Enter the Ninja (1981)

Starring Franco Nero, Susan George, Sho Kosugi, Christopher George, Alex Courtney, Will Hare, Zachi Noy, Constantine Gregory, Dale Ishimoto, Joonee Gamboa

Directed by Menahem Golan

Expectations: High, but tempered because I’ve heard this is dumb.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


It’s been much too long since I watched an 80s ninja flick, so I decided to remedy that with the first film in the unofficial Ninja trilogy featuring Sho Kosugi! Perhaps this wasn’t the best choice to make, as I’d heard from a couple of different sources that this first film is one that can easily be skipped and I would be much better served by the much more famous pseudo-sequel Revenge of the Ninja. As a completionist, I scoffed at these suggestions and soldiered on, receiving a film just about as good as I was led to believe it would be.

Franco Nero plays Cole, an American war veteran who has spent the last few years training to become a ninja. Yes, that’s the same Franco Nero that starred in Django and Camelot, and no, I don’t quite understand the logic in casting him as a ninja. I do like to theorize that because of his involvement, somewhere in the world this film was screened under the title Django vs. Ninja, but I have no factual evidence of this. Whatever, he’s a ninja and Sho Kosugi, another student at the school, objects to Nero’s inclusion in the sacred order. A rivalry forms but just as you think it might be going somewhere awesome, Nero leaves Japan to hang out with his old war buddy in Manila. There he finds a wealthy landowner looking to steal his friend’s land out from under him, presumably to build some high-rise apartments or to farm heroin or some other clichéd 80s action movie shit. I honestly didn’t pay too close of attention to his motives.

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Straw Dogs (1971)

Straw Dogs (1971)

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison, Len Jones, Sally Thomsett, Robert Keegan, Peter Arne, Cherina Schaer, Colin Welland, David Warner

Directed by Sam Peckinpah

Expectations: High. I’m very excited to see this.


Having just read The Siege at Trencher’s Farm, I was thoroughly excited to watch Straw Dogs for the first time. It’s a very well-regarded film of Sam Peckinpah’s and one that is always mentioned when talking about his best work. I knew going in that the film diverged quite a bit from the book, but I had no idea just how off the rails it got. Instead of the taut, thrilling tale that the book tells, Straw Dogs is mostly a very boring and meandering film, and one that simply does not do the book justice.

David Sumner and his wife Amy have temporarily moved to the English countryside of Amy’s youth so that David can finish his mathematics book. He’s working on some deep shit and needs the peace and quiet to sort out his thoughts. A few of the able-bodied townsmen, including one of Amy’s old flames, are building the couple a garage and clearing out the rat infestation in the old farmhouse. Tensions run high between David and Amy because David is focusing all his time on his work when she would rather have that focus pointed squarely on her.

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