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I always liked Nero..in spaghetti westerns, giallo movies, even in a ninja movie..So...Ninja??Ninja?????
A Great White Ninja travels to the Philippines to visit an old war buddy only to learn his buddy is being harassed into selling his property. The ninja defends his buddy and his new hot wife from the oil company who is trying to force them off their land. Then he bones his buddy's wife with his permission.
This was a great 80's ninja flick starring Franco Nero. It had everything you could want from the genre; Action, Ninjas, Sex and Violence.
Enter the Ninja (1981) ? 1/2
Franco Nero plays martial arts master faces rival and his own personal vendetta. Choppy in the extreme, though never boring. Followed by REVENGE OF THE NINJA and NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.
One man stands up to those terrorising the locals. It has been done so many times before. This time it has screen legend Franco Nero (dubbed) as the Ninja taking on the scum. Shame he didn't get to give The Hook a good slapping. Some nasty ninja gadgets are used, a lot of sack whacking and a decent showdown and emotional finale. The main bad guy Venarius is a bit of a let down and acts like a campier version of Lionel Blair. Still solid stuff.
With the names of Franco Nero and Menahem Golan attached to the project, Enter the Ninja sounded like promising 80's B-movie fun.
Enter the Ninja is a product of Cannon Films, a company which has a devoted cult following. Any fan of Cannon Films knows that their speciality is low-budget B-movies which are rich in an exploitation nature. They mostly fall into the category of being action films, benefitted by the presence of nudity. So the generic contract of Enter the Ninja is very clear not to mislead viewers into expecting some kind of Citizen Kane (1941) standard of production. And though it lacks the nudity, it has plenty of violence.
The intro scene depicts the title credits rolling while the stuntmen of the film show off their martial arts abilities. This all turns to null when the white-gowned ninja enters and kicks a black ninja across the face in slow motion, and we clearly see no contact whatsoever. Yet the actors continue to pretend that something has happened which is just laughable. Soon after, the film turns into a product of Philippine scenery with actors shouting single words of a foreign language while flailing their bodies around to create the impression of tension. Aside from these shouts, there is not a word of dialogue for the first 10 minutes since the feature is so focused on throwing action scenes into the fray that it doesn't give viewers a second to ask why. The film takes off in an instant without any time for audiences to grasp the context of what is going on, but no sensible viewer is likely to find frustration with this. Enter the Ninja makes it clear early on that it has no major concerns about script or story in its film, and this means that it clarifies itself as having the right priorities from the beginning.
Panned in the contemporary day for its production values, the schlocky low-budget nature of Enter the Ninja is what makes it fun. Those who ignored it to enjoy the film during its original release can look back at it now with a realization that they are one of the best assets to the experience of Enter the Ninja as a camp guilty pleasure. There is an odd sense of humour in the film which adds to this charm, serving to momentarily distract from the serious nature of the story.
When the story actually begins to play out, the narrative proves to be a western one. This presents the combination of western and eastern cultures depicted within Enter the Ninja. The elements of a white-dressed hero taking on a collection of black-dressed enemies is a typical western trope which signifies good vs. evil, as is the premise of a protagonist defending their home against a higher power bent on taking it from them. Using these plot elements as a basis, Enter the Ninja diverts them into a film of Eastern iconography. However, it is far from embodying Eastern traditions of filmmaking since Enter the Ninja could not more clearly be an American 80's film. The cheesy nature of the script and decade-defining musical score make absolute certainty of that, though the former does tend to cause the film to drag on. When not playing around as the B-movie that it truly is, Enter the Ninja simply weaves through its generic plot points. Unfortunately, it becomes clear that there are too many of them to hold the guilty pleasure of the film together. Despite its short running time, the thin plot of Enter the Ninja still manages to feel like it stretches on for too long. There just isn't enough action to justify everything.
However, the action in Enter the Ninja remains engaging. With such a small budget, Enter the Ninja has no room to be spending money on special effects. It relies simply on effective choreography and dedicated work from the cast. The choreography in the film supplies many moments of B-movie fun with all the cool martial arts techniques and weaponry, even if there are clear moments where the attacks don't land or the weapons are revealed to be fake. However, there is a hook. Though the fun nature of the action in Enter the Ninja was enough to kick off a ninja movie craze for the decade of the 1980's, it is easier to pick up on some of the faults when re-examining it in the modern day. Namely, the two major problems are the cinematography and editing. Though there are many wide-angled shots as traditional in action B-movies, there are many shots during the intense scenes which occur too close up for viewers to actually see anything. This doesn't do any justice for the action or add any sense of imagery, so my only guess is that it is a desperate attempt to cover up production faults to preserve the illusion of action.
But even with all its faults, Enter the Ninja does serve as a fair star vehicle for Franco Nero. Enter the Ninja is clearly a thinly-veiled martial arts films along the lines of the kinds that Cannon Films used to propel Chuck Norris to stardom. In that sense, it manages to do the same thing for Franco Nero. It's interesting because the actor is arguably most well-known for his role as the titular hero in the iconic Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western Django (1966), and it's a contrast to see him going from playing a cowboy to a Ninja. What's more impressive is the fact that he really makes as strong effort to pack a punch against his enemies. He may not have the flawless technique of Chuck Norris or the same level of badass attitude, but he proves his physical talents as an action hero by relentlessly taking down every enemy in sight and death staring them with his hypnotic eyes. The film is not a testament to Franco Nero's acting skills since it makes him deliver every line with a monotonous excuse for "edge", but he certainly proves his worth as a martial arts star.
So Enter the Ninja has some fun action moments which manages to work a skillful team out of Menahem Golan and Franco Nero, but with a lacklustre script and problematic cinematography the guilty pleasure ends up more often buried beneath simply sub-par filmmaking.
So terrible it is entertaining.
While not as painfully earnest as Miami Connection or technically inept as Samurai Cop, Enter the Ninja, a film that ironically isn't about ninjas as much as its title would suggest, is closer to those two films in terms of pretty much every single aspect than Enter the Dragon, a film that should sue this film for all it's worth for stealing two-thirds of its title. This isn't the mother of all bad films, but there's still enough so bad it's good value thanks to Franco Nero's hilariously miscast turn and Christopher George's outrageously over-the-top performance. You expect nothing more and nothing less from the very production team that carried over the same craft and expertise they accomplished with martial arts here to arm wrestling in Over the Top.
Full review at http://silverscreenfanatic.com/2015/04/20/what-the-hell-were-they-thinking-68/
who knew Franco Nero would be the greatest white 'ninja' ever!
The quintessential cannon opus featuring a Dubbed over Franco Nero, a top shape Sho Kosugi and a sexy, sexy Susan George. Color coded ninjas run through the woods the white ninja is the good guy and, obviously, better than all dem foreigns. Switch to coconut cliche philippines, complete with white plantation owners, happy go lucky natives with spanish names who organize cock fights and evil white businessmen. Perhaps not the best movie with ninjas of the best Cannon movie, Enter the Ninja is still historically important as the first mainstream cannon ninja production.