At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Dec 15th, 2015 •

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BluRay review by Roy Frumkes

I saw this Kino release with a group, and found myself cringing at the deplorable acting and mediocre stunts in the first half, then being surprised and grateful for the excellent stunts in the second half. When it was over, I asked what the prevailing opinions from my guests were, expecting one and all to be in accord with my assessment, and I was actually taken aback by their reactions. Everyone loved it. They felt that the dreadful non-acting, which derailed me, was high camp ‘80s fun, and that there was never a let-up on the action. One dubbed it the best martial arts film of the 80s.

So I stand corrected.

I met Sho Kosugi and invited him to demonstrate his skills at The School of Visual Arts, while he was in town promoting PRAY FOR DEATH. During my introduction he ran out of patience and leaped up on stage with his cohorts, and I leaped off, scared shitless, since they were all wielding weapons, and we passed each other in mid-air. He then proceeded to perform an elaborate martial arts routine for an amphitheater full of amazed students and fans. It was an amazing show. But I guess what I’m getting at is that Kosugi, like Bruce Lee, was the real thing. He was for the 80s what Bruce Lee was for the 70s.

And here we get Kosugi X 2 since his son Kane gets in on the fun. Kane has a great face, with intense, adult eyes, and watching him scamper under buildings to get away from the bad guys reminded me of Emil Minty – the ‘feral kid’ from the original ROAD WARRIOR.

Stunt Coordinator Steven Lambert enthusiastically hogs the commentary track away from heavily-accented director Sam Firstenberg, probably much to Firstenberg’s relief. It’s a treat being pointed out which ninjas are Lambert, and at which times he actually doubled for Kosugi – a kind of a guided tour through the illusory nature of film. Quite valuable actually.

The BluRay has the intrinsic softness of ‘80s exploitation cinema (probably not the greatest lenses being were used, etc.), but given that, it’s as fine-tuned as possible. ENTER THE NINJA is also available from KINO/Lorber, unrelated in any sense but in the use of the word ‘ninja,’ and in that one Kosugi plays the villain.

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