Plot: Cole (Franco Nero) has studied under a ninjitsu master, honing his skills and learning the deadly ways of the ninja. He is a westerner, which causes some of the other students to dismiss his accomplishments, but the master still presents him with his license to ninja. Once he leaves the school, he pays a visit to his old friend Frank (Alex Courteney), who runs a sizable ranch and has a beautiful, spunky wife named Mary Ann (Susan George). Cole is able to observe that a local thug known as The Hook preys upon local merchants and land owners, bullying them into paying protection fees or signing away their properties. But The Hook is just a henchman for Mr. Venarius (Christopher George), who seeks to exploit the local land for oil and profit off the locals however he can manage. When Venarius sets out to take Frank’s land, Cole stands up to the thugs and proves to be a serious thorn in the side of the operation. But when an elite ninja assassin (Sho Kosugi) is brought in, will Cole be outmatched at last?
Entertainment Value: The magic of The Cannon Group brings us Enter the Ninja, which features Franco Nero as a ninja. Yes, middle aged Italian action legend Franco Nero is a ninja here, which is reason enough to watch. The story has Nero earning his ninja stripes against the wishes of some of the other ninjas, then trying to protect some locals from a crime boss, only to be confronted by a ninja assassin. The narrative is simple, but it works and is elevated thanks to colorful characters and a dynamite cast. In addition to Nero, we have Susan George, martial arts icon Sho Kosugi, Christopher George as an odd crime kingpin, and Zachi Noy as The Hook, who lights up the screen. The movie is slow at times, but the cast ensures it remains fun to watch. Nero isn’t a martial arts expert, but the fight scenes entertain, which is what matters. There is certainly some camp value here and I see that as a positive, anything to add to the fun. I do wish the final battle was more involved, but the closing scene is fun and effective. Enter the Ninja is an action movie that has some questionable choices, but they work in terms of entertainment, so genre fans should have fun here.
No nakedness. A good amount of blood, though no graphic violence. We have almost the full arsenal of ninja weaponry, with kills via throwing stars, sai, katana, blow dart, bow & arrow, claws, clubs, staffs, and more. Some of these kills offer some nice blood, but others are just clean and efficient. And of course, we have hand to hand combat as well, with a nice focus on breaking necks at times. The Hook even gets into the action, using his hook hand to tap a guy’s ball bag in one scene. A couple decapitations are present, but one is off screen and the other proves to look cool, but be a fake out. Not a river of blood, but some fun violence and action. Christopher George is a highlight of the dialogue here, playing an over the top villain who always feels the need to shout every single thing he says. He yells at his underlings and he loves to yell at ninjas, so it works out well. Most of the characters are pretty colorful and the cast makes the most of the writing, so some solid exchanges here. Especially if you like tough guy talk from a bad ass like Franco Nero. Nero as a ninja is pretty wild and the colorful cast adds some wackiness, so this is a little crazier than the typical ninja adventure.
Overall Insanity: 3/10