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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 #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by moviecollector
oh my goodness, I remember this movie.
My dad still has this on Beta. I used to watch it quite a bit when I was growing up.

Its not the worst action movie I've seen. But it is bottom-of-the-barrel. :)
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by ZZT-X
Bought this film used at a Gamestop, it being my second Sho Kosugi film (also Revenge of the Ninja).

Like everyone else, I thought "What the hell??" when the opening credits started.
I thought "What the hell??" again when Alby pronounces 'unharmed', 'unharm-ed'.
Again when the midget death squad came out.
Again when I realized all the seven foot Arab would say was "Ha ha!".
Again when the ninjas came outta NOWHERE in the caves.
Again when I realized how much "Macho Man" was a total jackass.
And again when Alby's dummy clone was trampled to death.

9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #11. Posted on October 15, 2005, 03:02:59 PM by Agentsoren
This is truly one of the funniest B movies I have seen.  I believe all the actors knew there was something special about this film so they really went all out with their characters.  Even all of the supporting roles are amazing.  Like Paul Haney (above), this was the chance movie that got me hooked on badness.  It is the standard which all other movies are measured against.  And I have to agree that once a year is the perfect watching interval.  Please watch this movie.
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by ninjafetus
One thing you missed, right after spike shinobi blew up a part of the base... While the girl and the american good guy are driving towards the mountian in the jeep, they stop and the girl looks through some binoculars at the mountian and then radios Sipke saying something along the lines of "I can't see your position, are you okay?"

... of course she couldn't see his position.  She was looking through the binoculars BACKWARDS.  AS in, looking INTO the big lenses and pointing the SMALL lenses at the mountian.  It's pretty fast, but really obvious if you look again.  How stupid does this woman have to be to not know which way to look through them?
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #13. Posted on March 13, 2006, 04:41:05 PM by Ninja Master Paddy
Only noticed this fantastic review after seeing the film roughly a week ago.It truly is one of the greatest ninja B Movies of all time (though a personal favourite of mine Ninja terminator stills holds the title)
9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #14. Posted on October 10, 2006, 01:44:09 AM by Kung Fu Karl
Wow looks pretty lame. I think he was trying really hard not to cut one of those dancers who was dancing all around him.
Re: 9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #15. Posted on February 27, 2008, 05:39:31 AM by Kolt
Watching this movie is like having sex with an attractive double amputee: Humorous, degrading, strangely gratifying and best done while inebriated.

Sho Kosugi does kata through pink mist, plays air guitar with a tennis racket, cuts water melons in half, fights midgets and goes old man-incognito etc etc..

There's a scene where Rahji uses the power of bad editing to block a bullet - and then laughs about it. There is also a scene where Brent Huff, AKA Steve Gordon, AKA Macho Man, dispenses mass destruction with a multi-round grenade launcher simply known as "The Dancer". And amongst such other crazy s**t, there is a scene where one ninja uses a cardboard cut-out of another ninja (or possibly himself) as an illusionary-defense against oncoming throwing stars. This suggest that there is perhaps a factory of some kind or an 'Office Max' that is exclusive only to ninjas where a ninja can take a photo copy of himself and have it blown up and processed into a full size cardboard image.

I am fairly certain that this film is viewed daily as training video for various special Ops of the United States Armed forces.

P.S. - Soren sucks balls.     
Re: 9 Deaths of the Ninja
Reply #16. Posted on April 25, 2008, 03:37:45 PM by talthar
Dworkin?  The Pattern?

So this is what they show at the theatres in Amber?  Makes me wonder what the hell is playing in the Courts of Chaos...
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