Ninja III The Domination
The Cannon Group made a metric ton of craptastic movies during its heyday, but one in particular has long been beloved for its brazenly bizarre brand of lunacy: Ninja III: The Domination (1984).
This film is insane.
Watching it will make you question your own sanity.
And you will love every damn minute of it.
Some films are about ninjas. Others explore bodily possession. Several '80s films incorporated some Jane Fonda-esque aerobics action. Yet, only Ninja III had the audacity to combine all three into one glorious mess of a film that will leave you in disbelief.
Last year Shout! Factory reissued the film on Blu-ray in a gorgeously packaged new Collectors Edition, complete with informative and often hilarious interviews with cast and crew. Seems a good enough excuse to talk about how amazing this film really is. Take a minute, if you will, and appreciate the simplistic beauty of the first sentence in the film's IMDb description:
The body of a sexy aerobics instructor is invaded by the evil spirit of a dying ninja.
Direct, honest, straight to the core of what this film is about: a hot woman, ninjas, and their unholy alliance.
Lucinda Dickey, as our heroine Christina, works as a telephone linesperson and an aerobics instructor. The latter occupation means she spends much of her time in skimpy Flashdance workout attire. As you might imagine, the film isn't shy about leering over Dickey's impressively, uh, aerobicised body.
Christina has the misfortune of running into the deadly Black Ninja, who's on the run from law enforcement because he just slaughtered half the Phoenix police force. One thing leads to another and, boom! The spirit of the Black Ninja transfers to Christina, overtaking her own and turning her into a ruthless cop killer, albeit one with a flair for big '80s hair and hot pink thong leotards.
What follows makes almost no sense and doesn't need to, because it features a whole lot of Lucinda Dickey slicing people in half with her giant sword of death. That's all you need to concern yourself with to enjoy the hell out of this movie. You see, because she's possessed by the immortal Black Ninja, she's seeing his memories in her head. Every time she runs into a cop, she has a PTSD experience from that time the Black Ninja massacred everyone at the golf course.
Then there's the infamous V8 scene. It hast to rank as one of the strangest, yet most absurdly effective seductions in film history. Christina and the least likely police officer you'll ever meet, played by an innocuous Jordan Bennett, are just starting to get amorous in her apartment. Clearly, Christina is too much woman for this guy, and she proves it by doing something I didn't know was possible: making V8 juice sexy. She's that good.
What I've described so far is just the tip of the iceberg with this film. Every moment is glorious. It's the absolutely bonkers aspects of the film that make me love it so much. A truly great "bad" movie needs to commit to its badness, and good god does Ninja III commit. Dickey may have been pretty green as an actor, but she's a lot of fun here. She's hilarious during a scene where she sasses the cops in the police precinct, and she's a total badass during her time possessed by the Black Ninja.
If you still haven't seen Ninja III after all these years, cancel all your plans, grab a case of V8, and watch it tonight. You won't regret it.