Ross Kettle (The Diamond Hunters)
Norman Coombes (Gold)
David Webb (Superman Returns)
Kimberleigh Stark (Cyborg Cop)
Frank Notaro (Ali)
This film would have been more at home in the 1980s. Unfortunately, this movie is not as entertaining as the many ninja inspired Cannon productions of the 80’s. Yet it’s clearly been influenced by the popular American Ninja series, complete with a hero called Joe(Kettle), and a Steve James knock off in Pete(Webb). Neither Webb nor Kettle appear to have any genuine Martial Arts skills. A huge problem, especially when you are making a Martial Arts movie. The pair may have had some basic training or lessons in preparation for the film?. They did have Martial Arts advisors on the set, which Ill talk more about later-on. The creepy Kray(Norman Coombes) and his fellow oddball, Omar(Frank Nataro) have a small band of ninjas. The pair are trying to make millions in cash, while wiping out the local population. Lucky for the world and our heroes, the odd couple’s ninja are really- inept.The movie opens with scientist Dominque Ford(Kathryn Hill), performing some tests on a lake. Which just happens to be a major water source for most of Africa. It’s turning red and smoke is emitting from it, which can’t be good. Within minutes Kray arrives in a helicopter with two bodyguards. His ninja then proceed to slaughter all the workers. Not sure how so many people fit into one small helicopter?. We are treated to some really-bad exaggerated sound effects during all the movies fight scenes. When the masked assassins move in on Dominque, there’s a big woosh sound whenever one of them comes into shot. This production leans more towards the Godfrey Ho IFD/Filmark ninja flicks, than the Cannon ones. For some fans this will be a plus, the only downside being, we don’t get the energetic Hong Kong fight choreography.When we first see the stories hero, he’s running some meditation class out in the wilderness. It supposed be in America, buts it’s obvious the whole production was shot in Africa. You could get the impression that Joe is the leader of some cult, until a Government man turns up. After hearing of his wife’s kidnapping, he goes to seek out his buddy Pete. Who just happens to be running a kickboxing class. Before you know it, the pair are landing in Africa, and trying to get a large crossbow through customs. Before visiting the local nightclub, like all foreigners do in action movies. There’s also the obligatory bad song and dance number, performed here by Kimberliegh Stark(Terminator Woman, Cyborg Cop). She’s plays the love interest to Frank Nators greasy villain Omar. The song gets cut short, when our deadly duo mix it up with the local bouncers. In another poorly staged scuffle, the pair make easy work of the heavies. The poor camera angles only make the below average choreography worse.According to the movies final credit sequence, Reo Ruitors(Spanish Rose) was the stunt coordinator. They also had a Ninjitsu expert in the form of Paul Casson. With Mike Laranijiera(American Kickboxer, Kickboxer 5) on set, as their kickboxing expert. Laranijiera is still involved in Kickboxing in South Africa, as a trainer. It might just be his class that actor David Webb is teaching in one scene?. Sadly, the on-screen action, doesn’t live up to the knowledge they had behind the scenes. Both actors appear to be trying, but it’s clear they just don’t have enough experience in the fighting arts to pull to off. Some of the kicks and punches would struggle to leave a dent in polystyrene. Even some of the stunt guy’s reactions are slow and sluggish. In one sequence, which appears to be filmed in an empty water park. Two ninjas close in one of our heroes, atop a waterslide chute. It’s a dangerous looking stunt, and you can see by how the stunt guys move, that their, being understandably very cautious. They should have staged the fight in a more suitable place, especially when you consider their, not exactly the Jackie Chan stunt team. This would have looked less impressive, but would also have saved the fight from looking like its filmed in slow motion. The stunt team were clearly capable, but it looks like they didn’t have much experience of Martial Arts choreography. Lethal Ninja also had another kind of on set, advisor, one which you won’t be able to guess.During a night raid on Kray’s compound, Joe encounters a different kind of ninja. When the lights come on in a darkened venue, Joe is surrounded by Kray’s assassins. Each ninja is armed with a lethal pair of roller boots. Yes, you read that right a lethal pair of roller boots. Complete with sharp blades and throwing stars sticking out of the sides. Making the roller boots look more like a pen knife with wheels. Things get even stranger, when the ninja perform a nice synchronized routine. Which would look more at home on one of the countless talent shows, that occupy T.V channels these days. This is where the third advisor comes into things. Wendy Van Heerden was hired as the movies skate choreographer/advisor. She stages, what appears to be a nod towards Godfrey Ho Ninja Thunderbolt(1984). Where Wong Tao evades some ninjas on roller boats. Joe looks as baffled as any viewer would, after fending off a few attackers he makes a quick exit.It was unintentionally funny sequences, like the one I mentioned above, that helped me endure this movie. There’s also the Nostradamus theme running through the story. Pre-to the credit there’s a quote of his shown, while an odd soundtracks kicks in. Sadly, whoever’s playing the electronic keyboard, doesn’t have the talents of John Carpenter. The plot is supposed to be similar- to the quote shown at the start. Where the old French physician tells of a man from the west, coming to save people who are enduring a great darkness. Then there’s the quotes featured throughout the movies run time. They even stuck a picture of the man onto the hotel room where Joe and Pete are staying.This is certainly one of Nu Images weaker productions. Martial Arts fans can avoid this one, unless you get more laughs out of bad movies than actual comedy’s. A lot of the production also appears to have been filmed in a closed theme park/resort?. The dull final fight takes place on top of some old tall industrial mining rig. It says a lot, when the location is more interesting than what’s taking place on screen. With the exception of some of David Webb’s one liners, and his use of a crossbow, with explosive tipped bolts. Not to mention a campy Tango & Cash(1989) inspired torture sequence. There’s no other highlights, unless you count Norman Croobes excellent lesson in scenery chewing. Where he looks like a creepy version of the man from Del Monte, featured in tinned fruit adverts.