Movie Kumite: American Ninja 2 vs. Revenge of the Ninja
Last September two ninja films from the legendary Cannon Films library battled it out in our Movie Kumite. In that battle, American Ninja destroyed Enter the Ninja.
I knew at some point Sho Kosugi needed a chance at redemption. So what better time than Revenge of Revenge Week for Sho Kosugi’s opportunity to even the score as we pit the two sequels from our original ninja battle against one another. It is American Ninja 2: The Confrontation vs. Revenge of the Ninja in this installment of our cinematic slugfest known as the Movie Kumite!
Not only is this the first rematch in Movie Kumite history, it was also the first time we’ve turned to the fans to get their opinion on the outcome of this match up…
Last week we asked our Twitter followers which of our Movie Kumite combatants they felt was the superior ninja film. It was a close race, but American Ninja 2 edged out Revenge of the Ninja, 54% to 46%.
AMERICAN NINJA 2 – 1 REVENGE OF THE NINJA – 0
From an action standpoint Michael Dudikoff is superior to Sho Kosugi. But from a ninja standpoint I have to give it to Kosugi. I’ve said it before, Sho Kosugi is probably the closest thing to a real ninja any of us will ever see. Think about it… ninjas are masters of stealth, so you could have them around you all the time and you wouldn’t know it… and if for some reason you did see a ninja, it is probably because they were sent to take you out so you won’t live to tell about it.
To me Michael Dudikoff did a great job acting like a ninja, but Sho Kosugi IS a ninja.
AMERICAN NINJA 2 – 1 REVENGE OF THE NINJA -1
Sho Kosugi had a huge upgrade in the sidekick department compared to what poor Franco Nero had to work with in Enter the Ninja. In fact, Keith Vitali, who plays Dave Hatcher a cop and friend of Cho Osaki (Sho Kosugi), was at one point listed as the star of the film on some of the early promotional posters for the movie.
But as good as Vitali was in Revenge of the Ninja, Steve James, who I consider the ultimate sidekick, was a step above. I’ve said this before too, if Cannon never brought David Bradley in for American Ninja 3 and just made Steve James the star of that one, I would not have complained. The man had action star written all over him.
Another big factor here is the chemistry and there’s no denying that Dudikoff and James came across as real life best friends. I didn’t get that vibe from Kosugi and Vitali.
AMERICAN NINJA 2 – 2 REVENGE OF THE NINJA – 1
The original American Ninja featured the Black Star Ninja as the top ninja on the side of evil and he was fantastic. I loved the name. I loved the black star tattoo. But in the sequel the main ninja for the baddies was named Tojo Ken, a name I didn’t love. But worse than his name was the fact that at one point he resorts to using a shotgun!! A ninja using a shotgun!?!? It definitely felt like American Ninja 2 downgraded in the evil ninja department.
Over at Revenge of the Ninja they got themselves an upper echelon movie villain. On the surface, the look of this evil ninja with the silver mask was awesome. For a die hard G.I. Joe fan like myself it was like Storm Shadow and Destro had a kid! But how personal the man behind the mask made things with our hero Cho Osaki was what really made him the superior villain. Personal issues sell tickets folks and it made that amazing rooftop battle between Cho and the Silver Mask Ninja one of the most anticipated showdowns of my childhood.
AMERICAN NINJA 2 – 2 REVENGE OF THE NINJA – 2
I like to incorporate cold hard facts into our Movie Kumites when possible, so the outcomes of these battles are not just based on my opinion and my opinion alone. And there’s no more cold and hard of a fact than some dead bodies down at the morgue. Ninjas are after all assassins, their job is to kill people. So who had the higher kill count? Dudikoff’s Joe Armstrong or Kosugi’s Cho Osaki?
In American Ninja 2, Joe Armstrong had 24 kills to his credit. In Revenge of the Ninja, Cho Osaki had 16 kills to his credit.
AMERICAN NINJA 2 – 3 REVENGE OF THE NINJA – 2
You have read my opinions, we saw the results of our Twitter poll and we looked at the number of dead bodies each of our heroes racked up. But we have come to the point of our Movie Kumite where I turn it over to two of the most respected movie related web sites on the Internet, IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes and get their input. Input that will ultimately decide our victor…
American Ninja 2 has an IMDb rating of 4.7. Revenge of the Ninja has an impressive IMDb rating of 6.1!
Over at Rotten Tomatoes, American Ninja 2 has an approval rating of 39%. While Revenge of the Ninja has a 58% approval rating.
And the critics have spoken, pushing Revenge of the Ninja to victory and the Dudikoff/Kosugi rivalry is all tied up now. Anyone up for a rubber match?
FINAL SCORE: AMERICAN NINJA 2 – 3 REVENGE OF THE NINJA – 4