Ninjas are the closest things to comic book super heroes that we have ever seen in the history of the world. They can evaporate into thin air, they can destroy entire villages with their bare hands, and they can walk on water. I’ve learned quite a few things from watching Ninja III: The Domination, and one of those things I’ve learned is that a killer ninja can transfer his soul through his sword to another person. One other thing I’ve learned is when those crazy ninja spirits try to take over your body, you might be able to hold them off for a little by practicing aerobics while putting on crappy 80’s pop music that was hastily written minutes before recording – but that’s only because those crazy ninja spirits are just messing with your head. You can never resist crazy ninja spirits.
Ninja III starts off with an evil ninja assassinating a famous scientist and his wife for some unexplained reason (I was initially confused because the guy he assassinated looked nothing like a stereotypical 80’s scientist). What follows is a 10 minute stretch of the ninja running from police, where the ninja kills roughly 40 – 50 officers. When they finally surround him after he takes out multiple police vehicles, including a helicopter, they shoot with him all manner of firearms – including revolvers, shotguns, and an SMG. He actually goes down 3 times and each time he gets surrounded by cops, and each time he gets back up and takes down about 6 cops before they can shoot the crap out of him some more – all just so the last time, he can throw down a little ninja smoke bomb and then disappear into thin air.
Meanwhile, Christie (played by Lucinda Dickey – from Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2) – a local telephone technician – is hard at work when she notices a rustling in the bushes. She goes to investigate and finds a badly wounded ninja who tussles with her for a short time before somehow transferring his soul into her body through his sword. She reports the body of the dead ninja to the police, but doesn’t remember finding him. Shortly afterward, she starts dating one of the police officers, and unluckily for him, every time she meets one of his police friends she has a flashback and the spirit takes over her body and plots it’s revenge.
Thankfully, Yamada (Shô Kosugi) has just arrived from Japan, and he has a score to settle with this evil ninja spirit. He has to figure out a way to draw out the evil ninja spirit, and then fight it to the death in order to save Christie’s life. The only problem is, the spirit may not want to leave her body and in that case, Yamada will have to kill her himself.
Ninja III: The Domination is just plain 80’s-tastic. From the aerobics and leotards to the music and the fashion, this is an awesome window into that time period. Like no other time, the 80’s was the height of the ninja craze, and the notion that the japanese assassin was an indestructable force that could take down 40 heavily armed men in the blink of an eye. To emphasize this, the first 10 minutes of Ninja III are the most awesome ass kicking ninja footage ever caught on film. Those first minutes taught me another thing about ninja’s… When you see someone dressed in a ninja outfit with a sword on his back, the last thing you probably want to do is push him on the chest and say, “What do you think you’re doin!” That’s usually a good way to get a slice down the front of your face.
While there are a lot of life lessons to be learned from this movie, it’s not all a book of never ending knowledge. Between awesome fight scenes, you’ll have to contend with a lot of boring romance, including the most creative use of V8 juice I’ve ever seen. The story itself is a little weak, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t watching a ninja movie because you’re a stickler for plot. A complaint I had is that some of the scenes where Christie is the ninja seem to be uninspired. I was impressed though that they used her for most of her own stunts, or at least they did a good enough job using a body double that was very convincing. My other complaint is a pretty major one – NOT ENOUGH SHO KASUGI! The guy gets top billing in the film, and he doesn’t show up until about 45 minutes in – and that is inexcusable. Don’t deny us the talent of Mr. Kasugi, please.
While Ninja III can be a little ridiculous at times, it still is an extremely entertaining entry in the genre. You also may be asking yourself “Why is it called Ninja III: The Domination?” Well, that’s because it’s a spiritual successor of sorts to Revenge of the Ninja and Enter the Ninja – except they don’t really have anything to do with each other… None of the characters are the same, basically only Kasugi holds those three movies together. With that, I’ll leave you with one last thing I learned from Ninja III – whenever it seems like you’ve killed a ninja, you should kill him again just to be safe. Ninja III: The Domination gets 4 Shuriken’s out of 5.