American Ninja: Mutoids

Strange observations, weird thoughts, and snarky rebuttals are the domain of Mutoids — Mutant Reviewers’ notated journey through the film of the week.  So what did we notice about American Ninja?


  • This movie really, really needs an establishing text, because I have no idea where it starts out.  Wikipedia says Philippines, and who am I to argue?
  • Brooding loner with fancy butterfly knife skills… we have our lead!
  • Hackeysack is the official pasttime of the US Army
  • Army base doesn’t have its own airport, but must form a protective convoy just to get a single person to her flight.
  • The opening theme is so dang hyper — especially with that trumpet — that it cracks me up

  • So why have a convoy if none of your soldiers are armed and willing to defend it?
  • The bad guys are surprisingly reluctant to use their guns in order for the Army guys to get all martial arts on them
  • Bad female driver.  Very bad.
  • Jack to the FACE!
  • And, of course, a ninja in full black garb watching from the side of the road.  Get a lot of those in the Philippines.
  • Ninjas must do fancy flips when arriving.  So is this a double ambush?  I do NOT envy the paperwork that this will cause when the survivors limp back to the base.
  • Wow, they straight up murdered all of the good guys.
  • I have to say, this is the best first ten minutes of a movie ever.
  • Girls in 80s action movies must be inappropriately dressed for the environment and at all times a complaining shrew
  • How much she whines about him ruining her skirt and shoes while they’re on the run from ninjas for their very lives
  • It’s 15 minutes before our hero says word one.
  • The loving camera pan of his abs and pecs
  • He’s got a really wimpy voice in comparison to his body and moves
  • Watching the medic explain the wounds on the corpses as the work of “ninjitsu: the secret art of assassination” to the colonel is worth the price of admission to this film alone
  • There is no such thing as an American ninja!  Well, except the Turtles and Gymkata and Daniel-san.
  • The girl goes from being an annoying shrew to this bashful teenager in all of one scene
  • Dude, he saved your life from ninjas and all you give him is a cheek kiss?  What’s he gotta do?
  • The army has a strict policy about not protecting its convoys from ninja attacks.  Which is why they sent so many guards.
  • He’s got amnesia!  Of course he does.
  • Everyone should have their own theme song play when they are pointed out in a crowd
  • Why is no one at the base mad at the ninjas who did the actual killing?  They’re genuinely incensed that someone had the guts to fight back on their side.
  • And this, gentlemen, is my secret ninja training camp, where they wear bright rainbow colors as they prance about.  Did I mention that our landscaper is a secret ninja trainer too?
  • The ninja training camp has a large poster of a human skeleton.  Why?  Really, why?
  • Bad guys with horrible accents!
  • Dude, he beat up ninjas.  He IS a bad-ass.
  • This whole fight with Jackson consists of flips
  • OK, the bucket on the head thing was funny.
  • Gotta love that sappy 70s-style love music
  • If these ninjas would only use weapons that come from the past four centuries, they might win a fight or two.
  • You can stab a ninja clean through and not draw a drop of blood on the blade.  This is because ninja are made from soft foam.
  • Coordinated ninja net jump drop!
  • And now a complete rip-off of the truck scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • NOW the bad guys realize that they can use guns?
  • Bad guy stuffed in a barrel, all neat and tidy.  I do not envy him when he wakes up.
  • Feel a little bad for the jail MPs
  • I like how Jackson kicks the assault rifle away from the MP and then raises his hands like, “We cool?”
  • Random exploding jeep
  • Needle to the neck!  Squick.
  • Happiest childhood training montage ever
  • How many ninja weapons do you expect him to take for the final battle?  That’s easily seven dozen or so.
  • Ninjas have an honor code, since they’re assassins and all.
  • That black ninja garb is going to do you a heap of good in the broad daylight
  • Jackson is ten kinds of Rambo crazy
  • Joe and the Black Star Ninja run through the ninja obstacle course, because why not?  It’s there!
  • Riding on top of a tank and shooting bad guys with a pistol is standard Army operating procedure
  • This final battle is so %@$# insane, it’s glorious
  • Every ninja weapon used and then some!
  • And then, just when you think it can’t be topped, ninja wrist lasers.  LASERS.  Well, it was the 80s.
  • Joe tosses Patricia off the roof into Jackson’s arms, because that’s how you deal with love interests.

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