Ninja III: The Domination (1984)

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Ninja III: The Domination is last and most bizarre entry in the Golan-Globus Cannon Ninja trilogy. Unlike the previous two entries – Enter The Ninja and Revenge Of The NinjaNinja III: The Domination is a film that mixes Ninja action sequences with supernatural Horror elements, and it’s a s confusing as it sounds. Ninja III: The Domination tells the story of a young Aerobics instructor/telephone linewoman who gets possessed by an evil ninja with supernatural powers, and the ninja uses the woman’s body to get revenge on the police officers who killed him whilst being tracked down by a Japanese Ninja wearing an eyepatch (played by Sho Kosugi). It’s a very bizarre combination, and it definitely helps the film stand out amongst the other Ninja films of the 1980’s, although, not in a good way. The combination of Horror and Martial Arts is a very risky move, and a film-maker needs to exercise precision and detail in order for the combination to work. Unfortunately, Ninja III: The Domination lacks the precision and detail needed, and so, ultimately, Ninja III: The Domination is definitely the worst of all Three Golan-Globus Cannon Ninja films.

The story of Ninja III: The Domination is incredibly silly. The previous two films had their ridiculous moments, but the majority of the content was grounded in reality and very respectful to Eastern culture and the history of the Ninja. Ninja III: The Domination throws reality straight out the window in favor of silliness and stupidity, much like a Godfrey Ho movie.  There were so many moments whilst I was watching Ninja III: The Domination that was in shock of the stupidity I was witnessing: from possessed arcade machines, to a full on homage to Poltergeist, and even a laughable The Exorcist style possession sequence that takes place halfway through the movie. Ninja III: The Domination is a jarring shift from the previous two entries and, although the previous entries were very different from each other, Ninja III: The Domination definitely comes across as the most out of place entry in the Ninja trilogy.

Like a Godfrey Ho movie, Ninja III: The Domination spends most of its time away from ‘Ninja’ content and instead, it chooses to spend its time on a dramatic plot-line about the Aerobics instructor and her Police Officer boyfriend. However, this plot thread that takes up most of the movie is just uninteresting because the film is very poorly written in both character and dialogue and very poorly acted. Throughout the movie, there are barely any action scenes to speak of, and aside from an exciting opening sequence, Ninja III: The Domination is really disappointing when it comes to action sequences: the fighting is clunky, the chases are underwhelming, and Sho Kosugi rarely gets to show off. The Horror elements aren’t very good either. There’s too much of a contrast between the horror and the martial arts action, so much that the horror elements feel completely out of place. Not to mention the fact that the horror elements are completely mishandled. Instead of being somewhat tense and atmospheric, the Horror elements were just awkward and unintentionally funny, especially the The Exorcist style possession scene, during which I had to pause the movie as I was laughing too much, and I shouldn’t have been laughing.

There are a few good elements in this movie, such as colourful lighting, good cinematography and okay performances, but the film’s content was disappointingly underwhelming. Anything that Ninja III: The Domination did right, such as a couple of good action sequences, was done much better in the previous films and it only drew attention to everything the film did wrong.  Even Sho Kosugi was wasted on Ninja III: The Domination because his big action scenes only come at the end of the film, and by that point I couldn’t care less about what was happening onscreen. In conclusion, Ninja III: The Domination is bad, really bad. It’s to be avoided by both action fans and horror fans alike, and it’s a sour ending to a promising series of films. In conclusion, not recommended.

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