Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ninja III: The Domination (Sam Firstenberg, 1984)

What would you say is the best way to impress a white person in tan slacks? Oh, man, that's a tough one. Judging by the easily entertained rabble who attend NBA games on a regular basis, the forcible placement of a ball through a metal ring, or, as it's known on the street, a "hoop," seems to impress them. Yeah, they do love to watch tall black men dunk basketballs. But don't you think crushing a golf ball with your bare hands would impress them even more? Think about it. That little white ball, in a way, represents their testicles. So, in turn, you're crushing their reproductive dreams. Also, the game of golf is a subtle metaphor for evils of white supremacy. I mean, who else but white people could justify such an egregious waste of land? You just blew my mind. Seriously, when the ninja assassin at the beginning of Ninja III: The Domination crushes a golf ball with his hand before dispatching one of his target's body guards, I thought he was merely showing off–you know, look what I can do. But now I realize that he was making a point about the waning influence of white people on the global stage. Okay, smart guy. How about the scene where the assassin crushes a red billiards ball with their bare hands? How do you explain that? That's easy. Since the ninja assassin's spirit has been recently transferred to the body of a white woman, they're obviously making a profound statement about the dangers of  multiculturalism. What the fuck?!? I know, I know, you're going say, "think about it." Well, yeah, think about it. What colour are billiards balls? Uh, um. Exactly, they're a mixture of all sorts of different colours. In other words, I rest my case.
All this talk about crushing balls is making me thirsty. Are you sure that's it as far as balls go in this film? Let me see, the crushing of the golf ball represents white supremacy and the crushing of the billiards ball represents multiculturism, so are they're any other balls? Interesting question. Actually, no it's not. As it's just those balls that are crushed. Thank heavens. Because I don't know how much longer I can refrain from mentioning the  excruciating tightness of Lucinda's Dickey's leotard.
You mean to tell me that you've been blathering on and on about various types of balls being crushed when you could have been waxing semi-poetically about the sight of Lucinda Dickey playing Bouncer (an arcade game from the '80s) in white legwarmers? Is that what you're telling me? I'm afraid so. Then you my friend should be asham...Wait a second, you know what? I'm going to take it easy on you this time. Just promise me that you'll use the phrase "mouth-watering" to describe Lucinda Dickey's spandex-ensnared crotch in the not-so distant future. Why would I use the term "mouth-watering" to describe her, what did you call it? Oh yeah, "spandex-ensnared crotch," in a review about this film? Isn't it about ninjas and junk? Oh, you'll see. Okay, if you say so. Anyway, sure, I promise to use phrase "mouth-watering" in conjunction with a crotch that's been inexplicably ensnared in spandex.
When one of the first things you see onscreen are the words "A Golan-Globus Production" you know you're for a cinematic treat. However, it was the credit "Synthesizer Score by Udi Harpaz and Misha Segal" that got me all in a tizzy. Do I know who Udi and Misha are? Of course not. No, it was the phrase "synthesizer score" that set my tizzy in motion, as I've never seen a movie where the music is listed that way. And since I love synthesizer scores, I was dying to hear what Udi and Misha had to offer as far know, synthesizer scores go.
As the dawn breaks in the desert, a golfer and a ninja were about to collide with one another; a collision that will have a profound affect on the well-being of countless individuals across the greater Phoenix area. The golfer, surrounded by body guards, and accompanied by his wife, is about to tee off, when suddenly, a ninja appears from the bushes. Picking up the errant ball the golfer's body guards were trying to locate, the ninja shows it to one of the body guards before crushing it with his hand. Dispatching the body guards with an alarming ease, the ninja then moves toward the golfer in a menacing fashion. After thwarting his pathetic attempt to flee in a golf cart, the ninja kills the golfer and his wife with his trusty sword.
The ninja's plan of attack was a flawless example of how to properly to kill a golfer (it was stealthy perfection, if you ask me). On the other hand, his escape plan needs a little work. Minutes after taking out the golfer, the Municipal Golf Course is swarming with cops. Killing about thirty of them, including three aboard a helicopter (this is one spry ninja), the ninja (David Chung) is finally surrounded by five cops wielding guns. Blasting him with everything they've got, the cops riddle the ninja with bullets. Yet, after the dust clears, the ninja is nowhere to be found.
Where did the ninja go? Oh, wait a minute, there he is. Staggering through the shrubbery, the ninja stumbles across Christie (Lucinda Dickey), a telephone repairwoman. Well, actually, it's Christie who stumbles upon the injured ninja. On top of being a telephone repairwoman (the kind that climb up and down poles), Christie is a member of the Give a Ninja a Helping Hand Foundation, a non-profit organization set up to help ninjas in need. And judging by the way he's staggering, this is one ninja who could use a helping hand. Of course, ninjas aren't the easiest people to help, so when Christie tries to assist the wounded ninja (who must have been shot over a hundred times), he's a tad standoffish.
Realizing that the shapely telephone repairwoman standing before him is trying to help, the ninja offers Christie his sword. After mumbling something in Japanese, the ninja dies. As she's holding the ninja's sword, Christie starts to see visions of the cops who shot the ninja. Which, as most people would agree, is not something that should be happening; in that, they're not her memories, they're the ninjas. Or are they?
After being questioned at police headquarters, Christie is harassed by a cop named Billy Secord (Jordan Bennett). Hitting on her in an aggressive manner, Christie finally puts her foot down and tells him that she doesn't date cops (you tell him, sister). I don't know 'bout you, but I really dislike this Secord fella. There's something about him that makes my skin crawl.
