February 22, 2011

Netflix'ns: American Ninja 4 - Annihilation

Netflix'ns is a series of review shorts of films, new and old, seen on Netflix, be it DVD or streaming. For better or worse, I sat through these films and have lived to tell the tale. These are not so much reviews as just comments on the film watched. Some will be first time views, others will be revisits. This is a work in progress.

I've never seen an American Ninja movie before. I don't think anyway. If I did, it surely did not make much of an impression on me. I do feel that I have seen both Michael Dudikoff and David Bradley before in other low grade action fare, but do not know where. I know, I know, what good am I then. Probably not much, but I am still here. The starring duo strike me as a a low rent Seagal and Van Damme. I'll wait for you to chuckle....

I am serious, back in the 80's these were the guys you went to for martial arts action in America. In any case, this team up of the B-team is incredibly lackluster, and I cannot believe series fans enjoy it all that much. For one thing it is terribly dull, and then there is the bigger crime of lame fight sequences.

The story has a group of commandos subdued by a ninja army. David Bradley (star of American Ninja 3 and 5) and sidekick are enlisted to go in and rescue them. Around the halfway point these guys get caught and the job of rescuing them falls on martial arts expert turned teacher Michael Dudikoff (star of American Ninja 1 and 2) to save both captured teams.

Dudikoff heads in, makes a sword that he neglects to take, enlists some Mad Max rejects and charges into the base of the terrorist with a ninja army, kicks butt, saves the day with a little help from Bradley and it's over.

I don't know, I like cheesy B-movies as much as the next guy, but this really didn't deliver anything. The fights don't look like they are making any contact. The stars have no personalities and David Bradley looks like Eric Roberts. Dialogue is generally laughable. Then there is the vaunted team up that never happens. It is almost like they had two movies, one starring each, and hastily slapped them together with a couple of bits feaurting the two together.

I think you'd be safe giving this one a pass. If you need ninja action, perhaps some Sho Kosugi films?

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