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Finger Poses, Drugs and Boobies – favorite martial art films pt.3

May 13, 2009

Part of a whole group of posts that have either a little bit to do with jiu-jitsu or not a whole lot. This one is a Bit Off Topic.

My favorite quote in the whole film.

Immediately after watching Karate Kid, my pre-teen eyeballs were given the pleasure of being exposed to – in my humble opinion – one of the most awesome Ninja themed movies of all time.

Revenge of the Ninja starring Sho Kasugi.

This film, along with it’s predecessor Enter the Ninja, Karate Kid and a ton of Chuck Norris movies (The Octagon strongly comes to mind), cemented a romanticized version of Budo centered mainly on ninjas and karate – and led to a watered down, less effective version of Bushido which would eventually in turn coin the term Bullshido – in the minds and hearts of the American public.

Despite the overkill on all things clad in black holding a sword that would soon follow it’s release (Gah, American Ninja),I like to think Revenge of the Ninja is a delightful film. Yes, I think so. It’s all because of Sho Kasugi’s character Cho Tanaka. Despite having the “what’s cooler than cool? ICE COLD!” factor of being a ninja, he is just as vulnerable to pain and loss just like everyone else. Actually, amid the hype that ninjas are “supposed” to be invincible super killers, Sho’s Cho Tanaka is probably the most so-not-invincible and has his share of bumps and bruises.

I remember being shocked while watching the movie and proclaimed out loud “He isn’t supposed to lose! He’s a ninja!”

The action scenes are 80s gory and inspire many “oh that’s gotta hurt” cringing moments. In fact, the violence in the film isn’t “pretty” and does it’s best not to glorify itself – as compared to the artistic Kung Fu choreography of today’s action movies.

This portrayal of violence is again reflected Cho Tanaka’s reluctance to participate in fights within the movie. Of course, with a title like Revenge of the Ninja, when it comes to fighting Cho Tanaka is gonna bring it! And the butt kicking is a’plenty!

On a personal note it’s this movie and Easy Rider that set my geeky pursuits for life. Japanese martial culture (Revenge of the Ninja), motorcycles (Easy Rider), and women (gratuitous nudity involving female breasts in both movies). Sorry. Gotta give credit where credit’s due.

Though released way before I was born, I saw Easy Rider at about roughly the same time as Revenge of the Ninja and I never understood the cultural or drug references (there are drug references in ROTN and I didn’t get that either) but it effected me nonetheless, hey, if it was Scarface in place of Easy Rider I’d probably be a Hip Hop artist.

Ahem. But by far the coolest thing in the whole movie has got to be the finger poses before the final battle. Man, should have seen me, I was doing them finger locks before every athletic activity at recess for weeks hoping they’d power me up. Ha!

With the advent of three new ninja movies – Ninja, Ninja Assassin and G.I.Joe (Snake Eyes vs Stormshadow anyone?) – it’s safe to say that they’re here to stay. Though I doubt they’ll have even an ounce of the awesome-ness that Revenge of the Ninja has.

Honourable MentionThe Master TV series

A series I enjoyed very much – though not as much as the A-Team – it stars Lee Van Cleef of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and The Octagon fame. In fact, I believe if it wasn’t for Mr. Van Cleef starring along side with Chuck Norris in The Octagon then this series would have never perhaps taken off.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 21, 2009 10:00 am

    I enjoyed this article thanks for contributing 🙂 Cheers! Good job!

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