Many years later, director Sam Firstenberg’s “Ninja III” is an out of left field mix of horror, action, and ninjas, all of which were very popular in the eighties. I was never quite sure what happened to “Ninja” one or two, but when I was a kid, “Ninja III” was a bonafide favorite of mine that I’d indulge in every time it was on network television. Thankfully I’m not alone as “Ninja III” has become a cult classic that stands alone, much like “Troll 2.” There’s just something fascinating about a young woman and aerobics enthusiast being possessed by the ghost of a ninja, who begins to seek revenge on his past foes.
Lucinda Dickey (of “Breakin’” fame) plays Christie Ryder, a phone worker who comes to the aide of a ninja who is gunned down by local police. His spirit enters her body after he gives her his sacred sword, and before long she’s being possessed by the warrior’s spirit. As Christie unwillingly begins assassinating the police that took down the ninja, she begins romancing a local cop. Meanwhile an old enemy of the ninja has come to America and wants to kill Christie or—the ninja’s soul—or something. “Ninja III: The Domination” is such a wacky and weird film from the decade that assures a good time for folks that like their movies to be a stew of nonsense.
“The Domination” has the possession horror fun of “The Exorcist,” the classic ghost antics of “Poltergeist,” and the love story of a film like “Flashdance.” Hell, there’s even a great scene involving V8 juice that stands as one of the funniest and more unusual erotic scenes in any film ever made. There’s just so much incredible and incredulous material to take in for a movie that never decides what it quite wants to be. There’s a lot of ninja action, some silly martial arts scenes, a ton of aerobic lip service, and yes, even an exorcism sequence. Ryder is even enticed by a floating sword. “Ninja III” is a classic bit of cult cinema and one that deserves to be discovered. If you haven’t seen it yet, the first two films don’t have to be watched, and viewing it as a standalone only adds to the charm and entertainment factor.
This edition of “Ninja III” is a re-release from Shout Factory (with new cover art, to boot!) that grants “The Domination” a much deserved special treatment with a lot more extras than the previous release from 2013. There are two audio commentaries this time, one with director Sam Firstenberg and Stunt Coordinator Steve Lambert, and there are isolated score selections and audio interviews with Misha Segal, and Elliot Ellentuck. “Dancing with Death” is an eighteen minute very good candid interview with actress Lucinda Dickey. She discusses filming the movie, and also touches on working on “Grease 2,” and the “Breakin’” films.
She explains how she was set to star in five Cannon films including the Allan Quartermain films, but was replaced by Sharon Stone. “Secord’s Struggle” is a ten minute interview with actor Jordan Bennett, who goes on to recall conflicting anecdotes claiming to have invented the great V8 scene, where as director Sam Firstenberg claims to have invented it. “Birth of a Ninja” is an eleven minute interview with producer and stuntman Alan Amiel, and there’s “Trailers from Hell with Screenwriter Josh Olson” who points out a ton of trivia as the film’s trailer plays. Finally there’s the original theatrical trailer, a still photo gallery, and a Behind the Scenes Gallery, all in HD.