Enter the Ninja

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For the song by Die Antwoord, see 5 (Die Antwoord EP). For all other uses, see Ninja (disambiguation).
Enter the Ninja
Film poster designed by Design Projects, Inc.
Directed by Menahem Golan
Produced by Yoram Globus
Menahem Golan
Written by Dick Desmond
Mike Stone
Starring Franco Nero
Susan George
Sho Kosugi
Christopher George
Music by W. Michael Lewis
Laurin Rinder
Cinematography David Gurfinkel
Edited by Michael J. Duthie
Mark Goldblatt
Distributed by Cannon Films
Release dates
October 23, 1981 (USA)
Running time
101 min.
Language English
Budget $1.5 million (estimated)

Enter the Ninja is a 1981 martial arts film directed by Menahem Golan and starring Franco Nero, Susan George and Sho Kosugi. Production was started in the Philippines with Emmett Alston directing, but when Charles Bronson refused to allow Menahem Golan to direct Death Wish II, Golan, a co-principal of Cannon Group which was producing both movies, took over directing duties of Ninja replacing Alston.[citation needed]


After completing his training of ninjutsu within Japan as a Ninja, an Angolan Bush War veteran by the name of Cole (Franco Nero) visits his war buddy Frank Landers (Alex Courtney) and his newlywed wife Mary Ann Landers (Susan George), who are the owners of a large piece of farming land in the Philippines. Cole soon finds that the Landers are being repeatedly harassed by a CEO named Charles Venarius (Christopher George) in order to get them to sell their property because, unbeknownst to them, a large oil deposit is located beneath their land. After beginning to thwart Venarius' hired henchmen's attempts to bully and coerce the Landers into the selling of their property to Venarius, Cole eventually finds himself facing an old rival from the days of his training – Hasegawa (Sho Kosugi), who was hired by Venarius as an assassin to eliminate Cole. In the midst of these events, an affair occurs between Cole and Mary one evening.



The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics at the time of its release. Considering that all the action stunts in the film were practical and done with specially-choreographed fight sequences, the film was shot with potential dangers. Some critics would point out its occasional campy tone while some praising the production values of the relatively low-budget film.

During recent times, it is criticized for having "cheesy acting" and receives negative reviews at the moment. Despite receiving countless of negative reviews these days, a few critics have managed to appreciate the film and the film has garnered a "cult following". This was the original ninja movie that started the "80's craze". The film was followed by two sequels, the second receiving the best reviews in the series and the last receiving the worst reviews.


Revenge of the Ninja, released in 1983, followed afterwards, with none of the cast returning except Sho Kosugi. Sho Kosugi who would also return in the third 'Ninja' film, Ninja III: The Domination (1984), released a year after.

Home video releases[edit]

The movie had been released on VHS and Beta during the 1980s, but an official US DVD release had long eluded the masses until MGM issued as part of its Limited Edition Collection (a series of manufactured-on-demand DVD-Rs) in October 2011.[1] The film had also been distributed on DVD in the UK by Lighthouse (2001) and Optimum Entertainment (2011). In 2015, the film was released on blu ray by Kino Lorber.


External links[edit]