Climbing telephone poles all day and coming to the aid of wounded ninjas is hard work. So, can you blame Christie for wanting to unwind a bit?  I didn't. And what better way to do so than to play video games in aerobics gear. As the camera pans down Lucinda Dickey's frame, her mouth-watering crotch laughing in the face of the tight layer of spandex currently inundating the smooth nooks and crannies of its forked housing, as she played "Bouncer," a sense of relief washes over me. Why so? Well, I had no interest in watching an action-packed ninja film that shunned Lucinda's Dickey's spandex-ensnared pussy area. Which is what I thought this film, directed by Sam Firstenberg, was going to be; yet another ninja film that fails to cater to any of my freakishly specific needs and requirements. But like I said, those fears were quickly cast aside once we enter Christie's killer pad.  
An inordinate amount of praise has to go to production designer Elliot Ellentuck and set decorator Dian Perryman for the work they did in creating Lucinda Dickey's loft in Ninja III: The Domination, as her place is filled with dozens of unique pieces. Items in Christie's loft that caught my fancy: the industrial spool coffee table, the flight suit by the door, the wind turbine roof vent atop her fridge, the Patrick Nagel poster, the neon signs, the light pink Japanese-style blinds, the vintage lucite table, and, of course, the video arcade game.
You would think that working for Metro Telephone and helping wayward ninjas would eat up most of Christie's time. Think again. A buttery concourse of dimple-free crotches are thrust in our faces as we enter the gym where Christie works as an aerobics instructor. Barking exercise-based language at her students, Christie oozes fitness from every pore. As the lyrically apt "Body Shop" by Dave Powell is doing its best to induce us to sweat on the soundtrack, we can't help but notice that Officer Secord has decided to take Christie's class.
When the class is over, Christie notices four or five thugs harassing one of Christie's female students in the alleyway behind the gym. It would seem that she likes to help out non-ninjas as well, as Christie comes to the woman's aide. If you're thinking to yourself that Christie is no match for these guys. Don't worry, Christie makes short work of them. But get this, Officer Secord was watching as she almost got manhandled by five musclebound gym members. That's right, he just stood there. And to make matters worse, Officer Secord tells Christie that he could have her arrested for assault. What the...If anyone should be arrested, it's you. Um, hello? Dereliction of duty much? I don't care if you were off duty. What kind of man sits idly by and watches an aerobics instructor (one whose tightly packaged crotch brings so much joy to so many) get almost beaten up by a bunch of roided up neanderthals? I'll tell you what kind, the asshole kind.
Despite what I just said, Christie takes Officer Secord back to her stylish pad and has him drink V8 off her neck. I'm curious, did this untoward display cause use to lose any respect for Christie? Not really. I mean, sure, I don't like Officer Secord. But maybe there's more to him than meets the eye. He could, after all, have a nice cock. Yeah, but nice cock or no nice cock, did you see his shoulders? I know, he looks like an ape. And what's with the sleeveless shirts? Seriously. Someone with shoulders like that should never wear anything that doesn't come with sleeves.
If you thought Christie's apartment looked awesome before, wait until you see it when its been bathed in a thick layer of ninja mist. Oh, and don't bother checking my spelling, I said, ninja mist. You know, the mist caused by the spirit of a dead ninja? Anyway, the spirit of the dead ninja from the opening scene wants to live on through the body of, you guessed it, Christie, and does so through his sword.
Beckoning her from her closet, the dead ninja's sword floats around the room for awhile, until finally resting in Christie's hands. And since dead ninjas are famous for holding grudges, Christie must avenge the dead ninja by killing the cops responsible for his death, because she is! She even knows where to find the dead ninja's super-secret stash of ninja goodies. Though, I don't remember seeing a black one-piece bathing suit in the super-secret ninja stash (Christie uses its thigh-accentuating tightness to kill one of the cops and a couple of floozies at a local health spa).
Does this mean Christie is going to kill Officer Secord? After all, he was one of the cops present when the dead ninja was killed. You bet it does. Woo-hoo! That being said, you just know that Officer Secord is going to be the one who stands in the way of her actualization as a ninja. And wouldn't you know it, he's taking her to see James Hong to get a ninjorcism (it's like an exorcism for ninjas) as we speak.
Which reminds me. Check this out, as Christie is taking her one way trip to Lindablairsville (Population: "Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!"), she utters the line, "You fool! Nothing can stop me! I am the nin...ja!" Pretty standard stuff as far as ninjorcisms go, right? Yeah, but get this, Officer Secord then says, "Ninja? I wanna know what that is." Hold the phone, what kind of person doesn't know what a ninja is? Granted, things would be different if it was, say, oh, 1934 (a ninja-less hellhole not replete with ninjas). But this is 1984, and ninjas are fucking everywhere.   
If given the choice between watching Lucinda Dickey work out to new wave music in nothing but white panties and a pink t-shirt, or, say, watching Sho Kosugi (a ninja with an eye-patch) kick orderlies in the face, I will always choose the former. But thankfully, Ninja III: The Domination dispenses both in a manner that I found both tolerable and acceptable. It's true, some of the fight scenes were repetitive, especially the final showdown. But the film's bizarre The Exorcist meets Heavenly Bodies temperament was enough to allow me to look past its cliches, and enjoy it as the dumb action movie that it truly is.
Can you believe that Officer Secord? What's a ninja? Hee-hee. What an asshat. An asshat who is currently lapping up the figurative contents swirling around Lucinda Dickey's mouth-watering crotch. I hate you, Officer Secord. You hairy-shouldered bastard. 

