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MOVIE REVIEW : 'Ninja 3': Bland Leading the Bland

February 28, 1989|CHRIS WILLMAN

The karate genre is alive, if hardly kicking, in "American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt" (citywide).

The silly fight scenes gave a few sound-effects experts a lot of work, even if the violent snaps, crackles and pops on the sound track don't precisely match the fights staged on screen. It's a cinch that the sound men still put far more care into their work than did writer-director Cedric Sundstrom, who has bothered neither with wit nor logic.

All that the tedious "Ninja 3" has in common with with two earlier "Ninjas" is the likable presence of Steve James as the brawny black sidekick. The new white lead in this episode is the wooden but hunky David Bradley, playing Sean Davidson, a young man who mastered martial arts after seeing his karate-champ father gunned down at a tournament by robbers.

Either the lead character or the screenwriter seems to have forgotten the father after the prologue, and thus, the hero never seems to recognize the baddies as the very same scum who orphaned him. Gifted with a poor memory and stripped of a revenge motive, Davidson mostly just worries about the bad guys' cache of homicidal germs as he demolishes craniums by the hundreds.

Even flamboyant Marjoe Gortner, who has made a career out of being--as Daffy Duck would say--\o7 deth-spicable,\f7 is bland unto death here as the chief bad guy. For a movie with so many flying feet, "American Ninja 3" (MPAA-rated R) is amazingly short on kicks.

'AMERICAN NINJA 3: BLOOD HUNT'

A Cannon presentation. Producer Harry Alan Towers. Director/writer Cedric Sundstrom. Executive producer Avi Lerner. Editor Michael J. Duthie. Music George S. Clinton. With David Bradley, Steve James, Marjoe Gortner, Michele Chan, Calvin Jung.

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.

MPAA-rated: R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian).

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