I would never have seen the first American Ninja - and thus this film - if a couple of years ago my then-flatmate and I hadn't been doing something called the "Trashy Tuesday Movie". Basically we sat down every week, and watched a terrible movie while he mocked it on twitter. Sometimes he'd also do essays about the lessons writers could draw from the film (examples include Robot Jox and Highlander. Fair warning: his language is much saltier than mine), but mostly it was about the snark.
I mention this because after a long hiatus, "Trashy Tuesday Movie" returned on a trial basis, and what better film to start it with than American Ninja 2: The Confrontation ?
In case you were wondering, the original American Ninja spent its first hour being a run of the mill low budget martial arts film ... and then at the beginning of the third act someone utters the immortal words "ninja magic" and the whole thing becomes bug nuts crazy - and not coincidentally, it also becomes about 27 times more fun to watch.
The sequel, I am pleased to say, does not wait anywhere near so long to start dishing up a old big serve of "what the heck?".
Three preppy-looking guys stop in at a bar. They turn out to be US marines. They get hassled by a bunch of guys in camo - who naturally have nothing to do with the military - and a fight ensues. One of the three prepsters is clearly in cahoots with the camo gang, and his two companions are quickly beaten unconscious.
At which point ninjas enter the bar and spirit the unconscious men away.
This brings the number of marines to go missing to four, and the local commander calls in outside help. Which is how our protagonists get involved.
That'd be these guys
The two newcomers are US Army Rangers, rather than marines. There's some tension over this fact, due to inter-service rivalry, but most of the local personnel are so happy with their current assignment - a remote Caribbean island with bevies of beautiful bikini clad women - that they make the Army guys welcome.
The commanding officer I mentioned? That'd be this guy.
Anyway, it turns out that a local scientist was trying to find a cure for cancer but his government funding dried up, so he accepted the financial support of a criminal industrialist, who has corrupted the process into a means to clone an army of "super-ninjas". The missing marines are the raw genetic stock he is using to manufacture these minions, who he then plans to sell to the highest bidder.
It's very much as daffy as it sounds, and I kinda love it for that. While there's no denying that American Ninja 2 is a quintessentially bad film - and a quintessentially eighties one as well - I had a blast watching it. If you have any kind of taste for unintentional camp or schlocky cinema in general, it's worth an hour and a half of your time.
Addendum: if you'd like to read the twitter snark, you can find it here.