Action Movie Fanatix Review: Enter the Ninja

Enter the Ninja banner

Hired Assassins… Human Killing Machines!

Starring: Franco Nero, Sho Kosugi, Susan George, Christopher George, Alex Courtney

Director: Menahem Golan

1981  |  101 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Give him a message for me.” – Cole
“Yeah?  What message?” – random thug
“I don’t like to be followed.  Nevermind, I’ll tell him myself.” – Cole

So after watching Revenge of the Ninja recently, I decided to get caught up on Sho Kosugi movies.  Enter the Ninja is the first part of the unrelated ninja trilogy.

Frank’s plot of land is sitting on an oil deposit and a greedy CEO wants it.  Now he faces mercenary ninjas contracted to kill him.  Lucky for him Cole (Franco Nero), an old war buddy and recent ninja school graduate, shows up and they join forces to defend his land and their lives.

Oh, Cannon Films… how I miss thee.  Simple, ridiculous plots topped off with ample amounts of blood and action.  RIP.

I had to laugh out loud when I saw Cole take off his white ninja mask for the first time.  He’s all sweaty and mustached.  Not at all Asian.  Totally unexpected.

Correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t ninjas have only worn black?  I guess I could see white if they were in some sort of a snowy setting.  But why red???  The opening fight shows a white, a black and many red ninjas fighting through a jungle.  Seems they need to figure out the concept of a camouflaged ninja.

Unfortunately the REAL ninja, Sho Kosugi, isn’t a main character in Enter the Ninja.  This was sort of his coming out party for American audiences.  He did, however, play the part of many of the unnamed ninjas at the beginning.

The fight choreography is pretty decent.  Franco Nero does OK and Sho Kosugi definitely knows his stuff.  The problem is that nothing looks real.  You know that the punches and kicks aren’t connecting and the zaney sound effects don’t help matters any.  The real creativity of Enter the Ninja isn’t in the choreography, it is in the violence.  Somebody spent a lot of time thinking about cool ways to injure and kill.

I have to bring up one of the main bad guys before I wrap this up.  He is known simply as The Hook.  That is, of course, because he has a hook for a right hand.  He’s a short, pudgy, ginger haired and goateed whiny weenie of a bad guy.  The Hook is good for a chuckle or two but that is really it.

As amazing as this all probably sounds it kind of isn’t.  It goes on probably fifteen minutes too long and honestly is rarely exciting.  And on top of that the cheese level is way over the top.  Save for a couple good action scenes and a laugh or two the best thing that came of Enter the Ninja was the introduction of the legend that is Sho Kosugi.

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