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                     Americana Film Review
       Enter the Ninja

Starring: Franco Nero, Sho Kosugi,Susan George


 Copyright © Cannon Films 1981




Now if you think Ninja what springs to mind? Of course it's those black hooded individuals running around vanishing in puffs of smoke , only to reappear behind you slitting your throat.

So what is it about these silent assassins that have been constantly rearing their heads not just in low budget action movies but mainstream cinema as well.

Now prior to 1980 Ninja based action films where restricted to the East ,though the odd Western film would have featured these Black clothed individuals, I think one of the James Bond films featured Ninjas ,though I don't think they where called such .

Anyway 1981 and Cannon Film group releases a film starring Franco Nero ( DJANGO) and introducing one Sho Kosugi . Directed by Cannon Executive Menahem Golam the film ''Enter the Ninja '' would start a craze that would see Ninja movies appearing from everyone.

The story is one of a Army Veteran named Cole (Franco Nero) who visits his old war buddy Frank who with his wife Mary Ann ( Susan George ) run a farm in the Philippines . Cole has just returned from Japan having trained in the art of Ninjitsu. It's a story that is repeated in many a film ,Corrupt officials run by rich organizations who have a criminal element .

One such group run by business man Charles Venarius a CEO of a big company wants to buy the land that Frank and his wife own due to the fact they know there's Oil in there hills . Of course there offering a pittance for the property and Good Ole Frank has no intention of selling , but when things start getting rough and their farm workers are threatened if they don't stop working for the farm. Cole's buddy is going to have to fight to keep his land ,thing is Frank has a slight drinking problem brought on partially from the grief he has been getting .

But when Cole steps in on one confrontation things look like they may get heavy as now the Venarius mob start to turn up steam . With Cole's activities bringing hope to his friends things look OK , even some of the farm workers come back due to Cole's intervention . Of course this just enrages Venarius even more and he again turns up the aggression sets about finding out about Cole,.

But Frank and Cole want to find out what so important about the land and it's now that Cole must use his infiltration techniques to find out what the deal is.

Once Cole finds out that the land is worth a lot then they are offering he realizes why they are so persistent in their quest to obtain the land.

Plus also on the other sleeve Venarius has engaged the services of one Hasegawa ( Sho Kosugi) ,Cole's old Ninja Classmate and nemesis ,who now is a Ninja for hire .

This all amounts up to the final battle getting more personal by the minute as our two rival Ninja engage in deadly combat.

Now as I said ''Enter the Ninja'' was the film that really started the ninja ball rolling ,though Franco Nero never returned to the role ,the film gave the world Sho Kosugi ( a real life Ninjitsu Expert) .

What's great about this film is the way that the character of Cole ,doesn't don his ninja outfit every five seconds, many of the fights are very reminiscent of say early Chuck Norris movies .

The film also has a good cast with Susan George ,Christopher George ( Venarius) and Alex Courtney ( Frank).

The fights are well choreographed and give a realistic feel . Of course in the end Cole will don his ninja outfit ( I always find Westerners in Ninja outfits funny ' more so when there big guys and the outfit is brightly coloured.

Enter the Ninja is a good film with some decent action scenes ,the story is one we have all seen before but because of some good cast members it has the edge over some others.

The film inspired the ninja craze with two official follow ups ,Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III 'The Domination both starring Sho Kosugi in the lead , Sho Kosugi also did another three films by another company around the same time to.

  Cannon films also explored the ninja theme again in their series ''American Ninja'' .

This is why ''Enter the Ninja '' gets a well deserved score ,because without this film we might all wonder , what a ninja really is. Now we know 'they kick Butt!

Score out of Ten = A stealthy 8

Sertes Nake

Review Date: 15-07-2011


                        Alternative artwork and covers




                                           Cast and Credits



Directed by Menahem Golan
Produced by Yoram Globus
Menahem Golan
Written by Dick Desmond
Mike Stone
Starring Franco Nero
Susan George
Shô Kosugi
Christopher George
Music by W. Michael Lewis
Laurin Rinder
Cinematography David Gurfinkel
Editing by Michael J. Duthie
Mark Goldblatt
Distributed by Cannon Films
MGM / United Artists
Release date(s) 1981 (USA)
Running time 101 min.


Franco Nero ...
  Susan George ...
Mary-Ann Landers
  Shô Kosugi ...
  Christopher George ...
Charles Venarius
  Alex Courtney ...
Frank Landers
  Will Hare ...
  Zachi Noy ...
Siegfried 'The Hook' Schultz
  Constantine Gregory ...
Mr. Parker (as Constantin de Goguel)
  Dale Ishimoto ...
  Joonee Gamboa ...
Mr. Mesuda
  Leo Martinez ...
Pee Wee
  Ken Metcalfe ...
  Subas Herrero ...
  Alan Amiel ...
Maroon Ninja
  Douglas Ivan ...
Maroon Ninja (as Doug Ivan)

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