Ninja III: The Domination is a 1984 martial arts horror hybrid film directed by Sam Firstenberg (Revenge of the Ninja, American Ninja 1/2, Avenging Force, & American Samurai). It’s the final film in the Ninja trilogy. It follows 1981’s Enter the Ninja & 1983’s Revenge of the Ninja. It was produced by Yoram Globus & Menahem Golan for Cannon Films. It was shot in 9 weeks. Shô Kosugi came up with the idea for his character to wear an eye patch. Kosugi was the movie’s technical advisor & fight co-choreographer. The Master was on prime time TV during the time. Lucinda Dickey starred in 3 films for Cannon Films in 1984.
The evil Black Ninja (played by: David Chung from Repo Man, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, Walker, & The Ballad of Little Jo) is caught by the police. He is surrounded & fights them while getting shot up. He manages to escape somehow & runs into Christie (played by: Lucinda Dickey from Breakin’, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Grease 2, & Cheerleader Camp) during his last breathe. He puts a curse on her & possesses her body without her knowing it at the time. She’s a telephone linewoman by day & an aerobics class instructor by night. She is brought in by law enforcement to answer questions about the unknown assassin. She doesn’t know anything about the stranger but she gets the attention of officer Billy Secord (played by: Jordan Bennett from The Waltons, Emergency!, & Too Close for Comfort) at the station. His persistence finally pays off & they hook up. His co-workers are getting killed off one by one all the sudden. No one understands what’s happening but it seems to be connected to the dead ninja. Christie keeps blacking out & she doesn’t remember where’s she been or what she’s done. The mysterious Yamada (played by: Shô Kosugi from Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja Assassin, & Black Eagle) appears at crime scene. Billy is worried about his new girlfriend so he takes her to Miyashima (played by: James Hong from Big Trouble in Little China, Tango & Cash, Blade Runner, & Missing in Action) to force the spirit out that’s been taking over. After that fails, Ninja Yamada offers to help Christie with her deadly problem. He traveled all the way to America to end his feud with the Black Ninja for good. This leads to a crazy final confrontation! Who will win this battle? Good or Evil?
What happens when you mix the Ninja series with Flashdance with a little touch of Breakin’, & have The Exorcist added in? Ninja III: The Domination is the correct answer to that question. It’s one of the weirdest combinations of genres that I’ve ever seen in cinema. It’s safe to say you don’t have to see the previous two Ninja films to enjoy this one. Shô Kosugi is the glue to the franchise & he elevates this bizarre addition from Cannon Films! It has a little something for everyone when it comes to the 80s. You get to see some dancing, aerobics, & that signature sound during this time. It also has plenty of martial arts, action, & violence that you would expect from this type of film. This is where it fits the horror genre with the possession angle to the story. It has moments of The Exorcist that would fit in with one of their sequels. This evil Ninja is out for blood so it also kinda has a slasher vibe to it also which I really enjoyed. Honestly, it’s a mess but it’s one of the most entertaining productions that you will ever see. It has so much replay value to it. It gets better with each viewing & more need to see this!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation. Like everyone else I bought the original blu ray release in 2013. It was very nice at the time & I was happy with it. 5 years lster, Scream Factory has re-issued & upgraded Ninja III: The Domination to a Collector’s Edition release! I am sure most of you readers are thinking the same question while checking this review out, is it worth double dipping? YES!!!! This new 1080p (1:85:1) 4K transfer from the original film elements blows the previous version away! Everything in this feature is elevated & this sequel has never looked this good before. That alone makes this worth trading in your old copy & picking up this new blu ray. It’s a huge improvement & it has me curious what else will Scream/Shout Factory go back to re-master from their back catalog. The English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA track is the same as the older release. I always satisfied with it. It enhanced the action in the film & the music sounds amazing on it. I love the soundtrack & score for this. English SDH subtitles are also included. Ninja III gets proper treatment from Scream Factory & I don’t see anyone topping this one.
Let’s discuss the special features on this release from Scream Factory. Archival Audio Commentary with Director Sam Firstenberg & Stunt Coordinator Steve Lambert moderated by Robert Galluzo. They go into detail about making a low budget action film during the 80s. They talk about working with Cannon Films. Firstenberg says Poltergeist & The Exorcist were inspirations for the horror elements in this. They chat about the fight choreography & Lambert even points out where he broke some bones in this production. They bring up the cast especially Lucinda Dickey. Audio Interviews with co-composer Misha Segal & production designer Elliot Ellentuck moderated by Red Shirt Picture’s Michael Felsher with isolated score selections. I am a big fan of this killer score so it nice to get those isolated music moments on here. This kinda plays out like an Audio Commentary but it goes more into their careers than this actual film. Misha Segal talks about Jazz being his inspiration for getting into music. He brings up working in the music industry mainly in the Jazz genre. He says it was in decline so he moved on to movies. He mentions he didn’t plan on living in Hollywood after moving there but he always kept busy.
He brings up meeting Menahem Golan after auditioning for one of his plays. He talks about back in the day they did the music & turned it in without any approval or notes. That’s why lots of composers got fired & replaced during that time. Elliot Ellentuck talks about how he got started in the movie industry. He chats about how he got jobs. He says the same big camera got used in lots of Arizona productions. He mentions his design work on other films. He goes into his prep work for projects. He discusses in great detail about his experience on this production. It was his only production designer credit. He chats about staying in Arizona & the film community there. “Dancing With Death” is a 18 minute interview with lead actress Lucinda Dickey. She talks about starting out in dance. After seeing how everything went on Grease 2 she decided she wanted to act also. Ninja III was her first real role. She didn’t know what she was doing at the time. She had no clue what a ninja was. She chats about her character & training for the feature. Jordan Bennett took her under his wing & helped her out since it was her first time acting. She talks about the fight scenes. She tried to do all of her own stunts but it wasn’t happening. She jokes about the famous V8 scene.
She takes you through her possession experience from the film. She mentions doing re-shoots for this while filming Breakin’. She originally had a 5 picture deal with Cannon Films but things didn’t work out. “Secord’s Struggle” is 10 minute interview with lead actor Jordan Bennett. He talks about funny comedy show incident. He mentions all the different genres mixed into this film. He talks about meeting Menahem Golan. He brings up his ride along experience while doing research for the role. He talks about the stunts. He says he came up with the V8 scene but in the commentary it’s told a different way. That’s very interesting. He chats about the cast. “Birth of the Ninja” is an almost 12 minute interview with stuntman & producer Alan Amiel. He says he originally wanted to be an actor. He talks about how he got into stunts & who helped him out. He chats about getting Enter the Ninja made. He mentions working with Shô Kosugi. He talks about his experience with director Sam Firstenberg on Revenge of the Ninja & this sequel. He brings up stunt coordinator Steve Lambert. He mentions the possession angle a few times on here. “Trailers From Hell With Screenwriter Josh Olson” runs almost 2 minutes. He talks over the trailer & gives you information about the production. You get all kinds of promotional material which include the Theatrical Trailer, 3 minute “Still Photo Gallery”, & 4 minute “Behind-The-Scenes Gallery”. As I was saying earlier, the brand new transfer alone makes it worth buying Ninja III again but the exclusive extras make this disc loaded & full of entertainment. Those are my personal favorite additions & I highly recommend this upgrade from Scream Factory. Check it out!!!!