Revenge of the Ninja (Sam Firstenberg, 1983)

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I first encountered Revenge of the Ninja at Olympia Video in Kings Heath, Birmingham during the mid to late 1980s.  Being an impressionable young movie fan, the cover art of the Guild VHS tape, which incidentally has been used for the Optimum DVD release, immediately caught my eye.  The exotic Ninja weaponry, suit and fire shooting from the hand would attract any curious pre-teen. 

This film became a mini-obssession for me.  Due to the Ninja weaponry this film fell foul of the BBFC and existed in two different versions: the heavily cut Guild tape and the ever so slightly less heavily cut Video Collection release.  Internet access and the advent of eBay allowed me to order the American VHS releases of the film.  Frustratingly both tapes were also missing footage.  I now had four versions of the film and not one of them was uncut.  The legendary uncut Dutch VHS proved elusive.  Then, MGM announced they were releasing the film on DVD in the US.  Though presented in full frame and not widescreen, the film was finally fully uncut.  All shuriken throwing, neck slicing, arm chopping, nunchaku action was present and more.  Curiously, the theatrical trailer, included as an extra feature on the disc, contains some footage not present in the final cut.

And now we have the UK Optimum DVD, which was released last Monday.  I was apprehensive to buy this as it was not made clear on websites whether it would 16×9 enhanced.  I am pleased to report that it is 16×9 enhanced, as shown in the screenshots above, and it looks pretty good.  A Blu-Ray would have been welcomed as a HD version is regularly broadcast on MGMHD in the US meaning that a HD master is available

Despite numerous viewings I still love the film.  It is incredibly well paced and though ridiculous features some excellently choreographed fight sequences.  The climatic roof top battle is very well shot against a mountain back drop in Salt Lake City, Utah.  If you like this film, this is version to own.

The first film in Cannon’s Ninja series, Enter the Ninja (Menahem Golan, 1981), has also been released by Optimum but I have not purchased it yet.  I am more tempted by the HD version of the film which can be streamed from the iTunes store.  Expect a post in the next few weeks.

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2 Responses to Revenge of the Ninja (Sam Firstenberg, 1983)

  1. Seamaster73 says:

    If you’ve got Sky, Enter The Ninja is currently being shown in HD on MGM HD and looks terrific. Looking forward to your review ??? I watched it at the weekend and thought it was terrific.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tip.?? I am really tempted by MGM HD.?? Since they are currently not releasing any of their past catalogue on Blu-Ray or DVD it appears to be the only way to see many of their cult films in HD.?? I will probably download the HD version of <i>Enter the Ninja</i> from iTunes but will definitely subscribe to MGM HD if they show <i>Revenge of the Ninja</i>, <i>Pray for Death</i> or <i>The Delta Force</i>.??

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