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< Entertainment >

New Movie Reviews

"Irish American Ninja" DVD

by Steve Anderson
thevideostoreguy@columnist.com

"Irish American Ninja" may well be the funniest ninja movie you've ever seen.

And it's got some pretty stiff competition on all sides. "Kung Pow: Enter The Fist", for example. "Shaolin Soccer", "Battlefield Baseball", and a handful of other movies just like them have flooded video store shelves in recent years. Hordes of Japanese imports and a handful of American titles have all gone after the rank of funniest ninja movie.

But the incredibly ambitious and gut-wrenchingly comical "Irish American Ninja" is a match for them all.

So what we have here is the story of George McGoogle, who wants nothing more out of life than to be a ninja. A DAMN GOOD ninja.

Now, most folks are going to see the humor in this right away. His name is MCGOOGLE. And he wants to be a NINJA. This is like a man with the last name of Zhou setting out to be the world's greatest polka musician. Or a fellow named Klein who sets out to be the world's greatest pig farmer. It's incongruous. It doesn't work.

But in George's case...it will. Or so you can tell from the first seventeen seconds when they supply this pithy quote from George:

"The true measure of a man lies not in realizing his destiny, but in having the courage to follow it...even if it means killing your long lost brother." --George McGoogle

It's pretty much a dead giveaway at this point that George will indeed become a ninja. A damn good ninja.

And George, our Damn Good Irish American Ninja is on an appropriately complex quest to train, advance his skills, find his long lost brother, and of course, kick a whole lot of pajama-clad ninja ass.

First off, can you SMELL the parody? Smell it! It's thicker than Guinness on a cold November morning! Okay, for those of you who don't habla, there was a franchise back in the eighties called "American Ninja." I think they got as far as four with it, and Bill Sebastian is going balls-out in an effort to parody a movie franchise everybody pretty much forgot about by the end of 1993.

And the credit roll sequence for the first two minutes will show you, undisputably, what kind of movie we're dealing with here.

Introducing George's boyhood, and everything that led up to George's ninja career, is a brilliantly comical sequence that lasts several minutes and produces several high-quality laughs. The training sequences are a laugh riot.

All that's really missing from "Irish American Ninja" is Wally Pleasant doing a cover of "Kung Fu Fighting". Or maybe that's a little too obvious--I can't be sure.
And the sequence where George finds his long-lost brother for the first time...oh my. It's like three straight minutes of laughing.

Okay, plain and simple. "Irish American Ninja" is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. It's packed to the gills with parody, clever scripting, excellent acting, and all kinds of surprises. It encompasses so much more than any simple ninja movie has a right to--"Irish American Ninja" is really like "Enter the Dragon" on crack, and without all the stylistic overtones. The sheer ambition of "Irish American Ninja" is what gives it a lot of its comedic appeal.

There's not a whole lot in the way of actual story here. And at the same time, you don't miss it much. You don't watch "Irish American Ninja" for the compelling plot! No, you watch it for the incredible comedy. You watch it for the masterful parody. You watch it for a ninja...getting...hit by a car? You watch it for a lot of reasons.

The ending is a hoot and a half. Watch the fun as George McGoogle, Damn Good Irish American Ninja, tries to establish a link between "Barney" and a homosexual agenda. Not even Jerry Falwell could go that far! And George's burnout tantrum is beyond anything you've ever seen before. But there is still a little hope as George finally, FINALLY, faces off against Gertrude, his long-lost-but-recently-found-and-then-lost-again-kinda-for-a-while-until-just-now brother.

The special features include audio commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and trailers for "Irish American Ninja," "Portal: The Movie", "Midlothia", and "Zombie Campout".

All in all, "Irish American Ninja" may be short on plot, but what it lacks there it more than makes up for in innovation and pure, raw comedy. If you can find it, it's worth it!

OVERALL GRADE: 4 stars ****

Irish American Ninja
****
DVD
Directed by
Bill Sebastian
Written by
Bill Sebastian
Cast
Bill Sebastian
Allen McCormick
Jim Cable
R
73 mins

 

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