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For years Cannon Films has been celebrated for the mad movies they brought to the big screen in the 1980’s. The company’s focus on action films made that decade a crazed series of ever escalating, over the top adventures that often seemed uninterested in coherence and mostly concerned with creating a parade of stunts, violence and explosions. They had great success for a while but nearly every time they stepped away from fistfights, gunfights and car crashes they tended to lose a lot money. One of the biggest financial winners for Cannon was the trio of ninja films they produced from 1981 to 1984 starring Japanese martial artist Sho Kosugi as either the bad guy or the hero and sometimes both! Is there anything a ninja can’t do?

 

To discuss Cannon’s epic ninja trilogy, I’m joined by an old work buddy who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. Brian Smith is a naturally funny guy with a love of exploitation films from the 1980’s and a previously hidden childhood history of wishing he could be a ninja. Luckily for us his creative side has allowed him to focus some of that childhood longing into comedy and we end this episode with his hilarious song about the joys of the ninja arts. You have been warned!

 

Brian and I relate our history with ninja films and our mutual love of the more insane aspects of these strange cinematic messes. With REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983) as our jumping off point Brian tells of his parent’s bad reaction to the opening sequence’s violence. I think we’ve all been there. It can be difficult to move past ‘slaughter your whole family ninja violence’ and allow a young lad the joys of seeing the drowning of scantily clad women in hot tubs. It’s not really a ‘family movie night’ kind of film. We have a good time digging deep into the madness of this mess of a movie that seems only barely held together by racial stereotypes, random action scenes and bad ideas. Thank goodness that some of those bad ideas involve turning the stuntmen loose with the camera crew to create some pretty fun stuff. It may not be a good film but it is an entertaining one.

 

We also spend some time on ENTER THE NINJA (1981) and the even crazier NINJA III: THE DOMINATION (1984) to determine which is our favorite. There is even an unplanned sideroad discussion of Saturday morning cartoons in which we bond over the loss of the great Thundarr the Barbarian. There really should have been more episodes of that show made, dammit! You can email the podcast at thebloodypit@gmail.com or join us over on the FaceBook page. We’ll be glad to hear from you!

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