Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985)

Emmett Alston’s IMDB credits are interesting. He started with Three-Way Weekend and New Year’s Evil before making this ninja film, which led to him also making Force of the Ninja and Little Ninjas. Before that, he was the cinematographer on 1972’s occult-themed Moonchild.

Thanks to roles in Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination — all Cannon Films — Sho Kosugi was THE ninja of the early 1980’s. Plus, he starred as Okasa, the villain of the NBC series The Master, going shuriken to shuriken with John Peter McAllister, who was played by Lee Van Cleef.

Our friends at Crown International made this one happen. And Alston finally got his opportunity to work with Kosugi, as he was the original director for Enter the Ninja before Cannon maniac Menahem Golan. That said, this movie wasn’t a revenge effort, as both Golan and co-Cannon crazy Yoram Globus also produced this movie.

Get ready for the adventures of Spike “Lollipop” Shinobi (Kosugi), Steve “Macho Man” Gordon (Brent Huff, The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of Yik Yak) and Jennifer Barnes (Emilia Crow, Hollywood Vice Squad) as they are sent to the Philippines to rescue a bunch of American hostages from a schoolbus. Kosugi’s real-life kids Kane and Shane are among them; they often starred in movies with their father.

As for the bad guys, they include Alby the Cruel (Blackie Dammet, the father of Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis), the insane Dr. Wolf, Rahji the Butcher, Honey Hump and her army of evil lesbians including the twins Woo Pee and Woo Wee, plus several completely evil and adorable small ball punching assassins. Yes, really.

Oh yeah — Woo Wee and Woo Pee run a brother where they promise that all of the women are “sterilized, sanitized and lobotomized.”

While I’m at it, let me tell you — Alby is my favorite bad guy ever right now. He looks like Tom Waits, he’s a Nazi stuck in a wheelchair and he has a monkey henchman. Dammit — this movie has brought back my lust for life!

This is a movie that starts with Kosugi doing sword moves around ballet dancers as if starring in his very own James Bond title sequence. It’s as awesome as that sentence makes it sound.

Let me tell you what — this film is worth the price of the entire Mill Creek’s Explosive Cinema set, where it sits head and shoulders above many of the other films we’ve been watching this week.

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