American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987) – Sam Firstenberg

I know you’d believe that they made a number of sequels (4 of them all told), but would you believe I watched the second one?!

Oh man.

Talk about cheesy fun… Golan and Globus have done it again.

Our heroes from the first film, Armstrong (Michael Dudikoff) and Jackson (Steve James) are back, and have been assigned to a Carribbean posting near Blackbeard’s Island (seriously that’s the name of the place). These two Army Rangers find themselves on the local Marine base (they could have played up that angle a little more for more drama, instead of all the melodrama that permeates the film) invesitgating the disappearance of several Marines, who, according to eye witnesses were nabbed by folks in black pajamas and hoodies… obviously ninjas, though amazingly, no one knows that they are called that.

I will say this, Dudikoff is a little more at ease this time around, and it’s obvious he’s done a little training since the first film, he repeats a lot of the same moves over and over in this film, but at least they are different from the first film.

american-ninja-2Ridiculousness still abounds (a fight secene against ninjas in a markeplace, with ninjas just wandering through the crowds as if this kind of thing happens all the time, not to mention a beach fight scene), and some of the military unifrms just seem to be really shoddy costumes (check out Dudikoff and James in Marine dress uniforms as a prime example), the fight sequences are still laugh out loud cheese, and James seems to simply delight in chewing any piece of scenery he can sink his teeth into.

It’s lighter in tone, and, honestly, looks better than the first film.

On the down side, the female lead, Michelle Botes as Alicia, is nowhere near as appealing as Judie Aronson.

They’ve also added the stereotypical street urchin kid, Toto (Elmo Fillis),  who knows how to find everything, and will get it for you for the right price (apparently that’s always three to five bucks).

amn2This time, the villain of the piece is known as the Lion (Gary Conway – who also had his hand in the story department of this one and the next film in the series), a drug lord, who is also using an experimental gene therapy to augment the captured Marines into ninjas to use as protection… Hey I didn’t write it, I’m only watching it (and laughing profusely!). He’s got his own private octagon which he monologues over to his fellows as they watch the masses of ninja run through their exercises.

The climax sees Armstrong facing off against the Lion’s ninjas in this forum while Jackson leads a bunch of marines on an all-out assault on the Lion’s compound, something I’m sure was not condoned by their governement… But oh well, they’re the good guys so it’s ok.

Throw behind it a soundtrack that sounds like it was composed entirely on a Casio keyboard, and you have some idea how much cheese, and goofy stupid fun this is, as long as you laugh at it, and don’t even try to think about how inane this thing actually is.

I’m not sure I’ll even be able to get through the other three films, but boy did I chuckle my way through this one…

Any cheesy 80s recommendations?


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