Enter the Ninja/Revenge of the Ninja: Cannon Classics Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Sep 01, 2017
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Enter the Ninja/Revenge of the Ninja: Cannon Classics Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Menahem Golan/Sam Firstenberg

Release Date(s)

1981/1983 (June 16, 2017)

Studio(s)

Golan-Globus Productions/Cannon Films/MGM/United Artists (Umbrella Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: See Below
  • Video Grade: See Below
  • Audio Grade: See Below
  • Extras Grade: D-
  • Overall Grade: C+

Enter the Ninja / Revenge of the Ninja (Region B - Blu-ray Disc)

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Review

[Editor’s Note: This is an Australian REGION FREE Blu-ray release – ignore the packaging markings.]

During the 1980s, there was one genre that Cannon films seemed to be nailing more than any other, which was action. Throughout the decade, ninja-oriented action movies were all the rage, but the cycle really began with two of the decade’s guiltiest entries: Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja. Neither had much to do with each otherwise plot-wise, but they did help launch the fledging studio into the stratosphere.

Enter The Ninja tells of a westerner named Cole (Franco Nero) who, after mastering the art of ninjitsu, goes back home to visit a war buddy and his wife (Susan George). Unfortunately for them, they’re having difficulties in dealing with a ruthless CEO (Christopher George), who is attempting to scare them off their land for the oil beneath by using any means necessary. Cole takes on the challenge and defends his friends, even against a rival ninja master (Sho Kusugi). Revenge of the Ninja, by contrast, stars Sho Kusugi as Cho, whose family is slaughtered by rival ninjas, leaving only his mother and newborn son alive. The three relocate to the United States where they get involved with a local businessman and import porcelain dolls for collectors. Unbeknownst to them, the business is also a front for bringing drugs into the country while wiping out competing mob bosses along the way.

Although both films received a mixed reception from critics during their initial theatrical outing, they made a decent profit at the box office while also thriving on home video later on. They were also followed up by Ninja III: The Domination, which like its predecessor, had nothing to do with the previous films’ stories. Looking back at them today, they’re mostly comfort food action movies in that you can’t really take them that seriously. The quality of the performances is often straight up cheese (look no further than Christopher George’s death scene), but they offer up just enough story and action to keep you interested, and they don’t really need to be much more than that.

ENTER THE NINJA (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): B-/B/B
REVENGE OF THE NINJA (FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO): B-/B/B

The transfers for each film on Umbrella Entertainment’s single-disc Double Feature Blu-ray release are similar. They’re not perfect, but they’re also naturally-filmic looking. Grain levels are quite thick, sometimes revealing minor compression issues here and there. They’re also stable presentations with slight damage leftover, including speckling and occasional lines running through the frame. The color palettes are mostly unremarkable, but feature decent hues and skin tones. Black levels aren’t thoroughly deep due to the grain, but depth and detail tend to shine through. They’re also appropriately bright with ideal contrast. For both films, English 2.0 mono DTS-HD tracks are available. They’re surprisingly robust at times, particularly when it comes to score elements. Sound effects tend to sound appropriately thin, but dialogue comes through clean and clear, including Franco Nero’s overdubs. No subtitle options are available, but theatrical trailers for both films are present. Unfortunately, the extras from the Kino Lorber Blu-ray release of Revenge of the Ninja aren’t featured, which includes an audio commentary from director Sam Firstenberg and stunt coordinator Steven Lambert, an intro by Sam Firstenberg, and a still gallery.

For fans of 80s action movies, Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja are certainly two films from the era that are worth your time. Although having them on separate discs would have been ideal, this is a nice budget release for someone that’s looking to just see the movies without any of the bells and whistles. And for the price tag, you can’t really beat it.

- Tim Salmons

 

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