27th Mar2013

‘Ninja III: The Domination’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lucinda Dickey, Sho Kosugi, Jordan Bennett, David Chung, Dale Ishimoto, James Hong | Written by James R. Silke | Directed by Sam Firstenberg

After the body of a sexy bouffant-haired telephone maintenance engineer – who is also and aerobics instructor on the side – is possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja, she begins systematically killing (using her new-found ninja skills of course) the officers responsible for the ninja’s death and can only be stopped by another ninja!

One of the campest, yet coolest, of the 80s ninja movies, Ninja lll mixes the becoming played-out at the time Ninja genre with something akin to The Exorcist in a film that epitomises all that is great about 80s B-movie cinema and all that was great about Golan-Globus and Cannon Films, whose demise, in my opinion, has left a huge blot of the movie landscape.

Like many movies of the 80s, Ninja lll features all the cliches of the decade: 1980′s cheesy electro-pop music, dance sequences a-plenty, and enough neon to light up two major cities. But what you don’t expect from an 80s movie, or ANY movie for that matter is a love scene in which a woman seduces someone by invitingly pouring a can of V8 tomato juice down her top. Yes, V8… Picture that for a minute. Got it? Yeah, it’s as weird a scene as you think. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this film.

If it’s not V8 tinged love scenes, it’s floating ninja swords, an over-abundance of smoke and arcade machines playing themselves,writer James R. Silke and director Sam Firstenberg really do throw every wacked-out crazy idea into this film and bizarrely it works – mainly due to the enigmatic central performance of Lucinda Dickey, who easily and believeably switches from tough telephone worker, sexy aerobics instructor, bad-ass ninja, and possessed “monster”.

Dickey is so committed to her role that she somehow makes every scene, no matter how bizarre, work and nowhere better does she bring believability (did I just write that?) to her character than when she becomes possessed by the ninja spirit. You really do believe this buff aerobic instructor can kick as much ass as a well-trained ninja – it’s just a shame the majority of Dickey’s ninja scenes are doubled by MEN! Sadly Sho Kosugi, who appeared in the previous (and unrelated) ninja franchise movies Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja, is completely underused in Ninja lll, popping in and out of the movie for the majority of the films running time, until finally confronting and exorcising Dickey in the films climax. Of course this being Kosugi he brings the same gravitas to what amounts to merely a cameo as he does to his starring roles, which is why he’s such a legend in the genre.

Ninja lll: The Domination is one third ninja movie, one third Flashdance, one third The Exorcist and 100% awesome! If you’re a fan of ninja movies or cheesy 80s movies (as I am) then Ninja lll is most-definitely made for you.

Ninja III: The Domination is available on DVD and Blu-ray now via Amazon.de. Shout/Scream Factory are set to release the film in the US on June 11th.

**** 4/5

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