* * *1\2
Directed by: Wang Yu and Dusty Nelson
Starring: Chuck Connors, Cara Casey, George Nichols, and Mike Kelly
There’s a very important Beta tape out there with scientific information that could either save the world, or destroy it, so it’s very important that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. When the tape is stolen by ninjas, The Colonel (Connors) (did you expect a last name attached to that?) sends his two best men, Sonny (Kelly) and Dennis (Nichols) to Taiwan to investigate. It seems a certain Sakura, or Cherry Blossom, emblem is attached to the theft of the tape. Along the way, the two Americans train to learn the ways of the ninja, which will come in handy if they must fight to get the tape back. Will they succeed?
Sakura Killers is one of the most fun and enjoyable 80’s Ninja Boom movies we’ve seen to date. The level of nonsensicality on display here is hard to articulate, you just have to see it for yourself. The presence of the great Chuck Connors (or “Conners” as they spell it in the credits) adds so much. Seemingly from the Robert Stack/Peter Graves/Charles Napier school, The Colonel, as we’re informed on the back of the Key video box, is, and we quote, “A ninja-buster”. Presumably the meaning of The Colonel being a ninja-buster is, he can just kill ninjas on his golf range and not give it a second thought. Connors wears the same Brooklyn jacket he wears in Terror Squad (1988), but this time he has a matching hat. In what we think is a semi-sequel to this movie, White Phantom (1987), Bo Svenson plays The Colonel. Svenson’s good, but by that time, he has a last name, and it’s just not the same. Watch Sakura Killers to see Connors as the original The Colonel.
Plus, in trying to get information on the Sakura case on the computer with his associate Karen (Cara Casey, in sadly her only credited movie role to date), the computer states that the perps are “possibly Oriental”. This may be what prompts The Colonel to say derisively, “Computers. And I thought they were supposed to make life easier.” Besides predicting the future, this must mean he prefers to do his ninja-busting mano-a-mano. But helping him is one of the biggest meatheads ever, George Nichols as Dennis. We’re surprised they didn’t name him Ox (or perhaps Moose). But he does have a wicked sense of style. It all adds to the silly, funny vibe of Sakura Killers.
The movie has an outstanding opening, and it’s hard to maintain that throughout the whole movie, but it comes pretty close. Plus there are plenty of 80’s standbys such as cassette tapes, the aforementioned Beta tapes, the old-school computers, and it wouldn’t be an 80’s movie without some aerobics. Add some insane ninja action and Chuck Connors being surly into this mix and you have a real gem.
We loved Sakura Killers and we’re very confident anyone out there with a sense of humor will too.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett