Thursday, December 12, 2013

American Samurai

In the mid 80s, a film called American Ninja emerged, exposing Americans for the first time to Japanese martial arts culture. Seven years later someone said, "American Ninja... American SAMURAI!" And that's the movie they decided to make. 

The year was 1992. Cool stuff hadn't been invented yet, but fortunately CGI had also not been invented yet, so everything in this movie is REAL. When the main character pulls a bullet out of his gut, it's REAL. Or it might as well be. Though, sometimes when the scene cuts away, that wound isn't even there. It's the paradox of conventional FX.

I am deep in thought. I am a samurai.
This is the story of white man named Andrew, who was raised by a Japanese samurai master after after his mother and father were killed when their plane crashed in Japan, leaving the infant the only survivor. Despite this, Andrew has no Japanese accent and doesn't appear to speak Japanese. He was raised in English by a Japanese father, and his adoptive brother, Kenjiro (Mark Dacascos), also lacks the ability to speak his native tongue.  You may know Dacascos as the Chairman from Iron Chef America (SPOILER: He's not really a Chairman).
Mark Dacascos knows good eating.
Andrew was taught all of the essential samurai skills, and manages to master the elusive Samurai Sixth Sense, which Kenjiro can't even do, so the father declares that Andrew is his true heir and gives him a magical sword. Kenjiro is fucking pissed, calls Andrew a round-eye, and flashes his big-ass yakuza tattoo and he's all like, "Fuck you, dad!"
I'm all like, FUCK YOU DAD!!!!
Suddenly, it's five years later and Andrew wakes up to his apartment being burglarized by four or five heavily armed men who are trying to steal his sword, which he keeps in a glass case above his fireplace or something. After a brief but intense battle, Andrew winds up shot in the gut, which causes him to lose consciousness but gives him a psychedelic vision that his evil brother is trying to steal his sword.
He comes to consciousness and realizes it was all a dream. His brother isn't trying to steal the sword... he's already stolen the sword. 
Hi-yah! This is not my real sword, but it is my real package.
Hey, don't you think this movie could use an attractive female character? Well, one shows up and goes with Andrew to Turkey for some reason. She has red hair and she fights with Andrew all the time, like a meager rendition of Han and Leia. They fall in love.
"I'm sorry I couldn't find a screen cap of your face, but it's obvious you are hot."
Yata yata, the girl gets captured and Andrew has to agree to fight in a gladiator-style tournament against weapons masters, martial artists, a Texan with a big knife, a viking with a horned helm and battle axe, and, you guessed it, Kenjiro who is using the sacred family sword!
Tex-ass! Kans-ass!
I'm not going to tell you who wins, but there may be a reason this film is not called Kenjiro.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I ded

All in all, a pretty interesting and absurd watch, though parts are boring and it feels kind of rushed. Especially recommended if you have a high tolerance for bullshit and a love for stupid action. 


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