One of the better known ninja series of the 80s is American Ninja. The plot follows Joe Armstrong, an Army private with amnesia who happens to be deftly skilled with ninjustsu mastery. He teams up with Corporal Curtis Jackson (Steve James), and together the duo take on an army of ninjas in the Philippines.

American Ninja (1985) was directed by Sam Firstenberg, who also directed Revenge of the Ninja. But while ROTN was only mildly over the top – considering the era – American Ninja is a much more heavy-handed affair. Check out this final fight scene between Joe and the Black Star Ninja. So much of the action begs the question, “Why?”

C’mon; a laser?

One thing you can say about this series is it never really “declined” in quality (four sequels followed). There’s no, “well, the first one was really good, and the others kinda suck” mentality with American Ninja. It’s cheese from the word go. But then again, The Godfather never made me want to ninja chop the shit out of my mother’s banister, so I guess a little cheese is good.

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