Blu-ray Review: Ninja III: The Domination (Collector’s Edition)

If you want to grasp the essence of Cannon Films in one movie, just put the Blu-ray of Ninja III: The Domination – Collector’s Edition into the player, press play and be prepared for an ultimate ’80s experience. This film is what happens when you smoosh Enter the Ninja, The Exorcist and Flashdance in a blender and press the puree button for 92 minutes. When Scream Factory released the original Blu-ray 5 years ago, people were astounded that this film existed because it was kitsch weirdness at so many levels. Unlike so many “so bad they’re cool” films, Ninja III looks great and has fine acting including legend James Hong (Kung Fu Panda). It’s just pure weirdness from the studio that gave us Cobra, Mannequin and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. the best news is that you can truly enjoy Ninja III without watching the first two entries. There’s no real carryover characters just actor Shô Kosugi back to kick butt Ninja-style. The star of the film is Lucinda Dickey from Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. She’s a triple threat on the screen as she dances, kills and gets possessed in her ground breaking role of Christie.

Ninja III opens with action. A very important person arrives at a golf course with a bevy of security guards. Also arriving for a tee time is a ninja loaded up with weapons. It doesn’t take too long for the mysterious ninja to find his target. The brilliance of this scene is that we have no real idea who the golfer or the ninja really are. Who is really good and bad? Why does the ninja want the golfer dead? What matters is that the cops also arrive for an all out chase against a single ninja that won’t back down. He even goes after a police helicopter. When the cops finally have him surrounded and shot up, the supernatural ninja has one last trick. He escapes them and finds Christie working on a telephone pole. He locks eyes with her and doesn’t just give her his sword. He gets inside her head. Also wanting to get inside Christie is Officer Billy Secord (Jordan Bennett). He’s ready to strip down for her. Although when he removes his uniform, it looks like he’s wearing a sweater. Before anything can happen, Christie teaches her aerobics class at the gym. The phone company doesn’t pay that well. Officer Secord drops by to sweat with the ladies. This is comedy gold that just gets richer. After the class, the bodybuilders attempt to get rough with a student. Christie steps in and does gymkata moves on the muscleheads. What makes this WTF comedy is that Officer Secord quietly watches the fight. He doesn’t want to flash his badge and take control.

The evil ninja takes over Christie’s mind. He gets her to dress in his old ninja garb to kill the cops that eliminated him at the golf course. Officer Secord was one of the cops so this will affect their blossoming relationship. Eventually she’s taken to see an Asian exorcist (Balls of Fury‘s James Hong). This just goes blissfully overboard as Christie gets wild hair as the Evil Ninja appears in her face. What can be done to free her soul before she kills everyone? The only hope seems to rest in the arrival of Yamada (Shô Kosugi). He’s the good ninja hunting down the evil ninja. But can he deal with a aerobics instructor with fierce ninja skills?

This is the greatest Ninja movie ever made. This rates us their with the best of Cannon Film’s vault along with Dickey’s other two finest moments of Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. The action rates with anything Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme did for the studio. But Dickey makes it a touch more fun. The film does its best to ride the coattails of so many genres that it creates a bizarre entertaining mess. And after enjoying the original Blu-ray five years ago, it’s desirable that the Ninja III: The Domination gets the Collector’s Edition treatment with more bonus features and a higher resolution transfer.

Ninja III: The Domination is the best of all the Ninja Films Cannon Films released. Lucinda Dickey shines as the possessed aerobics instructor. The film is an brilliant unintentional comedy that needs to be watched with a group of people eager for ’80s action fun.

The video is 1.78.1 anamorphic. The film was given a fresh 4K scan from the original film elements. Things look extra sharp on the screen. The details of the aerobics studio and Christie’s apartment will dazzle the eyes. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo. This mix brings out the cheesy ’90s synth score from Udi Harpaz and Misha Segal.

Audio Commentary has director Sam Firstenberg and stunt coordinator Steven Lambert break down the action. Steven is hilarious breaking down the massive stunt scenes since he plays so many roles in them. He kills himself a couple times during the opening golf course battle. Sam clears up the timeline that Lucinda Dickey went from Ninja III to Breakin’. The breakdance epic came out before Ninja III. Sam and Lucinda reunited for Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. There’s a second audio track that has isolated score tracks along with production designer Elliot Ellentuck and co-composer Misha Segal talking with Michael Felsher.

Dancing With Death (18:24) sits down with actress Lucinda Dickey to lets us learn her whole story. This is new to the Collector’s Edition and a major bonus. She decided to step up from dancing to acting while working on Grease 2. She was under contract to do more films for Cannon Films, but wanted out. She went on to be a mother. She does seem happy that her three major films are still being enjoyed by people.

Secord’s Struggle (10:25) allows Jordan Bennett to talk about being dragged off stage by Milton Berle as a youth. He breaks down all he did to kinda seem realistic as a cop dealing with a woman possessed by a dead ninja.

Birth of a Ninja (11:47) spars with Producer/Stuntman Alan Amiel. He admits in some scenes, he was playing Dickey’s fighting in ninja garb. He trained with Chuck Norris.

Trailers From Hell (1:57) lets screenwriter Josh Olson discuss his passion for the film.

Photo Gallery are posters and production stills from the film.

Scream Factory presents Ninja III: The Domination – Collector’s Edition. Directed by Sam Firstenberg. Starring:Lucinda Dickey, Jordan Bennett, Shô Kosugi and James Hong. Running Time: 93 minutes. Released: June 12, 2018.

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