Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pray For Death(1985)- Ninja Movies Should Be Loved By All

There are certain things in this world that are loved by all men. Besides the basics like sex and bacon, I like to think that ninja movies are one of those subjects that can please any dude. At least any dude that I have ever met. Ninja movies are like the german chocolate cake of action movies. Not only do you get a healthy dose martial arts and vengeance, but you get it with wrapped with a costume and a bad ass array of weapons. As far as action movie badassery goes, ninjas are always going to be the cream of the crop. Where else in movie land can a single guy take on an army of mercenaries with automatic weapons with nothing but cool moves and shurikens? Well actually, quite a few places, but I'm sure it's all done in imitation.

In the world of pop culture ninjas, there is really only one king, and it's not Michael Dudikoff, but he does come pretty close. The one I write of is none other than Sho Kosugi. A man who is based his entire 3+ decade acting career on perfecting the theatrical image of the perfect ninja. Forget the fact that the majority of his films were release straight-to-video and his children won't speak to him, he is still the ultimate assassin on the silver screen. To me, Kosugi is placed on the same pedestal the Bronson resides and he could never fall from grace. Not even if he made a movie with Jackie Chan....okay, maybe in this case.

A couple days ago I watched a Kosugi movie I had never seen when I was younger, Pray for Death(1985). As with every other Sho Kosugi ninja movie that have blessed my eyes, I loved it. Again I got to see Kosugi play the passive dad to his son(on screen and in real life). Again I saw him humbly face the evil that is organized crime. Again I saw him triumph through vengeance over the death of a loved one. And again I loved every single minute of it. How could you not? Even if the plot is almost exactly the same as the Kosugi movie before, which it is, you are still going to get 90 minutes of father and son kicking ass and cleaning up the neighborhood, despite how unrealistic it tends to be at times(I'm sorry, there isn't a ten year kid in the world who can kick the shit out of more than 2 guys at a time).

As with many movies I watch, I ended up pouring over the IMDB entry when the show was over. I do this because I like to check out useless facts, fuck-ups, and other productions the the cast and crew might have worked that would peak my interest. I also like to go over the reviews just to make I'm not an idiot for liking or hating a movie. Typically I'm not, even though the review I did for Predators might tell a different story. Most of the 17 reviews I read were in agreement with my opinion, and supported my Ninja Movie=Love theory, with the exception of one:

"Why is it so hard for a ninja to take on one white guy after wiping out an entire guard detail? I know this happens in all action movies, but this guy's supposed to be a ninja. Gimme a break.

Also, when does having your half-American Japanese wife killed in the U.S. give you and your kids the right to reside there permanently? None of them are citizens.

The old geezer ninja dude's makeup looked like it was applied by a 10 year old.

Besides that, it's a really crappy movie too. That's why I just saw it on for free..."

Appalling, isn't it?

Not only did the douchebag give Pray For Death one star, he also tried to apply needless things such as logic and sociopolitics to a ninja movie. This type of uppity bullshit makes me think that somebody should stick with Save The Last Dance and leave the real movies to guys that don't use Dance Dance Revolution as a dating device. What a fucking asshole. What's wrong, was America's Next Top Model taken off off of Hulu for the season, so you turned to the real man movie in a fit a rage? Awesomely trashy action movies are obviously too much for you to handle which leads me to believe you may have been born without a pair of testicles, or lost them in a ninja attack. If that's the case, I'm sorry for your loss but you probably deserved it. Nobody gets attacked by ninjas these days.

Alright...let me catch my breath.

I guess it goes to show that there are always going to be unhappy people. No matter how great the subject, you can't please everyone. For the rest of us, I recommend Pray For Death if you have the time in your busy day for 90 minutes of ninjaness(I made that word up). Apparently it's on Hulu now, so you don't even have to search for a couple or illegally download it. Any way you come upon it is totally worth it.


  1. Is it more entertaining when a ninja kills dozens of dudes or some dude kills dozens of ninjas? I'm sorta partial to the latter myself, but either way ninjas are fun in an absurd way, and few things say "1980s" as much as they do.

    I rather like Rage of Honor myself. How about you?

  2. It depends on what side of morality the ninjas fight for. In a movie like American Ninja, you get to experience both.

    I haven't seen Rage of Honor yet, but I'll put it in my queue if you think it's worth it.