Stars MICHAEL DUDIKOFF!!!, the late, great Steve James
Plot Ninjas are kidnapping US Marines on some fictional Caribbean island, so two army rangers, Joe Armstrong & Curtis Jackson (Dudikoff & James, respectively), are sent in to regulate.
Highlights The lion’s share of the humor in this flick is born from its poor production and “creative” editing. Punches and kicks are plainly not making contact and the use of weapons are even worse. Much of this could have been solved by slightly different camera angles, but you get the feeling that director Sam Firstenberg was more concerned about the cost of film over getting a shot correct. And I tip my hat to him for that, as things like a ninja being knocked over by a small wood shaft being lobbed at his shins and a building blowing up before a truck plows into it, are hysterical. … When ninja movies are mocked, this is a prime – if not THE prime – example of what they are getting at. Ninjas are almost exactly what stormtroopers are in Star Wars: “Elite” warriors who are easily defeated by the good guys. But unlike stormtroopers, ninjas like to dance around a bunch and not use their strength in numbers. Oddly, when we first see the ninjas, they are waiting in a backroom while local toughs beat up some marines. After said marines are knocked around, the ninjas come in to carry them out. Maybe they were janitor ninjas(?). … Steve James turns in a wonderful performance as the roided-out black dude who hulks his way through action scenes. Yet, as good as he is, Jeff Celentano as Wild Bill steals every scene he is in with his high school theater level acting. “Ninja? What the hell are ninja?” Classic. I never knew “ninja” was the plural form of “ninja.” Thanks, Wild Bill! … American Ninja 2 comes right at you from the beginning with ninjas and never lets up. The action scenes are amateurishly and mechanically choreographed, making every last one of them a splendid romp. … The subtitle of the movie can only be explained as them having a subtitle quota to keep. Either that, or I completely missed the point. … Steel drums galore – because they are in the Caribbean, get it?! … It neatly clocks in at 90 minutes. … The island where the baddies are at is called Black Beard Island. … Michael Dudikoff has a Dylan McKay aloofness that sucks you in.
Drawbacks Being a ninja movie, there is a lack in the variety of action. Most of it is “martial arts.” … No boobies. I am not sure how this got an R rating, as it was after the adoption of the PG-13 rating and there is not any gore, boobies, and I do not recall many vulgarities.
Best Take I wish I could limit it to just one, but it is a draw between: 1. A stunt double being inexplicably used for Michael Dudikoff walking out of an office. 2. After the climatic fight between Armstrong and the head bad ninja has been carrying on for some time, the bad ninja pulls a shot-gun out of his back. Apparently he just had one neatly tucked away back there. And yes, he misses Armstrong multiple times with it.
Justification This is possibly the funniest BAM on the list. With so many painful bad movies out there, this flick sets the gold standard of a funny-bad movie. Nothing was done with any sense competency while making it, but it is ever such a joy to watch. I was afraid that I was recalling this masterpiece too fondly. Fortunately, this was not the case. It brings a smile to my face again, and again. Love that Dudikoff!
Next Up? Carrots improve your eyesight and make you kill better.