Ninja Mission

Even those people (whoever they are) that flock regularly to every new Ninja movie that karate-chops its way onto our screens have a right to be mad about Ninja Mission.

If you’re going to put a Ninja in your title, at least you ought to deliver some fist-in-your-face martial arts action. This movie doesn’t deliver; the Ninja, in fact, look suspiciously like an afterthought.

So much for the consumer report for martial arts fans. For the rest of us, Ninja Mission has even less to offer, unless your idea of fun is counting the number of extras who get wasted in one 90-minute period.

The body count in Ninja Mission, I believe, tops the count in Rambo. But, since most of the dead are Russian Communist pigs, that’s okay.

You see, this film is not a Ninja film set in the Orient, or even transported to America (as in that memorable opus, Ninja III: The Domination). No, this is an Eastern European spy movie, with a few Ninja thrown in to spice things up.

It’s your basic Cold War scenario: bigshot nuclear scientist wants to defect to the West, but he’s intercepted by the KGB, who disguised themselves as Swedes and pretend to take the scientist to Sweden.

But he’s actually still in Russia, see; the KGB want him to think he’s free so he’ll spill the beans about his new improved nuclear formula (and thus, as one character puts it, “the balance of power between East and West will be destroyed”).

This is where the Ninja—they’re on our side—come in. A crack team (led by Christopher Kohlberg) races to the seemingly impenetrable castle (they’re always seemingly impenetrable) where the Nobel Prize-winner is being kept, and promptly tears the roof off that sucker.

This brings about a lot of machine-gunning, as well as weird claw things that the Ninja attach to their hands so they can disfigure people (nasty, but remember, they’re on our side). These Ninja also have a weapon that will inject the victim with a fluid that explodes when it hits the brain. Not very tidy, but effective.

Thrown into the mix is the scientist’s sexy daughter (Hanna Pola), who performs in a German nightclub wearing a see-through fishnet blouse.

It’s a Swedish-made film, although why the Swedes would want to make a movie about Ninja is beyond me. The oddest thing is, although the movie is dubbed into English, everybody speaks with a fat German accent. If they’re going to go to the trouble of dubbing, why not just get non-accented voices? That doesn’t make much sense—but then what in this film does?

First published in the Herald, September 29, 1985

The film appears to have been released as The Ninja Mission, so I’m missing a word. I remember nothing about this film, not even an image. Director Mats Helge made a series of action pictures during this era, and appears to be a subject for further research, perhaps the Uwe Boll of his time.

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