Hostage Week Episode IV: An Old Domination

Good day all,

It’s a pleasure to get back at y’all and I hope the Wheel of Fortune has spun your way. I’ve been so caught up in the notion of freedom that I decided to try and reach back to that most wonderful of times; childhood. Isn’t it weird that the time in your life when you had the least control over your actions was the time that you felt the most free?  Your parents control every aspect of your life, but you run around feeling like it’s all yours (kids really are pretty stupid aren’t they?). That’s how I’ve put my little vacation in my mind, an opportunity to embrace the limited freedom I have in my situation. So in that spirit I’ve chosen a very cherished and special movie from my childhood, but I’m a little worried. First, I’m a little worried to bear a cherished memory like this to complete strangers; I mean, my vulnerable side might get me teased. Secondish, I hadn’t seen this film since I was about ten and it touched me in a way that I can’t put into words. I think I can trust you (I mean really, she’s eventually going to shoot me, roll me up in a rug and donate me to Goodwill under an assumed name anyway) so here we go: the film is the 1984 classic Ninja 3: The Domination.

The first memories I have of this film are nine year old me seeing my brother pick it out and taking it to mom, bringing it over to me and saying he needed me to whine a bunch to convince her I was old enough to see a ninja movie, and then acting like an annoying prick until my mom finally caved to shut me up (sorry mom, and HELP!). When I saw the thing unfold I knew that ninjas were the badassest of all the badasses in the fighting world. Way tougher than G.I. Joe, He-Man or My Pet Monster, and meaner than Oscar the Grouch (I was totally ready for a ninja movie). After getting over my initial terror I was captivated, and I found myself getting fired up at the sight of the blood and violence instead of wanting to cry. Little me held my shit together enough to prove I was ready and whenever we rented movies (and a V.C.R., Christ I’m old) there was always a ninja movie in the mix and, quite often, this one over and over again. The problem with this is that most ninja movies are awful (maybe not American Ninja… no, it is too), like so awful that by the time I was ten or eleven I’d moved on to kung-fu movies. I never got back to this one, but that’s why freedom ain’t just another word.

One more anecdote before I get to this beauty. Some of you older folks might remember a song called “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band about a guy that sees his high school sweetheart in a nudie mag and it wrecks his innocence (instead of running around telling everyone you banged a centerfold, even if you hadn’t). I had an experience like that at a wedding some time back. Basically my grade four girlfriend, now married with three kids (though she really didn’t look it) let slip, after the normal “I haven’t seen you in ten years and let’s pretend we still share a connection” small talk that she and her husband had an open marriage and that I should book a hotel rather than crash at my brother’s. Now guys, I know you’re thinking “awesome, show her all the cool stuff you’ve learned past holding hands”, but the reality was kind of less spectacular. I mean, this person was one of the important people in developing my lifelong view on love and relationships and she’s turned into a Springer freak; it genuinely made me sad inside. I pondered this long and hard while checking in at the local Super 8. All kidding aside, revisiting this film made feel  like my fourth grade girlfriend asked me to cheat on her husband with her.

Let’s get to it then: this thing is a hot mess that just keeps giving. The leads are a cut-rate Steve Guttenberg and a cut-rate Linda Hamilton. The ninja powers are ridiculous, the cops incompetent, the gore just bad and the kung-fu laughable. Seriously, Stephen Seagal could beat these guys, and I mean current, fat, twelve-sandwich-a-day eating, let’s-go-harass-illegal-immigrants-with-Joe-Arpaio Stephen Seagal. Sidebar: Remember when he did Fire Down Below (p.o.s.) and dressed like a native and used his “star” power to promote their plight as marginalized people, and now he’s helping to quash the dreams of other marginalized people? Makes ya think. Where was I… this horrible movie that I once loved. As far as a quality film this thing just falls short. There really isn’t anything done well (maybe fourteen seconds of sword fighting) and the plot literally jumps from ninja story, to aerobics, to a lame love story, to a possession story, to a revenge story. All of the scenes that were awesome as a kid were just funny to the point stunned shock. Start to finish, all but fourteen seconds, of it is terrible.

Having said that, here is a list of things I learned watching this movie as an adult that, I hope, will convince you that you need to see it. Settle in and hold on:

– Ninjas have superpowers like crushing golf balls in their hands, Vulcan mind melds and extreme bullet resistance.

– Standing in a circle around a single enemy, firing handguns and shotguns, is totally a great strategy and you will not kill the guys on the other side when you miss.

– A woman that narrowly escapes a dying ninja, with a sword, who attacks her will pause after four steps and check out said ninja if he starts speaking Japanese with a “serious face.”

-The best way to open a film is action sequence, introduction of main characters, aerobics montage.

-The patrons of an upscale fitness center will stand and watch, calmly, as five bodybuilders try to rape a woman, and then break into cheer when she beats the piss out of them.

-If you really like a chick, calmly stand there and watch as five bodybuilders try to rape her (especially if you’re a cop). Remember to look impressed when she beats the piss out of them.

-Stalking totally pays off, but not until you get upset and throw her out of your car (which is the actual goal of stalking; get ’em to the car).

– Dead ninjas use video games to possess you.

– A one-eyed Japanese man, whose remaining eye is lazy and wears a snake-eye medallion eye-patch stands out in a crowd (and can disappear).

– Your screams make noise when someone is strangling you with piano wire. You can strangle someone with piano wire in twenty seconds.

– Two days of dating a woman is ample time tell the exorcist to keep going when the exorcist wants to stop (and the exorcist is David Lo Pan).

-If a one-eyed Japanese man, whose remaining eye is lazy and wears a snake-eye medallion eye-patch bursts into your place of work and waves you and your buddy over without saying a word, don’t go over.

– Cops totally hang out with their girlfriends at work and “try to make” the funeral for a fellow officer mysteriously killed by a sword one day after a ninja kills like, twenty-five cops. He shows up in jeans and a plaid shirt.

-Cops have stormtrooper aim with shotguns, in fact, cops suck at everything cops train to be good at.

-Zombie ninjas can hypnotize Shaolin Monks by screaming; smoke-bomb smoke automatically beats hypnotized Shaolin Monks.

-Zombie ninjas drill themselves into the ground and cause an earthquake when defeated.

Yup. I learned all of those things from this wonderful movie. The only conclusion I can form is that kids are stupid; just really, really stupid. I vividly remember this kicking ass, and my grade four girlfriend having the cutest braids, and the J Geils Band. I guess you can’t go back, but who cares, you’d just be an incredibly stupid kid again (so stupid).

Until the next time, live in the now, let the past be and laugh at a terrible movie now and then,

The Hostage

P.S. On second thought it’s almost too bad to laugh at, watch Azumi instead.

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~ by stew37 on March 30, 2011.

 
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