Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factorized: NINJA III - THE DOMINATION Blu-ray ""

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Scream Factorized: NINJA III - THE DOMINATION Blu-ray

NINJA III is one of the films for which the descriptor "What the Fuck Movie" was created. It stands as a supreme cornerstone to the "Holy Fucking Shit" Genre. It is a movie for which I have a great deal of affection, but I had all but given up hope it would ever see any kind of proper dvd(let alone Blu-ray) release. The fact that this movie is out there now is quite thrilling to me. It certainly has its cult of fervent followers, but that cult needs to be bigger. More people need to have their minds melted into quesadillas by this glorious piece of other dimensional madness.
Just to sort of set the stage here, be aware that 'ninja fever' was truly a big thing for me in high school. Every boy my age that still loved G.I. Joe thought Stormshadow was a badass and I recall many a sketchy catalog of deadly weaponry(throwing stars being the most popular) being confiscated by school officials from my unsuspecting classmates. Ninja stuff was everywhere, and there were lots of ninja movies to appease us. Our good friends at Cannon Films have brought us tons of great stuff. Their contributions of awesomeness to cinema are innumerable. They had already brought us ENTER THE NINJA in 1981(one of their first productions) and the far superior REVENGE OF THE NINJA in 1983. They had found a way to make ninjas into unstoppable(and often gruesome) killing machines. To me, it was a way to take the dying slasher genre and spin it off into a different, more action-y direction. Martial arts, exotic bladed weapons and blood were the currency of this filmic universe and myself and guys my age totally went for it.
 In the world of NINJA III, folks can't even enjoy a day on the golf course without having a ninja come in and mess it up. This particular ninja wipes out a preeminent scientist, his bodyguards and a whole gaggle of cops.The lovely Lucinda Dickey(of Cannon's BREAKIN' series fame) is doing her best Glen Campbell here and working as a lineman for the county. We first glimpse her hiking up a telephone pole to do a little phone company business. Said business is quickly interrupted when the dying ninja from the golf course approaches her. But of course as most sensible people know, it is unwise to try to assist an expiring ninja as there's always a decent chance that he may expel his spirit into you with his dying breath and you'll end up possessed. And that's what happens of course. Sound like the setup for a 'switch' movie? Well it kinda is. A wacky ninja possession switch movie set in truly wacky 80s universe. Lucinda Dickey does some aerobics instructing on the side, plays arcade games in her apartment, does some kinky stuff with V-8 and also finds herself suddenly able to do some crazy-ass karate shit. She also has lots of weird flashbacks to the ninja's moment of near-death when she encounters certain people. She has lots of hallucinations in general. There's plenty of trippy stuff here, which is where the film gets a lot of its WTF reputation. Lucinda finds herself out of control and on a mission to avenge the death of the ninja by going after all those who tried to kill him. That's the movie in a nutshell. Lots of kicking, slicing, dicing and crushing. But there's just a lot of stuff here that makes you go "huh?" and it's all very entertaining in my mind.

This movie has certainly never looked better. The days of crappy bootlegged VHS transfers are gone and swept away by the rather vibrant widescreen(1.85) look of this release.
The commentary track(featuring director Sam Firstenberg & stun coordinator Steve Lambert) sheds some light on a few things I wasn't aware of. First, I guess POLTERGEIST was a big influence on the movie as it was obviously a sizeable hit right around the time they were making NINJA III. Second, apparently Lucinda Dickey was more or less "discovered" via the casting process of this film and even though BREAKIN' came out before NINJA III, she acted in NINJA III first and the Cannon folks immediately rushed her off to do the breakdance classic(which they finished filming and editing before N3 was released).
As I hope I've made quite clear here, I couldn't be more pleased by this release and I tip my hat to Shout Factory for digging deep and putting out interesting cult items like this via their already amazing Scream Factory arm.

NINJA III is available from Shout Factory: HERE



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