Plot: Joe Armstrong (Michael Dudikoff) and Curtis Jackson (Steve James) are teamed up once again, but this time, they’re in a lush, tropical paradise. The place is filled with cool cars, killer waves, and of course beautiful women in bikinis. But all this splendor is just part of the picture, as this locale is also home to some strange incidents. An odd chain of disappearances has military authorities there baffled, as a number of marines have vanished. These are trained soldiers, not exactly easy prey for kidnappers or other criminals. So Joe and Curtis begin to check things out and quickly learn about The Lion (Gary Conway), a powerful drug kingpin in the area with a ruthless reputation. It seems as though The Lion even controls the local police and government officials, allowing him free reign in his enterprises. As they kick ass and take names, Joe and Curtis start to realize there is more to this situation than either of them could have expected. What has happened to the missing marines and can Joe and Curtis put an end to The Lion’s criminal empire?
Entertainment Value: This sequel reunites Michael Dudikoff and Steve James from the original American Ninja, then ups the ante with a wild concept. An evil kingpin is creating his own army of genetically engineered ninjas, which our beloved heroes have to battle. This is fantastic stuff, a perfect fit for this franchise and the story makes it so that action is almost constant here. I know the narrative makes no sense, but who cares? This series is about over the top action and unbelievable acts of badassery, which American Ninja 2 has plenty of both elements. Dudikoff is fun to watch, kicking ass and giving his cold steel stare, while James adds some comic relief, while still kicking ample ass. The villain is like a B movie Bond bad guy, which is awesome. I don’t think American Ninja 2 will win anyone over who doesn’t appreciate the Cannon approach to action movies, but for those who enjoy the American Ninja series and 80s action in general, it delivers and then some.
No naked ladies on showcase, but tons of shirtless guys around. There is a lot of swords and other blades being used to cut down enemies, but almost no blood here. So all slice, no blood in these battles. Even so, American Ninja 2 has a lot of fun set pieces, including the epic finale brawl that spills over the bad guy’s compound. Dudikoff dispatches countless bad guys once again, while he and Steve James seem to have much better chemistry this time around. Of course, Dudikoff would skip the third film in the series, which is a shame. Explosions, ninjas, and tons of fight scenes, just what we want from an American Ninja movie. On the dialogue side, a lot of tough guy talk that’s fun and James has a number of terrific one liners. There’s also a little kid that follows the heroes around and wants his damn five dollars. But James has most of the memorable lines, including saying “Merry Christmas” as he tosses a grenade. The action is wild and the story is quite strange, but given the 80s action spectrum, American Ninja 2 isn’t that outlandish.
Overall Insanity: 2/10