Enter the Ninja was The Cannon Group’s big attempt to cash in on the martial arts movie craze that had dominated action movies since the mid-’70s and the new public fascination with Ninjas thanks to the famous novel The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader. Important Italian star Franco Nero, who would be heavily dubbed and dubbed, Menahem Golan made a corny action movie that’s hard to take seriously, but also a lot of fun. Notably, it introduced the world to Sho Kosugi, a true Japanese martial artist who plays the film’s antagonist. He would be elevated to hero status when the film had two loosely related sequels, ninja’s revenge and Ninja III: Domination.
For Cannon, this would set the tone for the next five years, where the company would enjoy colossal success making small-scale action movies, like delta strength, blood sport, and more ninja movies, like American Ninja. Their downfall would come when they poured money into misguided projects that failed (Superman IV: The Quest for Peace), and by the end of the decade they would be mostly extinct.
Even still, enter the ninja is action and exploitation cinema at its most entertaining, if not “best”. It’s not a great movie, but it’s super fun, especially if you drink a few beers and watch it with friends. We’ll tell you all about it in this week’s Reel Action, which is written and narrated by Travis Hopson, and edited by EJ Tangonan.
If you want to know more about Cannon Films, check out Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films!