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Rated R
Copyright 1985 Crown International Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 6 June 2001

The Characters:  

  • Spike Shinobi - The ninja to call if your country is ever under attack by watermelons.
  • Steve Gordan - A manly man indeed. His impressive collection of toys causes envy in soldiers of fortune the world over.
  • Jennifer Barnes - Since she is the team's female member her job is communications and control. She is also the last chance garage for Steve's wiener wagon.
  • Dr. Wolf - One of the drug runners who has a rotten streak of luck. First kids set his underwear on fire when he's raping a hostage, then Spike steals his clothes. In the middle of a Filipino jungle, where everything wants to bite or sting you, is no place for a big man wearing little bikini briefs.
  • The Midget Attack Squad - Hehehehe!
  • Mohammed Rahji - Enormous bad guy with a strange habit of chuckling constantly. He is nigh invulnerable until finding out the hard way that grenades are not food.
  • Honey Hump - Female leader of the mercenaries blessed with a full afro. Trying to shoot her in the brain would be difficult, but I suggest aiming twelve inches below her hair.
  • Albert Brant - (Alby to his friends) Drug cartels always need a German mastermind to head the operation. Getting one who has a pet monkey is just icing on the cake. Killed by polo players. Yes, you heard me right, polo players.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I've long been at a loss to present a solid theory about why some atrocious movies are barrels of fun and others are pure pain. So, with great pleasure, I'm going to present this as my thesis. There are, quite honestly, a ton of scenes in this movie that make no sense, but had me dumbfounded. Over and over I was laughing and saying, "No way that just happened." Finally I gave up and just watched the film with a bemused demeanor, because it hadn't a care in the world for my reality. It's like watching a baseball game and suddenly seeing a football player (fully equipped with pads) run across center and tackle the fielder.

The first few minutes are nothing more than standard action drivel and can lull you into a state of complacency, then the opening credits roll. Watch in amazement as three women perform some insane jazz/modern dance around Sho Kosugi (who is swinging his sword and "fighting" their choreographed attack). Meanwhile, a very energetic singer is belting out "Keep On Dancing." That has to be the name of the song. Why? Every other stanza she sings is that specific phrase. That's why. Rewind and watch the opening credits sequence in disbelief all you want, but it's real.

Just so you understand, the three main good guys (Spike, Steve, and Jennifer) are members of an elite international anti terrorist team. There are no others, just these three. Alby and his drug runners have taken a number of hostages, intent on forcing authorities to release Rahji from prison and cut back on drug interdiction efforts in the Philippines. To say that the criminals are ludicrous is an understatement. They display a devotion to the cause expected of freedom fighters or religious fanatics.

Albert is played to his Fascist hilt; just imagine a young and energetic Dr. Strangelove. He sputters, spits, and is prone to uncontrolled outbursts that render his words nearly indecipherable under all the accent. One advantage he does have is a 4X4 wheelchair, which is pretty much a must have for disabled guerrilla leaders fighting a jungle conflict. Out of control characters really make this a fun experience. Undoubtedly the actors knew how absurd this all was, they just said "screw it" and went to town.

Unsurprisingly, the bad guys are soon aware of the international task force. This could be due to some double agents in the Filipino government. It could also be due to Spike and company running around in jumpsuits befitting of NASA astronauts. Your choice. Perhaps we're reading too much into this though; earlier Jennifer was wearing a negligee at the swimming pool when a swimsuit should have been the obvious choice. Clueing off the wardrobe might be a fatal mistake in retrospect.

Identifying your enemy is only a small part of battle. The most important facet is neutralizing them. You don't always have to destroy their fighting forces; attacking manufacturing and support facilities can be plenty effective (just ask Germany why we kept bombing ball bearing factories during WWII). In this case the drug runners have it easy, because their enemy is three people. Who cares about strategy? Just kill those three! And here is where the crack midget assault squad comes into play. Spike and Steve get jumped while investigating a lead at the museum. The ninja easily defeats the female assassin, but then she sics four midgets on him. HAHAHAHA! Poor Spike actually scratches his head and considers the little guys with a wonderful "What in the Hell?" look on his face before things get ugly. The little people are, quite unfortunately, prone to throwing punches in line with their shoulders. Coincidence places Spike's testicles at that height and those react poorly to physical blows, but he eventually wins the fight.

With time running out and Alby shooting hostages (hey, he's an excitable German - what do you expect) the government releases Rahji. Of course they try following him back to the hideout, though that goes poorly. The ninja is briefly taken prisoner and his helicopter used as a private taxi for the massive terrorist. When Spike turns the tables and brandishes a pistol you might think that it's curtains for Rahji. You are still several shadows away from the world where this movie is taking place. In fact, "9 Deaths of the Ninja" is probably what drove Dworkin insane (not spilling blood on the Pattern). Rahji puts his hand over the barrel and catches the round, then a fight right out of the Three Stooges Handbook ensues.

