The Curator of Schlock #96 by Jeff Shuster

Enter the Ninja

(featuring an extra evil Christopher George)

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Not if, but when I realize my dreams of becoming a super villain, I want rest assure any of you potential henchmen out there that I will treat you fairly, and by fairly I mean not kill you whenever it’s convenient. I don’t understand why some super villains kill off their own henchmen. If the hero is holding your number 2 guy hostage, don’t shoot him just to show how ruthless you are. It’s bad for the morale of the other henchmen in your organization.

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1982’s Enter the Ninja from director Menahem Golan…yeah, the same Golan of Golan & Globus (should be a David Mamet play) directed this film. The scuttlebutt is that Menahem Golan wanted to direct Death Wish 2, but Charles Bronson refused to star in it unless Michael Winner was at the helm. So Menahem Golan got Enter the Ninja as a consolation prize.

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Enter the Ninja delivers what just may be the greatest opening credit sequence ever. We get to see a ninja donned in black against a black backdrop showing off all of his ninja moves like prepping a poison dart or twirling sihs around. Then the movie starts and we see another ninja dressed in white start attacking all of these red ninjas and black ninjas, slicing them up with his ninja sword. The white ninja dives off a waterfall and fights another ninja underwater before making his way to some kind of dojo and lopping this old guy’s head off with his ninja sword.

Woah! It feels like they put the last ten minutes of the movie at the beginning, but we learn it was just some elaborate training exercise. The old man comes into the dojo holding a prosthetic head. What? This doesn’t make any sense! I saw his head get chopped off, but I suppose this may be that ninja magic I’m always hearing about. Then the ninja takes off his hood and it’s revealed that the ninja is none other than Franco Nero! That’s almost as good as getting Charles Bronson to be the ninja. Nero has a better mustache! 

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Anyway, Franco Nero is playing a guy named Cole who leaves Japan to visit an old war buddy named Frank (Alex Courtney) who now resides in Manila. Frank and his wife Mary-Ann (Susan George) run a coconut plantation. Apparently, there’s this guy with a French accent (or is it German) and a hook for a hand that’s making trouble for their hired hands. Cole uses his ninja moves on the guy, even managing rip the hook clean off which is kind of gross since all he’s left with is a bloody stump. 

It turns out that the creep with a hook for a hand is working for Charles Venarius (Christopher George), a powerful CEO who wants that coconut plantation for the ocean of oil that lies beneath it. He hires a bunch of local goons who prove useless before sending his second-in-command to Japan to hire a ninja to take care of Cole. That ninja is played by none other than Sho Kosugi.

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Who’s Sho Kosugi? I’m not sure, but he stars in the next two ninja movies I’ll be reviewing this month. Who is Susan George? She starred in Straw Dogs with Dustin Hoffman. What is Straw Dogs? It was a Sam Peckinpah’s first attempt at a romantic comedy.

Five Things I Learned from Enter the Ninja

  1. Don’t get between Franco Nero and his lemonade. 
  2. Don’t pick a fistfight with the guy who has a hook for a hand. He may use it in your sweet spot. 
  3. White suits should make a comeback. They’re so dapper. If you tell a ninja that you just want to talk and he keeps killing all of your bodyguards, guess what? He doesn’t want to talk. 
  4. Dying with honor for a ninja means getting his head cut off. 
  5. t’s amazing what kind of gems you can find on Netflix. In addition to Enter the Ninja, they also have Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College.

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Photo by Leslie Salas

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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