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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ninja III: The Domination - Scream Factory Appropriate?

I’m not in the habit of bad mouthing a product, but I’m not entirely sure why Scream Factory released Ninja III. It doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the line up comprised of 70’s and 80’s horror classics. Sure, some of them have a Sci-Fi twist, but most of these titles are very straight forward. Ninja on the other hand, not so much.

This style of 80’s action/martial art story is beloved and has a cult following. I agree that the film should get a release, but maybe it would be better to keep that over on the Shout Factory side of the coin. How does this fit in with movies like The Howling, Life Force, Funhouse, Prison… just that it’s a movie from the 80’s? Are we releasing National Lampoon’s Vacation next? If we’re going to tackle a flick that has to be martial art related, why not have a some horror/Sci-Fi connection like say… I don’t know… Big Trouble in Little China (I realize this may be out of reach from a distro rights perspective).

Ninja III comes off like a bad rip-off of Big Trouble in Little China rip-off, but the only problem is that Ninja III came out in 1984 predating Big Trouble by two years. I suppose that makes Ninja III the guiding star regardless of whether Carpenter saw it or not. It falls thimble short of Big Trouble. 80’s hair babes are my cup of tea, but there really wasn’t much to write home about. The fight sequences are watered down. The story, basic. The cover art is blah and could definitely use a Milliner makeover from the original 80’s art and the special features non-existent. Was this meant to be a Shout release and then everyone realized they might have a market Scream side due to the Carpenter cross appeal? Where are the special features?

To end on a positive note because I despise writing purely negative reviews, Ninja III: Domination is campy. Someone in the mood for light-hearted 80’s action fare might laugh it off with a couple of beers. The picture quality is actually friggin’ amazing. I just wish there was more on screen for me. I guess they all can’t be horror flicks, but I guess I thought that was the point of Scream Factory. I’m not Ninja III’s intended audience. Sure I dig some of Sam Firstenberg’s other efforts. Cyborg, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo… Delta Force 3. Still, I think this release will be unimpressive to fans of the movie. Not much meat.


If we’re going for a wish list of movies that need a S.F. release, there’s plenty to be had. Hell, after seeing Radioactive Dreams I was pretty certain Scream was the only label I’d want to see distro that sucker, but it doesn’t really fit. Let’s be consistent. The rest of the summer and autumn line up clearly appeal my sensibilities with the exception of Dark Angel aka I Come in Peace (what’s wrong guys, couldn’t get the rights to the better naming convention?).

Love seeing that Cannon bumper on a movie though. Give ya chills.

-Dr. TERROR

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