Beset by a deadly phantom and Steve's gatling gun, the Albert & Hump pharmaceutical company is trapped (sorta) in a cave. They make a last ditch effort to kill the capitalist pigs, but between Spike's sword having a hinged grip that swivels to act like a baton and two little hostages kicking butt with their nunchaku it goes badly. Mysteriously a number of evil ninja show up to be slaughtered, but there still are not nine of them. The title remains a mystery.

By now I should know better, but this has been bugging me the whole movie: where did all the beer come from? The drug runners and Steve seem to produce bottles of beer on command, especially during the jungle conflict. Besides being heavy, the fact that refrigeration was unavailable kept cropping up. That had to be warm beer. So, after sacking the center fielder, would the football player drink that warm beer or steal the little kid's Coke?

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Flak vests provide good protection against throwing stars.
  • Jumping from a second story balcony and landing on your feet will kill you.
  • Never investigate piles of clothes that you find in the hallway of a massage parlor.
  • Ninja know how to apply the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
  • Deny your first instinct after being splashed in the face with industrial superglue.
  • Being an attractive female hostage has a number of drawbacks, namely the number of male terrorists.
  • Ninja do not use broadhead arrows.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - Good thing that they had infiltrated the enemy camp earlier and set up all those remote charges.
  • 8 mins - Hehehe! Okay, whoever thought up this credit sequence is a genius!
  • 11 mins - Dude, trying to be inconspicuous with that radio is a lost cause.
  • 26 mins - Bleeped? They bleeped the dialog?
  • 33 mins - It is a very mean thing to do, but maybe you shouldn't be eating those. In ten minutes you'll be sweating profusely and have a racing pulse.
  • 58 mins - Whores already know what love is about, Steve. It is your standard capital for services business model.
  • 87 mins - Your sexual habits have not been discussed, but they worry me, Spike.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note deathsninja1.wav Master: "A ninja does not allow himself to be swayed by emotion. You are not worthy!"
Green Music Note deathsninja2.wav Alby: "If you fail to comply with these demands, all hostages will be executed!"
Green Music Note deathsninja3.wav Rahji chuckling.
Green Music Note deathsninja4.wav Spike: "I want a clean girl."
Madame: "Are you kidding? My girls are sterilized, sanitized, and lobotomized."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipdeathsninja1.mpg - 3.0m
Is he under attack by this powerful trio of modern dancers? Is this the unknown secret of ninja training? What madman thought this crazy scene up?

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by AD
At last you reviewed it...THREE YEARS I'VE BEEN WAITING I TELL YA, THREE YEARS...WOOHOO, now I can graduate with a smile on my face..

Three cheers to
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Randy
I actually saw this movie IN A THEATER when it first came out.  Even then, I knew it was the worst movie ever made.  Early 80's TV shows had better acting and production values.  I didn't see it again for 20 years until a friend gave me a tattered copy.  The midget fight scene is an all time great.  To this day, when someone complains about how bad a movie is I just ask, "But have you seen 9 Deaths of the Ninja?"  A true classic.
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Paul Haney
Yes, congrats on finally reviewing this terrific movie. I have seconded at least two calls for this movie to be on this site. It's an absolute must see for those who need some of their brain cell confused into a drunken state of near death.  Plus Nine Deaths of the Ninja has a special spot in history for me.  This movie started me down the bad movie backsteet to hell. I bought this film randomly 8 years ago for $3 at a Wallgreen's.  This movie was so intertainingly bad that I have now watched over 250 B-movies looking for other cases of pure genius.  Today it is still in my top 10. (note: no matter how enjoyable this film may be don't try to watch it more than once a year.  It's just far to damaging to your common sense.)
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by AzumaNinja
As a ninja enthusiast, I would like say that this movie is a must see!  Who can't love Sho Kosugi when he stares down at the midget attackers in complete disbelief?? This movie is hilarious, and any fan of ninja or bad movies should go out and rent/buy it.
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Steven Millan
  Sho Kosugi;where are you!?We surely could use you back in
the States to make some great martial arts classics once again,ala "Revenge of the Ninja" and "Pray For Death".Those
movies were sheer 80s masterpieces,mixing gory violence with
kickass fight sequences,and never was a movie of his really   bad(including the extremely silly "Ninja III:The Domination"
[love that massive death toll beginning!]and "Journey Of
Honor"[sadly,his last film]).Love this massively goofy,but thoroughly entertaining effort just as much,too.A delightfully enjoyable flick for one of those beer-filled
Saturday nights.
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Kaoslord
No man, you don't understand.  He is the final exam in the #1 dance school.  If they mess up he will decapitate them.
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Victor
 This is THE worst film of all time! I mean this in a good way.

PS : The fight with the midgets was stolen from an episode of "The Incredible Hulk", in a scene where Lou Ferrigno had to fight a horde of the little guys for no apparent reason.
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Teemu
This movie was horrible. When i first started watching it,and saw the opening credits i was like "what hell???". This movie really made me angry, i mean, why are people allowed to make so bad movies?
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