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

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American Ninja: Ninjas in the 80s


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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