Revenge of the Ninja
|Revenge of the Ninja|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sam Firstenberg|
|Written by||James Silke|
W. Michael Lewis|
Robert J. Walsh
Michael J. Duthie|
Cannon Film Distributors|
Revenge of the Ninja is a 1983 American martial arts-thriller film starring martial artist and cult actor Sho Kosugi as a ninja trying to protect his only son from a cabal of ruthless gangsters. It is the second entry in Cannon Films' "Ninja Trilogy" anthology series, starting with Enter the Ninja (1981) and ending with Ninja III: The Domination (1984). It was directed by Sam Firstenberg and also stars Keith Vitali, Virgil Frye, and lead Sho Kosugi's son, Kane Kosugi.
In Japan, the home of Cho Osaki is attacked by an army of ninjas, resulting in the slaughter of his entire family except for his mother and his younger son, Kane. When Cho arrives at his estate and discovers the carnage, the ninjas attempt to kill him as well, but Cho, a highly skilled ninja himself, avenges his family and kills the attackers. Afterwards, however, he swears off being a ninja forever and moves with his son and mother to Salt Lake City, where he opens an Oriental art gallery with the help of his American business partner and friend, Braden, and his assistant Cathy.
One night, Kane accidentally drops and breaks open one of the dolls, exposing a white dust (heroin) contained therein. As it turns out, Braden uses the doll gallery as a front for his drug-smuggling business. He tries to strike a deal with Caifano, a mob boss, but Caifano and Braden cannot find common ground and eventually engage in a turf war. Braden, as a silver "demon"-masked ninja, assassinates Caifano's informers and relatives to make him cower down. The police are confused about the killings, and local police martial arts trainer and expert, Dave Hatcher, is assigned to find a consultant. Dave persuades Cho to see his boss and Cho attests that only a ninja could commit these crimes, but refuses to aid the police any further.
In order to avoid payment for his 'merchandise', Caifano sends three men to rob the gallery. Cho happens to walk into the gallery while the thugs are loading the goods in a van, is attacked and responds with hand-to-hand combat. The henchmen escape in the van with Cho in pursuit, but he fails to stop the thieves from getting away. Meanwhile, Braden stealthily arrives to Cho's art gallery to find that it was just looted. Cho's mother and Kane both encounter him; Braden kills Cho's mother, but Kane manages to elude him. Cho, badly mangled, returns to find his mother murdered and his son missing.
In order to finish the last witness, Braden hypnotizes Cathy, who is in love with Cho, to find and bring in Kane. When she recovers her senses, she contacts Cho and informs him both of Braden's treachery and that he is a ninja. Seeing his only remaining son in mortal danger, Cho breaks his devotion to non-violence and makes his way to Caifano's headquarters to stop Braden. In the meantime, Braden finds out about Cathy's betrayal and prepares to have her executed. Kane manages to free himself and Cathy, and the two inform the police.
Braden makes his final assault on Caifano and his organization, killing everyone he encounters. Eager to help his friend Cho, Dave also rushes to Caifano's headquarters but is ambushed by Braden, who mortally wounds him. Cho rushes to help his faithful friend, but the latter dies in his arms. Braden and Cho duel to the death on top of Caifano's skyscraper. After a long struggle, Cho manages to kill Braden and is reunited with his son and Cathy.
- Sho Kosugi as Cho Osaki
- Keith Vitali as Dave Hatcher
- Virgil Frye as Lieutenant Dime
- Arthur Roberts as Braden
- Mario Gallo as Caifano
- Grace Oshita as Grandmother
- Ashley Ferrare as Cathy
- Kane Kosugi as Kane Osaki
The film was originally intended to be shot in Los Angeles, but the necessary permits, police protection, fire marshals and myriad logistics fees would be taking up a bigger and bigger part of the film's budget. The Utah Film Commission was trying to get Cannon Films to start producing films in their state and a representative promised no permits, location fees or union deals as well as lower salaries for local crews. The commission's assurances persuaded Cannon to switch filming to Salt Lake City. The final rooftop fight scene between Kosugi and Roberts took two weeks to film. This was due to the required pyrotechnics, mechanical rigging, safety considerations, elaborate camera positioning (including hanging 20 stories high outside the building), and helicopter shots.
The original theatrical release was heavily cut, as was the VHS. Cho's son's death (shuriken to the forehead) was cut, as were the deaths of three guards at the hands of the evil ninja Braden. Braden's gory death was also slightly trimmed. All cuts were reinserted into the Region 1 DVD from MGM.
The film had a mixed reaction from critics and audiences, currently holding a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has since become a minor cult hit due to its elaborate martial arts sequences and B-movie production values.
The film made $13,168,027 domestically in the United States.
- Maltin, Leonard (6 September 2011). Leonard Maltin's 2012 Movie Guide. Penguin Group USA, Incorporated. p. 1162. ISBN 978-0-451-23447-6.
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- "Revenge of the Ninja". Variety. 1982-12-31. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- "ENTER THE NINJA / REVENGE OF THE NINJA (CANNON CLASSICS) - BLU-RAY - Umbrella Entertainment". Umbrella Entertainment. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Revenge of the Ninja (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2017-07-07.