American Ninja 5 (Bobby Gene Leonard) 1993

Ah, I have now seen the entire American Ninja series.  My life is officially complete.  Well, it really isn’t but at least I’ve checked one thing off my list.  So what do we do in a fifth installment to kill the franchise.  If your answer was ‘ninjas in space’ you are wrong…this time.  Instead we introduce a kid into the film.  In this case he is some Junior Karate Champion for 1992 or some such crap.  Believe me, it doesn’t make the concept any less annoying.

So I asked in my American Ninja 3 review why they would bring back David Bradley (star of 3 and 4) back for 5 and not have him as Sean.  Instead in this movie his name is just Joe.  After seeing this movie I still have no idea.  I mean, it’s not like there is any good reason why not.  Sean doesn’t die at the end of AN4 or anything.  He doesn’t become disillusioned and quit being a ninja or go into exile or any of that crap.  At the end of 4 he is happy and content with being a ninja and helping people.  The only conclusion I could think of is they had Bradley for another ninja type movie, they figured it wouldn’t sell, so they slapped on the title of American Ninja 5 to draw in some fans of the series.  But looking on IMDb there are no other alternate titles besides the cable TV title of American Dragons.  It just makes no sense.

So anyway Joe is just some dude who runs a karate dojo and is also a ninja.  Some brat kid gets pushed onto him to train for some reason.  Joe’s girlfriend is later kidnapped by terrorists to blackmail some scientist.  This scientist is working on some pesticide which is untraceable and in large enough doses can kill humans.  So Joe and his little buddy have to save his girlfriend and the scientist.  And for STILL unexplainable reasons, our bad guys have hired multi-colored ninjas.

I love this main villain of a ninja.  He dresses up in bright read puffy shirt and cumber bun like some bull fighter then adds a black and red cape to top it all off.  Since when did Liberace become a master ninja?  I know this question is long been asked but aren’t ninjas, I dunno, stealthy?  It’s rather hard to be stealthy when you are one step away from Bedazzling your ninja costume with rhinestones.  He also dies in a rather bizarre fashion.  Our hero throws a lit piece of wadded toilet paper at him and his cape bursts into fire.  Hmmm, yet another reason not to wear a cape I suppose.

Oh, don’t be fooled into thinking Pat Morita is in this movie despite billing.  He shows up for literally two minutes.  Morita drops the kid off, tells Joe the kid is his responsibility, and before Joe gets to ask “Huh? Why? Who the f*ck are you?” Morita literally throws a smoke bomb and gets the f*ck out of this picture.  I am not kidding or glossing anything over.  Morita shows up, says “Hey, take care of this kid for a week” and BAM smoke bomb.  Out for the movie!  What the f*ck!?  Have we got to this point yet?  Are we now explaining away plot holes with the ‘look over there!’ smoke bomb explanation?  Ugh.  Also there is some false advertising on my Netflix cover.  The cover states that Vincent Perez (Crow 2: City of Angels, Queen Margot) is in this movie.  Um no.  VICENTE Perez is in this movie as a stunt man for Ninja #2 according to IMDb.  Thank you Netflix.

I really wish I could talk about the plot but honestly there is none.  Our heroes are just walking along looking for the bad guys base and literally (again with that word) our Liberace villain pops out from a smoke cloud, points, and multi-colored ninjas come out to fight Sean/Joe.  When Joe beats them, the villain pops back out with another smoke bomb.  I swear I am not kidding.  That is how the movie goes.  This is like a film version of Final Fight or something.

Ugh, this movie just hurts.  The action is pure crap.  The ninjas will telegraph there punches and will be dropped with one punch.  The main reason this movie hurts is the buddy relationship between Joe and his kid.  This kid makes Short Round a comic genius.  You will be praying for even a Uwe Boll movie sidekick for better delivery and timing.  He is just painful and you will applaud every time Liberace ninja will smack him.  This is not even fun in an American Ninja cheese kind of way.  This is painful.


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