American Ninja(1985) Movie Review
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Uploaded on Jul 7, 2011
My review of the 80's action classic, American Ninja(1985) starring Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Judie Aronson, Guich Koock, John Fujioka, Don Stewart, John LaMotta, and Tadashi Yamashita. Directed by Sam Firstenberg.
Chuck Norris was originally cast to play the title role in the film.
In the movie trailer it was originally titled "American Warrior" but was changed to "American Ninja" by the time of the films release.
Kurt McKinney auditioned for the title role but was considered to be too young.
Some re-used musical tunes from Enter the Ninja (1981), also produced by Cannon Films.
A rare 1984 poster featuring the rock band 'KISS' advertising their then current album "Animalize" can be seen on the wall in Joe's squad's sleeping quarters. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Eric Carr have their faces hidden by additional stickers to avoid any legalities and Mark St. John's head seems to be cropped off by the camera angle.
Michael Dudikoff knew no martial arts before filming began.
Steve James said in an interview that Michael Dudikoff had much anxiety working with him, for fear of being shown up as a result of a lesser knowledge of martial arts than his sidekick. James even requested his final fight scenes be filmed on the other side of the compound, far away from Dudikoff, to avoid any further problems. It wasn't until halfway through filming the sequel that the two of them set their differences aside.
Director Sam Firstenberg has stated in an interview that American Ninja (along with Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)) is one of the two favorite films he directed. He says American Ninja "has a special quality of innocent, true friendship, love and youthful idealism."
Director Sam Firstenberg admitted in an interview that audiences at the time didn't like seeing a women ninja in the film Ninja III: The Domination (1984). This is why Cannon films sought to find a "James Dean"-like action star to be the ninja in American Ninja. They wanted someone that looked like James Dean; didn't talk much and seemed to carry a chip on their shoulder. During this process Sam auditioned 2000 young men and narrowed it down to 200. Though Michael Dudikoff had no martial arts training, he had the look Cannon was looking for. Hence he was cast in the lead.
In an interview in the late eighties, Steve James stated that when he came on board American Ninja he wanted to change a lot of the dialogue, as it was written like "no problems, whatever you say....partner."
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