If you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed “The Karate Kid” and “Home Alone,” then “3 Ninjas” is the movie for you! But if you’re over the age of 10. You might want to avoid this movie at all cost.
Those of you not old enough to remember the movie, “3 Ninjas” is a 1992 comedy directed by Jon Turteltaub. I didn’t realize Turteltaub directed this movie until I looked it up yesterday. This is not his finest work as a director, but he definitely improved later in his career with films like “Cool Runnings,” “Phenomenon,” and “National Treasure.”
Anyways, “3 Ninjas” stars Victor Wong, Michael Treanor, Max Elliott Slade, and Chad Power. The film is about three young brothers who learn martial arts from their Japanese grandfather. You see, every year, 12-year old Samuel, 10-year old Jeffrey and 8-year old Michael Douglas (not that one), visit their Japanese grandfather, Mori Tanaka at his cabin. Mori trains his grandchildren in the art of Ninjutsu.
Wait a second, isn’t Ninjutsu the same thing Splinter taught the Turtles? Holy crap,
“3 Ninjas” is a ripoff of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”!!
Ahem, where was ? oh yeah, Mori gives each of kids a new “ninja” name based on their personalities: ‘Rocky’, ‘Colt’, and ‘Tum-Tum’. I understood Colt, but I didn’t really get the other two. Maybe they just wanted something kids in the audience could remember. But even all these years later, these seem like odd choices for names.
I forgot to mention that the kids’ often-absent father is an FBI agent named Sam Douglas (Alan McRae). He’s currently on searching for some missing warheads, but he’s not too happy when he finds out his father-in-law has been ninja training his three kids. You think he’d be happy the boys were learning martial arts, and not out there doing drugs or something.
But dad soon has reason to be grateful for the kids’ training. That’s because one of Wong’s former pupils, Hugo Snyder (Rand Kingsley), turns out to be the ruthless arms dealer who has the warheads. That’s when worlds collide, and the baddie winds up taking hostage the three little ninjas. He doesn’t use ninjas however, instead, he hires three idiots who are there for comedy relief.
I saw “3 Ninjas” at the movies on the last day of summer vacation. Come to think of it, seeing “3 Ninjas” wasn’t even my idea, it was the idea my friend Jason who said we should go. I agreed to tag along, but it wasn’t so much that I wanted to see the movie, but more of a “I need something to distract me” from my impending return to the hell known as Junior High.
The theater was of course packed with kids and their parents who had probably had enough of them that summer. Most of the kids sitting around Jason and Me talked during the entire movie. Normally, this would bother the heck out of me. But seeing a mom asking her son’s friend how he got an M&M up his nose was actually more amusing than anything in “3 Ninjas.”
The movie has plenty of issues: It’s cheesy, the bad guys are a joke, and the acting is pretty bad. There’s something else, but I only saw “3 Ninjas” one time, so maybe my memory is off on this. But I don’t remember either of the ninja’s parents being Japanese. Maybe they were and I just don’t remember, or I blacked it out on my memory.
Regardless, when Jason and I left the theater, we walked to a nearby pizza place. On the way there we ran into my other friend Nick and his younger brother Chris. They were on their way to get haircuts, guess he wanted to look good at school. But when I told Nick we saw “3 Ninjas,” he stopped walking, turned around, and laughed at me. This from the kid who just months before played the Rat King in “The Nutcracker.”
So “3 Ninjas” wasn’t exactly the best way to spend my last day of freedom. But at least I was smart enough to stay way from all the sequels, especially the one featuring Hulk Hogan. I think Loni Anderson was in that one too, which makes me sad as a WKRP fan.