Sam Firstenberg is no stranger to B-movie fans. One of his first directorial efforts was a personal favorite of mine, “Revenge of the Ninja“. Thankfully, he continued that ninja streak and only took a short break from that genre to film one of the masterpieces of American cinema with “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo“. “American Ninja” was next on his plate, and he took an up and coming actor in Michael Dudikoff and made him a B-movie star. Today I take a look at the sequel – American Ninja 2: The Confrontation!
American Army Rangers Joe Armstrong (Dudikoff) and Curtis Jackson (Steve James) arrive on a small Caribbean island to help the local Marine installation track down some kidnapped soldiers. Along the way, they meet a marine who’s wife has been kidnapped too, and he’s the one who’s been selling out those missing marines!
It seems a wealthy man named “Lion” has moved to a nearby island promising to help research a cure for all that ails the sick, but instead develops a drug that reconfigures human DNA to transform them into ninja. These ninja have all the intelligence of a human being, but their knowledge of attack and survival increase 100%. They are cunning, intelligent and devious. Like a predatory tiger, they feel no pain, and know no emotion but hate. He plans on sending out these ninja so that he can take over the drug world and eventually civilization as we know it. Thank the gods above that Joe Armstrong – the American Ninja – is there to stop him!
So take the original American Ninja, add twice the amount of ninja, a pinch of “not taking yourself too seriously” and a whole lot of pointless ninja on ninja action and you have yourself American Ninja 2: The Confrontation. While the plot is a little thing and weak in substance, it’s surely entertaining. Some of the goofs in this movie are great, one of my favorites is a shot where Dudikoff is getting briefed by his new commanding officer, and the frame is full of Dudikoff’s face, and in the next shot they show him and Jackson walking out of the frame and it’s Dudikoff’s stand in. The dude even looks directly into the camera and has this knowing look in his eyes as to say “Yeah, pretty ridiculous, I know.” I almost wonder if it was filmed after the completion of the movie and Dudikoff was off filming something else, or had a dispute with Firstenburg and company. The only reason I think of is that he wasn’t included in American Ninja 3, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
American Ninja 2 features only the best hand to hand combat, and some katana fighting where the swords were obviously cranked out as quickly as possible so each ninja had one. They must have been cranked out so quickly because obviously didn’t have time to sharpen them, because anytime anyone gets stabbed or sliced with one there is absolutely no blood whatsoever. In fact, I think you’ll see the most blood on screen when someone gets hit in the mouth, and they need to spit it out for effect. This blood-less charade continues all the way until the final confrontation between Armstrong (Dudikoff) and the Bill Cosby sweater-wearing master ninja, (who happens to be Sharon Stone‘s brother Mike Stone – who is inexplicably cast as a Japanese man) Tojo Ken. Some of the best hand to hand combat comes from Armstrong’s sidekick Curtis Jackson, who seems to have picked up some martial arts training since our last movie. So much in fact that he not only holds his own, but he almost seems like he could take down Armstrong – who’s fighting is so good that several times characters infer that he’s “Not Human!”
So, if you can deal with a little humor and some obvious gags thrown into the American Ninja formula, you’ll probably get a pretty big kick out of American Ninja 2: The Confrontation. Think of it this way, if you don’t watch it, you’ll never know where the phrase “This is really starting to get on my tits!” came from! All that, and Larry Poindexter to boot? What a movie! American Ninja: The Confrontation gets 3.5 sweaty fights on the beach out of 5.