The Series Project: American Ninja (Part 2)
None of these movies are technically “good,” and yet, overall, they are strangely perfect. I know this is just nostalgia talking, but ninjas provide a certain kind of on-screen magic that just hasn't been offered by any other type of character. Ninjas were, during my childhood, the ultimate badasses. Muscley wrestlers, aliens, action stars, and sword fighter had nothing on the silent grace and goofy awesomeness of ninjas. So consuming them in any form is going to be a delight for me.
Michael Dudikoff may not be playing a very sophisticated character, but he has an ineffable quality that lent Joe Armstrong – and the series at large – an important sense of dignity. Well, as dignified as an American Ninja film can be. David Bradley is fine, but he lacks Dudikoff's stoic edge.
If you're only going to see one, see the second. If you're going to trek through a few, see parts two through four. This is one of those odd instance where I'm going to eschew the original entirely; it's not important enough to know about intimately, and not good enough to see alone. Well, actually there was that cool ninja fight at the end of the first which incorporated a wrist laser. Watch the final fight in the first one, then skip to the second.
But for now, I will big a fond farewell to the American Ninja movies. Shine on, you crazy assassins. Continue to be the lantern of my youth.
Witney Seibold is the head film critic for Nerdist, and a contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly articles Trolling, and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.