Last week, I really enjoyed the documentary “Electric Boogaloo” about the 80’s schlock-producers Golan & Globus, who created some of the worst and most popular crap of the big-hair decade. It’s a hilarious documentary on just how low those two would go in turning out as many films as possible.
One of the best examples of their fare is 1984’s NINJA III: THE DOMINATION. Filmed in and around Phoenix on what looks like a $100k budget, it’s a laugh-out-loud, crazy blend of film genres that has never been duplicated.
For obvious reasons.
You can hear the producers pitching now. “Let’s take “the Exorcist” and blend that with a Ninja movie…then what else do we need? What’s hot? “Flashdance”, perfect!! We’ll make the ninja a girl who’s an aerobics instructor by night and a phone pole climbing, blue collar worker by day! Then we’ll have her possessed by a Ninja so she can go on a killing spree against all the cops that shot the ninja. GENIUS!!
Lucinda Dickey is our 80’s everygirl, who Golan & Globus were convinced was going to be a HUGE star. She’s attractive in that 80’s girl-next-door way, charming enough, but her acting range is um, limited. (I’m being nice because she’s likeable in a thankless role.)
She falls in love with a Phoenix cop played by Jordan Bennett. I couldn’t tell if he could act, I was so distracted by the amount of back hair he displays every time he takes his shirt off. He makes Austin Powers chest look sparse. We laughed uncontrollably every time he and Dickey started to disrobe and get romantic. Waxing was clearly not a thing in 1984.
Sho Kosugi is the best thing in the movie as the Ninja and he’s merely adequate.
Things to ponder:
• The 80’s aerobics classes are a thing of wonder. I’ve never seen that many shoulder pads and leg warmers in one spot. What the hell were we thinking with the pastels?
• V-8 juice should never be used as a sexy drink to pour on each other. It’s gross. And the opposite of erotic.
• Arcade machines are never frightening, even when demons are shooting lasers out of them along with screaming demon cries and smoke. They’re always funny.
• Dickey took lessons to learn how to climb a telephone pole. If only she’d shown the same commitment to learning how to hold a sword.
Laughable crap on every level, it grossed $7 million against its $1.7 million budget, guaranteeing that Golan/Globus could continue their quest to cover every screen in America with cinematic turds.
This one begs for the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 guys to sit in front of the screen and make jokes for 90 minutes. At least those laughs would be intentional!
NINJA III gets an F.