Every now and then, the good folks at Upcoming Discs think it’s time I receive a little culture in my dreary, work-a-day life. There was the time they thought I could use some sensitivity training, so I ended up with Old Yeller, a film I had avoided for years because of the painful memories of Tommy Kirk gunning down his beloved pet. Sure wasn’t easy. (Bastards.)
I also admit that until I was assigned Gallipoli, most of my understanding of Australian culture had been siphoned from the first two Crocodile Dundee films. Luckily, that one turned out better for me. And then, of course, there was the time they tried to turn me gay by showing the dreamy-eyed Harry Hamlin, in his younger days, playing the wedge between a married woman and her homosexual husband – (hello, Liza Minelli) – in the forgotten Making Love.
(Didn’t work, still straight!)
Well, apparently the time has come for me to kick a little more ass than I normally do, hence my latest assignment, the 10-film set imaginatively entitled Ninja Collection Volume One: 10 Feature Film Set. This release purports to present “the history of the deadly Ninja warriors” for the first time.
Films included: Ninjitsu (ah, the forgotten art); Ninja Hunt (Whewe’s dat wascally ninja!?); Purple Hood Ninja (1 and 2); 17 Ninjas (5.66666667 times better than the 3 Ninjas films of the nineties, with the possible exception of the one with Loni Anderson); Hero of Swallow (don’t get your hopes up); Ninja Power Force (as opposed to a Ninja Power Forward, great if the NBA ever embraces Ninjitsu as a viable offensive strategy); Ninja Kids Phantom (now you can’t see them on your yard); Force (are these starting to sound pornographic?); Golden Ninja Invasion (okay, now I’m really getting worried); and Cyber Ninja (they had the word “cyber” in feudal Japan – who knew?).
Anyhow, I could go in to the plots of each film, but 1) This would be the longest review ever written, and 2) The plots really don’t change. Good ninjas challenge the system, which is usually corrupt. A bunch of people die along the way. In the end, the bad guy gets it. Sometimes there may be a variation, such as Ninjas can turn in to dragons, or other amazingly powerful creatures, via hard training, mad skills, and really crappy special effects, where you can almost see the technician splicing reels together on your TV. Is it a bad time? Absolutely not! Sometimes it hits just the right spot, though I will say asking anyone to sit through ten of these films in marathon form is a little much. (You hearing me, Upcoming Discs!?)
Let’s hope I don’t have to do this again any time soon. In case they do ask me, it’s good knowing everything I need to go Ninja on their butts is right here at my disposal. Haven’t figured out the dragon trick yet, though. If anyone has, hit me up on Facebook. Never hurts to have a little more culture in your life.
I love bad movies as much as the next guy, but this set features little beyond quantity to recommend it. You should never feel like you’re being ripped off shelling out ten bucks (or however much this set is) for ten films. Unfortunately, with no more care than VideoAsia has put in to this release, that’s exactly the feeling you’ll have. Only for Ninja purists, and those looking to sneak attack their bosses. (That’s right, Gino, I’m coming for you!)