Plot: A new threat to the United States has risen, a man named Mulgrew (James Booth) who commands an army of skilled ninjas known as the Red Faction. He seems to grow in power as time passes, so a plan is put into motion to send operative Sean Davidson (David Bradley) to infiltrate and take down Mulgrew. He is after all, one of the best agents and martial arts around, so he is a wise choice. He is teamed with his friend Carl, who is a nice guy, but not the best field operative. Davidson asks for martial legends and general bad ass Joe Armstrong (Michael Dudikoff), but he is unavailable, working as a teacher in the Peace Corps. While Davidson has some success at first, he soon finds himself captured along with his allies, including the beautiful Sarah (Robin Stille) who helped them evade detection earlier. With Mulgrew in control and the operatives in imminent danger, it will take more than a miracle to rescue them and stop Mulgrew. It might just take an American Ninja.
Entertainment Value: After skipping the third installment, Michael Dudikoff is back in the fourth volume and of course, instantly raises the stakes. Sadly, he doesn’t appear until about halfway through the movie, so we are stuck with David Bradley, who does his best to tide us over. The story here is flimsy, but does what it needs to and sets up ninja after ninja after ninja. Bradley suffers without Steve James to help shoulder the movie, but he’s not terrible here. Dudikoff returning was a saving grace for this fourth movie, bringing his cold stare and ninja swagger to the table. The movie has effective villains, between the cruel Mulgrew and a one eyed elite ninja, so when the showdown arrives, it unfolds on two fronts and makes for quite a fun finale. The action is plentiful, with a focus on martial arts over guns in most scenes, but there is a good amount of guns and explosions as well. I also love the random Mad Max elements that pop in, adding some unexpected entertainment. I did miss Steve James, but it is awesome that Dudikoff returned, so American Ninja 4 ends up as a fun ride. If you’re into 80s action, ninjas, or good old Dudikoff, check this one out.
Just some man ass in an early scene as far as nakedness, though we do get some cleavage when Mulgrew slaps around Sarah. Not much blood either, just some mild splashes of red in some of the shoot outs. But there is ample violence, with a wealth of ninja action throughout. I love the stealth kills in this one, especially one toward the end where Dudikoff somersaults into a kill, then somersaults back, just awesome stuff. There is a good amount of martial arts action here, with numerous ninjas on showcase, though not as many weapon types as usual. Still, hand to hand is fun to watch, so I can overlook the lack of ninja arsenal. The finale is quite epic, with ninjas, Mad Max style savages, and our heroes all involved in a huge clusterfuck of a brawl. Martial arts, shoot outs, and explosions abound. Not much in terms of memorable dialogue, with even one liners being sparse. There’s some fun villain boasting at times, but not much, so in this case, action does speak louder than words. The strange appearance of the Mad Max folks aside, American Ninja 4 doesn’t offer much craziness. Just good old fashioned 80s style action with that special ninja texture.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
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