Movie of the Day – Surf Ninjas
June 15, 2012 Leave a comment
Holy Christ that is the most bro-ist, 90s trailer I have ever seen. Record Scratches, Ninja Cam’s, rewind remix, Surf Ninja apparently had everything! Now I love me some kung fu films or martial arts films or really anything that has fighting in it, so being fed a steady diet of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 3 Ninjas, Surf Ninjas was right up my alley. Besides, who can resist the lure of pastel, hyper color clothing, the musings of Rob Schneider, surfing ninjas and Leslie Nielsen? It was a rad time to being a kid in the early 90s is all I have to say, other than what I will write about this film after the jump.
Also known as Surf Warriors, this film is a low-budget, offbeat comedy aimed at the teen audience. Two young surfer dudes from southern California, Johnny (Ernie Reyes, Jr.) and Adam (Nicolas Cowen), have their lives changed when they discover that they are heirs to the crown of Patu San, an obscure South Pacific island nation. The country’s throne has been taken over by an incompetent, evil warlord, Colonel Chi (Leslie Nielsen). As the two surfer heroes travel to Patu San to regain the throne, Colonel Chi sends mercenaries to stop them. Johnny and Adam find that they have been given magical powers to help them in their quest — one of them becomes instantly skilled at kung fu, and the other has psychic powers. Rap music artist Tone Loc plays one of Colonel Chi’s henchmen, Lieutenant Spence. Martial arts sequences dominate the fighting scenes, which evoke the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of the era. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi
The real reason I love this movie is that it’s just so damn terrible. I mean I won’t really dive into the premise of the film since I love the film, Surf Nazis Must Die, which has surfing nazis, so surfing ninjas isn’t a stretch for me. What is ridiculous is the comedy and general characterizations. I mean come on Leslie Nielsen, a bumbling warlord chief who succumbs to gag falls and slapsticky humor. It’s painful to watch, but in a very morose way, which is why I seem to gravitate towards morbid enjoyment then outright adoration.
Listen, the action is mild, the comedy is obvious, but damn if this isn’t a fun, bad movie. You got Ernie Reyes, Jr. coming off of TMNT II and getting a chance to showcase a rather impressive martial arts skill, making a believable gnarly teen warrior. The fight scenes are diluted by more comedic elements, but none the less are pretty impressive when it comes to the skills of the actors. Also take into account that Ernie Reyes, Sr. helps out his son in the battle. Leslie is just a ham in the film, kind of reveling in his ridiculous role. I love Leslie, so I won’t talk bad about him. The thing that sells this movie for me, Tone Loc. That’s fucking right, Funky Cold Medina himself is lending that gnarled throat voice of his to the film and he just moves through the film smoothly as can be.
I realize I didn’t have a ton of nice things to say about this movie, I mean I kind of make it sound more ridicule than anything else. It’s an inoffensive kitschy film with a fun premise and it was the early 90s for gods sake. Decent action, more gag comedy than should be tolerable, but it’s the sort of movie that you can watch and do your own little Mystery Science Theater commentary. It’s a gem of a film from the early 90s, one that should be treasured for the ridiculous premise.