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  1. This movie might be the greatest thing ever. I have no logical basis for that.

    You should check out Cheerleader Camp, the other non-Breakin' movie with Dickey. It's impossibly stupid, in a good way.

  2. Logic is the firstenberg thing to go out the window in this movie, so you're probably not that far off.


  3. I've always stayed away from American-made ninja movies. But this looks just too goofy to pass up. The martial arts (minus Kosugi, of course) look pretty bad, though. But the biggest problem seems to be Officer Second. What a prick!

    If you want to step up to the next level of Japanese occult martial films, there is only one option for your eternal karmic torment: 魔界転送, "Makai Tenshou" (1981), staring Chiba Shinichi (Sonny Chiba), Sawada Kenji. Directed by legendary director Fukasaku Kenji (Black Lizard, Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Battle Royal, etc).

    All of the main characters in the film are based on real historical figures from 17th century Japan! Based on the classic novel of the same name by Yamada Futaro, master of the "ninpoujou" genre of ninja adventure stories. Its got intrigue! Black magic! Slicing and dicing! Naked people! Rebellion! Embittered by his death at the hands of the Shogunal forces following the Shimabara Rebellion of 1638 (which really happened), Christian samurai Amakusa Kyoshiro (played by Sawada) comes back to life (which probably didn't happen) and pledges his soul to the powers of unholy darkness! He then resurrects other legendary warriors from the dead to aid him in his quest to overthrow the Tokugawa government! The only man who can stop him is Yagyu Jubei (Chiba in one of his best roles), fearless master of ninjutsu and head of the Shogunate's spy ring!

    One of my all time favorite movies! I know this is waaaaay outside your usual spandex and stocking-centric film preferences. But this is one of the best things ever. Oh, and don't settle for shitty English dubs. Get the real deal uncut version with English subtitles.

  4. On top of being a prick, Officer Secord's a bit of a stalker as well.

    Makai Tenshou, eh? Yeah, sure; I love Black Lizard. I can't promise I'll do a review of it, but I will definitely watch it. In fact, I'll ask about it at my local retailer this week. Speaking of which, they had a copy of The Great Silence, but it was either stolen or lost. But don't worry, they're getting another copy.

  5. @yum-yum: What a creep. Not only is he keeping her from ninja actualization, he's abusing his police powers for personal interest! Someone contact (or bribe) the DA's office to drop a sting on this dirty pig.

    Honestly, Makai Tenshou is brilliant. It's one of Chiba's best roles and Sawada is wonderful as Amakusa. Scenery is chewed with glee. Fukasaku is really known in Japan for his hard-hitting yakuza films that undercut genre conventions with grimy realism and political commentary. So this kind of atmospheric, gothic period drama just shows his wonderful range as director.

  6. It sounds like you just experienced Ninja III: The Domination. :D

    I saw my buddy at Eyesore Cinema place an order for a copy of Makai Tenshou/Samurai Reincarnation, so it should be hitting my eyeballs in the not-so distant future.