Plot: A golf course erupts in violent chaos, as a ninja targets one of the golfers for assassination, triggering a torrent of martial arts, bloodshed, and clearly more than a few penalty strokes. After the ninja has completed his task, he is then pursued by a small horde of police officers and uses his ninja skills to evade them. On foot, in cars, or on motorcycles, the cops have a tough time heading off the ninja. A standoff leads to numerous bullet wounds for the ninja, a helicopter pursuit, and in a puff of smoke, the ninja disappears. Meanwhile, perky Christie (Lucinda Dickey) is up on a telephone pole engaged in some work related activities, and sees the wounded ninja, so she dismounts to lend a hand. This leads to a supernatural encounter, as the dying ninja passes his spirit into Christie, who is more concerned about being raped than being possessed. But what will the ninja’s spirit mean for Christie, who just wants to dance, chill with her boyfriend, and drink some V8?
Entertainment Value: Now this is a movie. Ninja III: The Domination is pure 80s and pure Cannon Films, a wild and over the top cinematic experience that defies all logic and never fails to entertain. While some cult classics coast on a few memorable scenes or elements, this movie is a nonstop torrent of outlandishness that never relents and goes for broke with the all out craziness. The premise is ludicrous, with threads of The Exorcist and Flashdance blended with martial arts elements, but the end result is eons more insane than even that concept suggests. I mean, there is rarely more than a minute or two without some kind of madness on hand, one of the rare cult classics that over delivers on its reputation. The martial arts action is mostly hokey and over the top, but suits the material to perfection, so no complaints there. The fights aren’t bad, just rushed and surrounded by oddball elements, including one of the strangest finale showdown conclusions I’ve seen. The exorcism scene is quite an experience, but don’t expect much in terms of horror vibes here. But we do have ample 80s vibes, from Lucinda Dickey’s peak 80s persona to the aerobic sequences to the general visual design elements, so fans of that decade will be in a blissful state. I love Ninja III and if it was a religion, I would become ordained to spread its gospel, so for fans of 80s movies or outlandish cinema in general, this is a must.
No nakedness. Lucinda Dickey is an absolute smoke show in Ninja III, but aside from some hot 80s outfits, no sensual content in this one. But there’s so much craziness going on, you won’t even notice the lack of sleaze. At the same time, no one could argue against the erotic magic of the V8 scene, so there’s that. There is a lot of violence in this one, not the most graphic in terms of gore or visceral texture, but still some red stuff splashes from time to time. The usual assortment of ninja weapons are showcased, including a blowgun of course, while there’s also shootouts with both bullets and arrows, as well as some blade wounds. Again not horror style gore by any means, but a steady stream of violence is here and some bloodshed is present. The action in general covers a lot of bases, with martial arts, gun battles, ninja techniques, chases, an exorcism, and intense aerobics all on deck. The dialogue is off the wall and a lot of fun in Ninja III, with Secord as a source of numerous quotable lines, but Christie has her moments and some of the exchanges are just hilarious. The outrageous dialogue is often lost in the shuffle, which makes sense, given how out of control the rest of the movie is, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in this department as well. When it comes to insanity, Ninja III dials up the mayhem and total nonsense to epic levels, the kind of offbeat, inexplicable stuff most cult films could only dream of. A wall to wall feast of unpredictable, totally gonzo cinematic bliss.
Overall Insanity: 10/10
The Disc: After the original release was such a smash success, Scream Factory went back to spruce up their Ninja III game with a new 4k scan from the original film elements, with spectacular results. This is easily the best the movie has ever looked on home video, a stunning visual treatment that exceeded all of my expectations. The print is super clean and has little to no signs of wear, while the fine detail is remarkable, I seriously never thought Ninja III could look this good. Not to mention the vivid, 80s soaked color palette and smooth, deep black levels. This is the kind of presentation fans live for, a cult classic that looks better than ever before. A few new interviews help boost the disc’s value as well, with stars Lucinda Dickey and Jordan Bennett, as well as producer/stuntman Alan Amiel on hand. A new audio interview with the film’s composer is also new, mixed in with isolated tracks from the original score. The other goodies are ported over, with Sam Firstenberg and stunt coordinator Steve Lambert’s audio commentary track, some still photos, and the film’s trailer.