If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I wasn’t a big fan of the new Willow series.
But I am definitely not against sequels to 80’s franchises. I enjoyed Cobra Kai. I liked Top Gun Maverick. Ghostbusters: Afterlife was a great continuation to the original and a touching memorial. I’m all for ‘em, if they’re done really well.
In fact, I think it’s time to give the greatest trilogy of the 80s one more entry.
It’s time for Sho Kosugi to break out the black mask once more and star in…
RETIREMENT OF THE NINJA!
After his exploits as three separate characters in entirely different movies that were somehow a trilogy anyway (Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja and Ninja III: The Domination), our hero has earned his rest. Unfortunately, he finds it at the Pleasant Valley Someday Retirement Village.
Placed in the home by ungrateful grandchildren who never visit and rarely call, our hero spends his days telling the other guests about his glory days as a professional killer while playing never ending rounds of Canasta.
His stories are met with skepticism, and everyone in the home calls him Papa Ninja as a joke. Even the condescending orderlies who should learn some respect for their elders. Even his grandkids are tired of his tales. But when terrorists seize the nursing home…for some reason…he is the only one the residents of the Pleasant Valley Someday Retirement Village can count on.
Under the command of their masked leader, the terrorists round up the residents and staff. But our hero uses his ninja skills and hand-carved cane to avoid capture. Then, while using a catheter as a breathing tube, he hides in a bin of soiled sheets while he formulates a plan.
Help isn’t coming. The phone lines have been cut and he never learned to work a cell phone so he’s going to have to handle the situation himself … like a ninja.
Moments after this realization, he is discovered by a terrorist. He calls him gramps and old man so he’s an ageist terrorist and he tells our hero that it’s time to join the others. But the ninja has had enough and uses his martial arts prowess to throw the man around the laundry room like some kind of doll made of rags. When the terrorist’s intentions turn deadly, our hero draws a sword from his hand-carved cane and goes full-blown ninja on him.
After stashing the body in the soiled sheets, he goes back to his room and blows the dust off a case containing his ninja garb. There’s a long gearing up scene—longer than in the 80s because he’s now in his 80s and getting in and out of the lotus position takes some planning. He forgoes the traditional jika-tabi footwear for his more comfortable house shoes, drops a smoke bomb and begins his quest to save the Pleasant Valley Someday community from the terrorists.
We cheer on our hero as he violently murders each terrorist with ninja-like precision using syringes as throwing knives, the Canasta deck as throwing stars and using an IV bag as one of those rope/knife things. He also kills one guy by using tiger claws as tiger claws because it’s not a ninja movie if someone doesn’t get tiger clawed to death. You can also bet that someone is getting defibrillatored to death after the paddles have been used like nunchucks.
He finally fights his way through the ranks and unmasks the terrorist leader. And, holy crap, it’s Michael Dudikoff! Dudikoff reveals that they invaded the retirement home because one resident was secretly rich or something. It was going to be easy BUT they never counted on Papa Ninja. There is an epic fight between these two ninja masters (I forgot to mention the terrorist leader is a ninja, too). Papa Ninja emerges victorious and is finally respected in the eyes of his grandchildren and all the weird old people at the nursing home. The condescending orderly even gives him extra Jell-o in a silent gesture of appreciation.
Franco Nero and James Hong to cameo.