American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)

The American Ninja franchise is a true product of the VHS era.

Much like the No Retreat No Surrender series, they are movies of low production value which only seem to decrease in quality, but there is something about them that keeps us coming back for more. Production company The Cannon Group would exploit America’s fascination with martial arts to devastating financial effect. This had very little to do with the quality of action on show or the actors involved, owing much to the nationalistic stance of the latter stages of the Cold War as an inherently fascist cinema exploded in a barrage of invincible protagonists and patriotic exposition…

Read Article →

Waterworld (1995)

Poor Kevin Reynolds.

After experiencing huge success with 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he would be handed a budget of $175,000,000 to direct dystopian spectacular Waterworld, and although that sum may seem paltry by today’s standards, this was more than a quarter of a century ago, and at the time it constituted the world’s most expensive movie, a fact made so apparent in the mainstream media that the production was almost bound to fail, and in many quarters encouraged to…

Read Article →

Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Back in 1982 Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist, a movie that was written and produced by Stephen Spielberg, and in all honesty it may as well have been him behind the camera. Everything about that movie screamed Spielberg, from its familial tone and grandiose set pieces to its high profile marketing strategy and tantilsing teaser poster. The grisly touch of Hooper – a wonderful director in his own right – was nowhere to be found.

Read Article →

Predator 2 (1990)

When it comes to Predator, less is definitely more.

In the three decades since the release of the original there have been so many pointless sequels that I now look upon this once cherished character with derision, his movies indifference. Predator 2 is perhaps the best of all those sequels, but it still manages to fail on just about every conceivable level, not least because you find it nigh on impossible not to compare it to the original, to which it is nothing more than a diluted carbon copy…

Read Article →

American Ninja (1985)

Michael Dudikoff wasn’t much of a ninja. Come to think of it, he wasn’t much of an actor either. But for a brief period during the mid-1980’s he became a hero to kids the world over, and he owes it all to American Ninja.

For me, American Ninja is the defining movie of the oft memorable Cannon Group, who churned out ultra-violent schlock by the bucket load. This was cheap production, nonsensical storytelling, and some of the stiffest, most unmemorable acting of a generation, but there was something there; there had to be…

Read Article →