I am pretty much in the mood of reliving my very early teen age when anything ninja ruled. No, seriously, end of 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, that was the time I (along with a few of my friends) have spent time watching a lot of movies – horrors, actioners, martial arts and talk about ninja fascination – back then any movie with martial arts ruled and ninja movies were the cream of the crop, no discussion allowed! At least for me and my two close friends, we were watching ninja flicks whenever we could lay our hands on. And it‘s great to be able to re-watch them again. It‘s been almost 30 years I‘d seen this kick-ass flick – which I‘m gonna share my thoughts about with you – on a bootleg tape (well, what a surprise back then), courtesy of my luckier friend with a videoplayer, but I could recall almost the whole movie still!
Rewind a few decades forward and I woke up one day longing for those days long gone. So after Rage of Honor, which is not exactly a ninja movie (although we do see two ninjas there and we have Sho Kosugi as a main hero), I‘ve picked up this great movie – probably the greatest ninja movie of all times.
I am not exagerrating. What other movies combines ninjas, Flashdance and Exorcist and still being funny? I think we all would be hard-pressed to come up with anything but this little flick.
Ninja III: The Domination is – you‘ve guessed it – the third entry into the ninja movie field from Cannon Pictures and it‘s just crazy. But crazy good, I have to add. Although with the designation of „3“ and a part of a trilogy of movies along with „Enter the Ninja“ and „Return of the Ninja“, they are not sequels/prequels or related at all, so it doesn‘t really matter if you haven‘t seen previous „installments“. This one has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in it and it works. OK, now, when watching it properly, one can raise quite a few serious questions as to plot holes (well, this movie doesn‘t really have any consistent storyline) and stuff, but who cares? Certainly not me!
So, what we have here? Sho Kosugi, that‘s who! Sho is uncrowned king of celluloid ninjas in my book. No doubt about that, or you will get a shuriken in your head for not agreeing! Although in this one he‘s not the central character (well, not until the very last part of the movie, to be precise).
We have an evil ninja (played by David Chung) appearing from nowhere and killing a rich golfer and his bodyguards, then creating some vacancies in a local police force before being killed (or was he?) in a hail of bullets. Of course, we witness the usual ninja hocus-pocus and WTF? moments, but the reason for it? Nope, you don‘t know and neither do I.
Enter a gloriously looking Lucinda Dickey known from Breakin‘ and Breakin‘ 2: Electric Boogaloo as a telephone lines repairwoman or maintenance technician or whatever the job might be called, and she‘s got possessed by the spirit of the evil ninja, who just can‘t get that Gloria Gaynor song out of his head, but eventually he‘s dead. And Lucinda is messed up from now on.
As a witness, she spends time being interrogated in the local police station, where she met policeman named Billy Secord (Jordan Bennet) who starts to have a crush on her. Well, he‘s not really that bright, because first he doesn‘t move a finger to help Christie in a fight, but later on, when he sees Christie with a ninja sword in her closet, he‘s not really able to get two and two together (it equals 4, by the way), but hey, let‘s blame the script. Apart from that, with his hairy back Bennet wouldn‘t have that much acting role nowadays, but in the 80s? No problem (and thinking about that, we tend to view our society as more benevolent than before? Naaah!).
OK, so few deaths in and enters Sho Kosugi. As with the intention of the evil ninja, we don‘t know neither how was Sho‘s character called to come, we do have a short sequence recalling his experience with the evil ninja, but that‘s all. OK, we do have a little more of plot holes and lapses of logic, but again, I won‘t be the one to complain.
As usual, I won‘t spoil the movie by telling you what‘s gonna happen, you can read it all elsewhere (but I guess you want to watch it, right?), but what‘s definitely worth mentioning is that lovely retro feel. Of course, when this movie was released, it was all current, but now? An arcade machine in the appartment? Fitness outfits, hairstyle, music…all this just breathes the atmosphere like nothing else.
Obviously, the end fight is again from the WTF category, but I guess by that time the viewer is completely adjusted to it (and to be honest, it‘s not even the crazy WTF category of some Asian movies), but one thing is certain – this one is the keeper to be re-watched and appreciated as a true movie gem – even if for the different reasons than the most cinephiles would think.