Ninja III: The Domination [Blu-Ray] Sam Firstenberg

Ninja III: The Domination [Blu-Ray] Sam Firstenberg
No decade but the '80s could have produced Ninja III: The Domination. Shot in 1984, at the height of the low-budget ninjasploitation boom, this third entry in a loosely strung together franchise is a bizarre and uniquely misguided hybrid formed of disparate intentions. The mawkish result is often unintentionally hilarious. First of all, this is a prototypical bad action movie. As such, the film must fulfill the silly, adrenaline-stirring requirements of the genre; therefore, the movie's opening sequence is comprised almost entirely of death-defying stunts and excessive combat of the most inept kind. However, three pictures in, the studio was looking to shake things up a bit. Around that time, aerobics was all the rage. Chunky, sedate urbanites and suburbanites all over North America were squeezing into tights to shimmy off the pounds, certain their sweatbands would never go out of style and a svelte body would fill the emotional void cocaine couldn't. With the exercise scene thusly fetishized, the idea of casting a hot, young female aerobics instructor as the lead got the studio oldies sweating all the way to their chequebooks. Spunky dancer Lucinda Dickey (of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo fame) was awarded the honour of being objectified and demeaned in the name of entertainment. The idea of a woman being capable of performing martial arts was so foreign to the director that he thought possession via ninja demon spirit was the most plausible workaround. At least Dickey got to push a comically earnest health-conscious agenda alongside quite possibly the most blatant product placement even seen in a movie not called Man of Steel. A scene of the plucky young actress pouring V8 juice all over her neck as an act of sensuality, not long after declaring, "I don't use pop" to a cop with the shoulder hair density to put a Wookie to shame, is trash cinema gold. It doesn't get any better than that awkward ruby necklace ("an excellent source of vegetable nutrition that's essential to your well-being!"), but Ninja III is so tonally erratic, ludicrously misogynistic and casually incompetent that no cinematic garbage glutton will go hungry. The lone special feature included with this Blu-Ray reissue is nearly as appalling as the film. Director Sam Firstenberg and stunt coordinator Steve Lambert recorded a brand new commentary track for the occasion. What a curious duo they are. Firstenberg's stone-aged views on gender haven't softened in the past nearly 30 years and in the history of entertainment, it's possible that nobody has ever been more desperate for acknowledgement than Steve Lambert, zealously pointing out (and taking credit for) every stunt in the movie, stroking his ego to anyone listening. Too bad neither could pull their heads out of their behinds long enough to talk about the sneakily demented synth score by Udi Harpaz and Misha Segal. (Shout! Factory)