After his wife and most his family is murdered by a rival clan, ninja Cho Osaki (Sho Kosugi) leaves Japan for the United States. Not only is he leaving his home country but he’s also abandoning his ninja heritage. As he explains to his mother (Grace Oshita), he no longer has any use for the violent old ways. From now on, he just wants to sell dolls!
In America, Cho prospers and his mother continues to teach Cho’s young son, Kane (Kane Kosugi), how to defend himself. When Kane is confronted by a bunch of bullies while walking home from school, he kicks their asses while his grandmother watches approvingly. GO, KANE! Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with a movie that opens with a bunch of obnoxious 11 year-olds getting beaten up by a 9 year-old.
Cho has found success opening art galleries and selling dolls. He’s proven that he doesn’t need to be an elite assassin in order to be happy. However, Cho’s mother doesn’t trust Cho’s business partner, Braden (Arthur Roberts). She says that there’s something obviously evil about Braden but Cho doesn’t agree. Well, it turns out that mom’s right! Braden is evil. He’s using the dolls to smuggle heroin into the country! When the local mob boss (Mario Gallo) refuses to agree to Braden’s terms, Braden decides to wage war on the Mafia. It turns out that Braden is a ninja himself!
When members of the Mafia turning up dead in weird ways, the police bring in a local martial arts instructor named Dave (Keith Vitali). Confused by the murders, Dave decides to consult with a friend of his to determine whether or not a ninja could be responsible. That friend just happens to turn out to be Cho, who confirms that there is obviously a ninja in America but who also refuses to fight that ninja because Cho has abandoned the violence of the past and, as he explains it, he’s got a new art gallery opening soon. Of course, what Cho doesn’t know is that the ninja is his own business partner….
The 1983 film Revenge of the Ninja has an overly complicated plot but the story that it tells is relatively simple. Cho is done being a ninja. Then, his family and his girlfriend Cathy (Ashley Ferrare) end up getting caught in the middle of a turf war between Braden and the Mafia and Cho is forced to break his pledge to lead a life of non-violence. Revenge of the Ninja was produced by Cannon films. It was preceded by Enter the Ninja, which featured Kosugi as a villain who fought Franco Nero, and it was followed by Ninja III: The Domination, in which Kosugi played a ninja assassin whose spirit ended up possessing a young aerobics instructor. Of the three Cannon Ninja films, Revenge of the Ninja is the least interesting, as it doesn’t feature a star as charismatic as Franco Nero or a plot twist as wild as an aerobics instructor getting possessed. Revenge of the Ninja does, however, feature several exciting fight scenes and Sho Kosugi’s athletic prowess goes a long way to making up for the fact that he’s not a particularly expressive actor. Fans of low-budget but kinetic martial arts action should get a kick and a punch out of Revenge of the Ninja.
Finally, Revenge of the Ninja may not be the best ninja film ever made but it is a Cannon Film and therefore, it’s worth watching.