineers an army of mutant ninja clones).
“Ninja III: The Domination” – I would describe this movie for you, but IMDB has put it better than I ever could: “The body of a sexy aerobics instructor is invaded by the evil spirit of a dying ninja. At first, changes in her behavior is limited to having strange interactions with an arcade game, doing sexy things with V8 juice, and being attracted to an unusually hairy police officer. But soon enough, she's systematically killing, ninja-style, the officers responsible for the ninja's death, and can only be stopped by another ninja!” Seriously, if I was dying and was granted one wish through the Make a Wish foundation, it would be to make this pitch to a movie studio. And the movie completely delivers. It is so eighties-esque that it almost seems as if Joan Collins is donning the black mask and just knocked Linda Evans silly with a pair of nunchuks.