Directed by: Sam Firstenberg
Starring: Sho Kosugi, Kane Kosugi, Keith Vitali, and Professor Toru Tanaka
Living legend Sho Kosugi portrays the similarly-named Cho Osaki in this classic Ninja Boom outing that helped kick off the aforementioned boom.
Cho is a mild-mannered man living in Japan who is also a ninja. When baddies kill off his family, except for his son Kane Osaki (real-life son Kane Kosugi) the two move to the U.S. to start their lives over again in the face of the tragedy and get on with their doll-selling business. Little do they know that some nefarious men are importing drugs in the dolls. When Kane sees what's going on, it fuels a war between the Osaki's and the drug peddlers. Add to that, there is a traitor in Cho's midst. Will Cho Ninja his way out of this mess and finally have peace?
It's easy to see why this is one of the most popular Ninja titles from the classic era. Sho is at his best here. He says little, but that works in his favor. His son Kane takes after his dad, and nowhere is that better seen than when he fights some schoolyard bullies. Those kids never saw NINJA moves coming their way. Don't mess with pint-sized Kane. Maybe this was the seedling that later sprouted the 3 Ninjas franchise (the first one of which features Prof. Toru Tanaka, as does this film...coincidence?) and, of course, Little Ninjas (1990).
The movie is surprisingly brutal, with ninja stars embedded in foreheads and all, but it's all in good fun. Fun really is the name of the game here, as the simple plot allows for the maximum amount of Ninja action. It's well-shot and everything is very pro. This obviously raised the bar for Cannon Films.
Watch out for the aforementioned Toru Tanaka who is always fun to see, and Keith Vitali of American Kickboxer 1 (1990) fame is on hand as well. This is a great place to start for those unfamiliar with Ninja movies and are looking for a good way to kick off a potential obsession. For further "Sho"-times check out Enter The Ninja (1981). Go Sho!
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett