It's been a while since we had a straight-up ninja movie. If you grew up during the '80s, it was almost impossible to click through your impressive 56-channel lineup on a Saturday afternoon and not find a dozen flicks starring Sho Kosugi or Michael "American Ninja" Dudikoff to help ease your hangover. These days, you have to dig through obscure Asian DVD releases to find anyone wearing the shinobi shōzoku unironically.
Why did this happen? Did the pirates win? Did we finally realize guys running around in their pajamas and throwing little stars was kind of weird? Is this just another excuse to combine a giveaway (for passes to the November 23 screening of Ninja Assassin) with another stupid list?
Only this assortment of relatively benign ninjas know for sure.
Dogg's (Kid Rock) Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R -- Biker Boyz (2003)
It's hard to believe there's something Kid Rock does worse than rapping, but as an actor he makes Jessica Alba look like Barbara Stanwyck. His motorcycle, as goofy-looking as Rock himself in his "All Summer Long" video, suffers by association.
The Three Ninjas -- 3 Ninjas (1992)
Finally, a movie that gives hope to all those suburban kids who learned karate at a strip mall. And once again, we see the folly of not ganging up on your opponent in a martial arts movie, even when you outnumber him five to one.
Breakdancing Ninja Turtles -- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
Did I say Kid Rock was a shitty rapper? I take it back. "Ninja Rap" may be one of the worst songs from a movie not written by Bryan Adams. As for ninja turtles, if you just manage to get them on their backs, fight over.
U.S. Govt. Ninjas -- Spies Like Us (1985)
Not only was the CIA unable to foresee the collapse of the Soviet Union, they foolishly trained huge numbers of soldiers in ninjitsu to combat the Japanese after mistakenly assuming the Super Mario games were some form of coded message to Japanese sleeper agents instructing them to sabotage Western plumbing.
Ninja cheerleaders -- Ninja Cheerleaders (2008)
Ordinarily, the idea of cheerleaders beating me into submission would be an attractive proposition, but I must have been thinking of Cheerleader Ninjas. This is actually a deeply moving character piece featuring an introspective turn by George Takei.
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