The silliest aspect of the first American Ninja movie was the fact that the bad guy had a whole facility dedicated to training ninjas for his own personal army. Because in the 80s there was nothing deadlier than a ninja. After the success of that movie a sequel was inevitable and now I’m reviewing a movie with even more sillier aspects than the first: American Ninja 2: The Confrontation
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation sees the return of army rangers Armstrong (Michael Dudikoff) and Jackson (Steve James). When marines go missing on a Caribbean island, they are are flown in to investigate. They become targets instantly and find themselves at odds with some locals and a whole bunch of ninjas. Genetically engineered ninjas that is.
And if you’re scratching the back of your head when reading the term “genetically engineered ninja” I can’t blame you. Having seen these movies way back in the 90s I knew they really got ridiculous at one point. I just didn’t remember that it already started with the first sequel.
The plot is very similar to the first movie. But instead of army trucks being stolen by a wealthy criminal with a private army of ninjas, marines are being kidnapped by a wealthy criminal with a private army of genetically engineered ninjas. Since both Armstrong and Jackson are already established characters there’s little room for character development, instead focusing more on action scenes.
There are plenty of action scenes in the movie. Armstrong and Jackson find themselves confronted with hostiles almost every couple of minutes. With the same people both in front of and behind the camera these action scenes feel very similar to the ones in the first movie. The type of fighting on display here is very reminiscent of the 80s with especially Jackson keeping his pose while making a grunt after every punch or kick he lands on an opponent. Similar to what Van Damme did also at the time.
The most surprising element of the American Ninja movie is that they are rated R and often have elements like throwing stars and nun-chucks cut out in certain countries. There isn’t a moment that this movie, much like its predecessor, doesn’t feel like a slightly more mature version of the A-team. Everything is pretty cartoonish from start to finish.
During the final showdown Armstrong is facing off with the lead ninja (Mike Stone) in an arena. Clearly having met his match the ninja pulls out a shotgun and starts shooting at Armstrong from no more than four meters away. He misses every shot. I was laughing the entire time. This is the big baddy of the movie? Come on!
American Ninja 2 is full of hilarious moments and a lot of them not intentional. During a bar fight in the beginning you can clearly see some crew member standing behind a wall hoping we won’t notice him. Shortly after that we’re treated to a shot of Armstrong and Jackson leaving an office. You can clearly see that it’s not Michael Dudikoff but rather his stunt double as he faces the camera while passing rather close. Did they really think the audience wouldn’t notice that there’s an entirely different character walking past the camera?
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation is silly and fun, but it’s not the serious action movie one would expect from an R-rated endeavor. I had fun watching it, but I’m not going to lie to you and say this is a good movie. This one is for the genre fans.