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?

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  • 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

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American Ninja: Ninjas in the 80s

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Jackson: Have you ever heard of ninjutsu sir?
Colonel Hickock: What’s that?
Jackson: The secret art of assassination.

It’s a well-known trope that pop culture ninjas, like pirates, are nothing like their real-world counterparts.  While there were indeed ninjas, they were assassins rather than warriors who chose to blend in, use underhanded weapons, and kill when the victim was least suspecting it.  Unlike the samurai, the ninja were seen to have no honor nor great status.

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American Ninja: Review

Justin’s Review: ninja1If you were to intentionally create the most stereotypically 80s action movie today, there’s no way you could top what’s already been done in American Ninja.

Largely responsible for the elevation of the ninja to near-mythical status, American Ninja is a hodge-podge of admittedly better 80s films, including The Karate Kid, James Bond, and probably anything to do with Chuck Norris.  Yet it pushes so hard the ninja aspect that instead of being mediocre today, it’s actually endured as a cheesy cult classic that features genuinely enjoyable (if ridiculous) action.

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The Office: Season Two review

Office_Season_2As lackluster, short, and — let’s face it — nearly irrelevant as season one of The Office was, the decision to pick it up for a 22-episode second season was as surprising as it was fortuitous.  Maybe it was Steve Carrell’s charisma that convinced the network to do so, but good decision, boys!

I consider the first episode of the second season to be the “real” start to The Office.  A lot of work went into rethinking characters and getting into a comfortable groove, and the employees of Dunder Mifflin that we know and love today emerged as a true ensemble force here.  And looking over the episode list, I’m amazed at the sheer quality of hilarious stories that are packed into this season, which is why it propelled The Office into a “must watch” type of show.

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The Office: Season One review

os11There’s a sort of hipster shibboleth that you’re supposed to claim that the two-season British original of The Office was, hands-down, the best.  Say that, and you’re in with all of the cool critics.  While it was sort of funny, I never warmed to it the way that I have since latched on to the American version, which I now consider one of my most favorite TV series of all time.

I guess I won’t be invited to their snooty parties.  That’s fine with me; I’d rather be hanging out with Jim, Dwight, Michael, Pam, and the rest anyway.

I’ve seen the entire nine-season run of The Office several times through now, as it’s one of my constant “comfort foods” in my TV time.  Sometimes I even listen to episodes in the car, because by now my brain can fill in the visuals.  The delightful mix of insanely awkward moments, sincere emotion, and hilarious corporate antics have always made me feel that I’d gladly get a job at Dunder Mifflin if it was with people like these.

So let’s go through the seasons, one at a time, and see the evolution of the characters, the company, and the show.

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